My name is Charlotte Eriksson; a happily slightly lost girl from Sweden, who somehow ended up living a little bit of everywhere (or maybe nowhere at all). Some might know me as The Glass Child for the music I make, others might know me for the books I’ve written. Some might associate me with wandering; a vagabond with hope. Some might associate me with my slight obsession for coffee (I even have my own coffee t-shirt!). But maybe most of the few who know me, know me from something they stumbled upon on the internet, without actually knowing that those words or that song came from this restless little heart of mine. See, I have inhabited the internet as my canvas to fill however I please. I use it to collect and share all these experiences I’m chasing; the lessons I learn and the hurdles I face. The people I meet, the cities, the books, the music. I’ve wandered all over Europe, more often than not without really knowing where to go or where I want to end up, and that’s why I’ve gone there.
I took off at an early age, determined to create a life for myself that made me excited to wake up every morning. I wanted to create myself, paint the blank canvas that was my personality with beautiful and interesting things that made me intrigued by my own self. I had resolved to never become a person who was bored by my own very life.
I started in London. I started with music. I went on to wander the roads of England with my guitar and a dream. Bought secondhand books at flea markets on the weekends. Read hundreds of them. I picked up Seneca in Bristol, Jane Austen in Edinburgh, Rumi in Liverpool. I found friends and lost friends, because the road teaches you that nothing is yours to keep, but everything is yours for the taking—to enjoy while it lasts.
Cutting my roots and leaving my home without finding a new one, I’ve been forced to learn how to build my home and comfort in other things. Things you can not own, or take ownership of. Because things you own can be lost or taken away from you, and life on the road is hard as it is, so possessions are burdens that you want to throw off, and this why I am writing here today.
Have you ever thought about how much is available to you, to use and take in and enjoy, without needing to own them? Concerts, libraries, parks, a good joke, sunsets, the smell of freshly cut grass, soaking in the sun a lazy afternoon in August, or sharing a cup of coffee with someone you love on a still Sunday morning, watching the world wake up? And have you ever thought about the fact that memories, all your memories, are built on these things—things you don’t need to own. They are like the universe’s gift to us all, to enjoy. Like a present to celebrate you being here. How beautiful is that?
Finding myself without somewhere to call my home at the tender age of 20 taught me how to build a home in things I couldn’t own—in experiences. I built my home in my music; how it gives me heaven for an hour while creating something out of nothing. By being able to put my own being into melodies and texts. I built my comfort in my writing; the way I can make sense of circumstances and feelings by simply putting words on them. How I can choose to write down my life in a way that makes it worth it; nothing is ever lost.
I built my home in the feeling of waking up at dawn in a new city, where every road is the right road because there is no ordinary. Everything is as profound as you make it, and I built my home in foreign local coffee shops. Every town has them, and each and every one smells different. The baristas are greeting me with different languages, different accents, different ways of pronouncing ’cappuccino’, and I’ve built my comfort in the golden morning hours at those coffee shops. Working away with my canvas, filling it with more stories and words, lessons and songs. On good days I can sit on the same chair in the same corner for hours, lost in my own world of words and thoughts and the willingness to share it. I’m eager to share what I see and learn, and I’m just as eager to understand other’s experiences, filling their own canvas; decorating their own lives.
Brews, specialty ways of making coffee and expertise is all fine, but for someone like me it’s the little things. It’s the moments. It’s knowing that even though I might never find a place to call my own, or be able to buy things to own or possess, I can still take part in the free gifts that are laid out before me. Someone is painting a magnificent masterpiece with lights and colors out of nothing but the sky, the sun and the horizon, every single morning. The fact that no matter how low down in the dumps I may fall, I can always find a few minutes of pure joy and clarity by losing myself in my music. A big group of daily friends or a white painted house with bills and mirrors, are not a necessity to me—but an intelligent conversation while sharing another coffee, is.
No matter how alone I may find myself in foreign towns in this vast world, I can always find my small pieces of home. The streets, the art, the books; saying good morning to an expat from Australia in yet another coffee shop, enjoying the way he wears khaki shorts in December and always looks happy.
Build your home in small moments of joy, and you will always feel at home.