I believe that where you grow up affects your personality a lot. The mental state of your community and the general atmosphere in your neighbourhood, your city and your country. It all inavoidably shapes us is many ways.
When you travel a lot and live abroad for extended periods of time you get different influences. Some of them will stick with you forever and some places will always be special to you. Having lived in Scandinavia, in the UK and in Southern Europe, I have experienced Europe from different angles first hand.
Therefore I personally have several ”adopted hometowns”. Places where I have had unique experiences for more than just one holiday and places where I feel home whenever I visit.
I mainly grew up in this very small village with around 700 inhabitants. A village surrounded by farms and fields and therefore with a ”country feel” despite being just a 20 minute drive from Denmark’s third biggest city Odense. Verninge was a safe place to grow up and where you could easily bike to school. And with plenty of room to be a kid and play rollerhockey on the street. Unfortunately today most of the little business the village had has died out. The supermarket, the bakery, the hardware store, the two hairdressers, the pharmacy and more are long gone, but I still feel home whenever I visit.
I partly grew up in Odense too and having lived there for most of my adulthood I regard this as my hometown. Odense is a unique city in many ways. It’s Denmark’s third biggest (with around 180.000 inhabitants) – but the cityscape, the idenity and the atmosphere is quite local. There are very few high-rise buildings and Odense has been known as a ”very big village”, although that is changing these years as the city is going through a big transformation to brand itself as a big city. Odense is the ”capital” of the island of Funen (Fyn), and therefore offers many opportunities for education and cultural experiences. I have been living in many different parts of the city and it will always be my true home.
The first city I adopted as a ”hometown” is the world city Paris – which doesn’t need much introduction. Like many, I have dreamed about living here for a period but have never done so. I first got to know Paris on a school-trip while I was aroud 16 years old, and I have returned no less than 12 times since. I quickly fell in love with the atmosphere of this special place, and I feel like in a world of my own whenever I wander its streets.
Cardiff is very special to me. A city I discovered in 2007 when I wanted to try to live abroad for a period and ended up here. I loved the feeling of having found something ”of my own” that not many Danes knew about and I quickly began to love the Welsh capital and Wales in general. My connection with the city got even more special as I met my girlfriend there in 2012, and since lived there on and off for most of that year and half of 2013.
The Spanish captial is the hometown of my girlfriend and I had not been there before I met her. But I quickly fell in love with Madrid as well. A city with a very different lifestyle than I was used to in Scandinavia. Compared the Spaniards are much more expressive in any way and living life more out of their homes. I got to live right in downtown of Madrid throughout a year, where I learned to know the city very well and I truly love its life and the sheer beauty of this place.