Often on my mind as well as those with scattered relatives I wonder why families choose to migrate. Sometimes for better livelihoods, sometimes for more freedoms, and very often in pursuit of one’s dreams for themselves or for one’s family. Family migrations have been apart of human history since our nomadic days. But can one trace their own families migration and the real reasoning behind it?
Looking through my mother’s old family album with pictures dating back to the 1880s I question why some relatives from France chose to relocate to the small Caribbean island my parents call home. Turning the pages of our family album to the 1970 to early 1980 photos of my parents when they were close in age to me now I wonder what made such a young small town couple from a tropical island interested in calling New York home. In asking myself open-ended questions I tried to do some qualitative research by speaking to close family members. Through my research I included migration factors such as: family dynamics(i.e. family breadwinner), career goals, safety & security, and healthy lifestyles based on their current countries health index. In my parents case moving while young and able to begin a life that would provide safety & security in their livelihoods motivated their move. Though times have changed in the decades since they moved my mother would still move if she had to all over again.
When speaking with close international friends who live outside of their native countries I am always interested in learning more about their lives in their new countries (i.e. Korea, Australia, Spain, etc.). Some of my closest friends in Korea tell me that they would like to stay in Korea because their lives are much better than back in their native countries. Like me a few years ago these friends work, study, and live in some of Korea’s biggest urban cities and enjoy the stable & secure lives that they have been granted. However, when asked about their future and family rearing many of my friends are divided on staying or leaving Korea as they have not viewed the country as their permanent home long-term.
The idea of a long-term home for some is never black and white. Though one may be born & raised in one country they ultimately will eventually decide where they would like to live. Just like thousands of years ago the pursuit of one’s envisions (i.e.livelihood) through migration remains ever-present. We humans were once nomadic moving from place to place in search of food, shelter, and temperate geography. Today, while much more different from our ancestors we migrate based on choices. In recent discussions with friends in the U.S. I have talked about migrating within our generation. Be it for exploring, love, work, or maybe even family ties millennials(*in first-world nations) are moving more so than their forefathers. Possessing not only the freedoms, but also opportunities our generation is also re-defining migration.
In five or ten years from now will I follow my mom & dad and migrate? Or will I settle down and live where I was born & raised? I ask myself these questions more so lately as I decide how I would like to live my life and possibly my future life down the road. But, for now like many of my international friends I do not have long-term ideas in sight. Maybe it is because I know my opportunities extend past my home state and country. Additionally, maybe it because I found love abroad. Whichever reason it maybe I know that my (own) migration like my families will be based on choices that benefit my life stability as well as my future families.