What do we mean when we talk about home?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. It’s a deceptively complicated question.

Try this: Imagine stopping 10 people on the street and asking them to tell you the first thing they think of when they hear the word “home.” In all likelihood you’d get a range of responses. For some people it’s a place — maybe a specific one like a house, maybe a bigger one like a city or a region. Some subset of these will tell you it’s a place they’re running toward, while others will tell you they’ve spent their lives trying to escape its pull. Some will talk about it terms of people — a partner, a parent, a child. For others it’s an emotion. For still others it’s even less concrete — an aspiration. Or a memory. Or a dream.

All of which is to say that “home” is a malleable concept, and it has special meaning — or, more accurately, “meanings” — everywhere. But for Americans, a people who spent their national adolescence either looking or moving west, the West Coast represents something unique. It’s the place where Manifest Destiny ran up against the implacable limits of nature. Hi. How are you. Look, we know you were promised limitless horizons and an endless frontier and all, but… Yeah. Sorry about that. Welcome, by the way.

So what does it mean to be at home here, where the road ends?

That’s the question behind HOME: Stories From L.A. I’m Bill Barol, and every two weeks I’ll be bringing you audio stories about home, in all its shapes and sizes, from the place where the land ran out. I hope you’ll listen.

And here’s the part where I ask you to subscribe, rate and review us, download new episodes to your favorite podcatcher (here are three of mine), get in touch, and tell your friends. Share us on Facebook. Tweet us out. Follow us on Instagram. In fact, “tell your friends” probably should have been first. Or at least second, after “subscribe” and “rate and review.” That’s really the big one right there. So do those things, okay? And thanks in advance.