“Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is a well-known phrase from the United States Declaration of Independence. For many people it may explain the emigration from their home country with the intention of forging a life for themselves in another one.

There are a multitude of reasons why someone may voluntarily or involuntarily leave their birth nation, ranging from fleeing persecution to simply seeking a better life elsewhere. Expatriates (people temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than that of their upbringing) may initially have been searching for better job opportunities, seeking exciting new cultures, looking to achieve religious or sexual freedom, better educational opportunities or simply joining members of their families who have already built a life elsewhere.

Essentially, choosing to switch between countries does not equate to a change in identity. Many people will bring their homes and indeed parts of their home countries with them, whether it is in the form of physical trinkets or a more innate cultural identity that guides their actions and their lives. In this way, their homes are never lost.

However, this is not to say that they need to be limited to only one culture. Indeed, many find themselves adapting to and enjoying a variety of new cultures, even learning new languages, leading to cultural fusion. Eventually, communities filled with like-minded people, perhaps from their home country, form around the first settlers in an area, creating a home away from home.