I think I’m becoming an Angeleno.
(Shhh… Don’t tell my fellow Floridians.)
Most people don’t understand the complexity of geography and don’t realize that they’re living it. Everyday. The interconnections between us and the world is geography. Visualizing these interconnections is a small part of what geographers do.
My own geographic history is probably more complex than most, but we all have a geographic heart. Spaces and places we call home, no matter where they are or how we got there. The spaces and places of our lives are not just static areas or locations to occupy. Emotion and culture make a place just as much as the buildings we put up.
Emotional geography is an overlooked field but is just as relevant as GIS or physical geography. I was introduced to the topic by attending a Los Angeles Geographical Society lecture by Dr. Deborah Thien (who happens to be a professor at my university). You can download and listen to her lecture on PTSD in military families here.
Emotional geography is a subtopic within human geography, dealing with the relationships between emotions and geographic places and their contextual environments. Emotional geography specifically focuses on how human emotions relate to, or affect, the environment around them. –Wikipedia
Studies which include the emotional meanings of places; for example, spaces of festival, mourning, or sport, and the emotional components of geographical phenomena, such as house-buying, international migration, or factory closures. –Answers.com
I’ve lived on both sides of the country and both sides of the world. I used to feel like I didn’t belong anywhere. A part of that feeling was that in Florida I was too Asian and in Japan I was too white. #dayinthelifeofabiraicalperson
Now that I’ve been in SoCal for almost 5 years, I think I’ve finally found where I belong. My geographic heart is a patchwork of everywhere I’ve been and how those places have shaped me. This seems to match the LA area almost perfectly. Los Angeles: a mixed up, ever changing, multiracial, international, beautiful craziness.
What is the geographic history of your heart? How do your emotions make a place a home? How does that place affect your emotions? There is more to geography than naming places and mapping vegetation. It’s physical. It’s emotional. It’s amazing.