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Places that feel like home

By admin   13 May 2010 9:00am Europe/London

welcomeThere’s no place like home, but there are some that come pretty close. We recently asked a simple question on the Lonely Planet Facebook page: Other than places you have actually lived, where have you traveled that has most felt like ‘home’? Any particular city, town, region, or country?

People were free to interpret this however they wished: it could be places that are reminiscent of home, places that you might consider living, or places that have that rare ineffable feeling of instant familiarity.

In terms of cities, it was a close race. New York and London tied for first place, followed by Barcelona, and a four-way tie for third place between San Francisco, Paris, Berlin, and Sydney.

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But this isn’t the full story. The obvious pattern in the responses was no pattern at all: people have extremely diverse tastes and there was very little agreement on what places feel like home.

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Ipoh, Siena, Liverpool, Lisbon, San Diego, Tel Aviv, Sioux Falls, Tehran, Toulouse, Sylhet, Lauterbrunnen, Lima — the replies read like a list of world cities in random order. Clearly, one man’s Krakow is another man’s Boring, Oregon (yes, someone voted for Boring).

Beyond cities, several larger regions came up repeatedly. Hawaii was a popular choice, although few got any more specific than picking an individual island. Thailand and India were also popular, but there was no consensus on the specific locale in either country.

The big question remains: what does it mean for a place to feel like ‘home’? When you’ve encountered a place that felt like home, what were the factors that made it feel that way? Was it culture, climate, topography, food, an attractive feature that your actual home lacks, or was it something entirely indescribable?