Slovenski etnografski muzej

Beyond my birthplace – my departure

Inja Smerdel

Leaving home – where to and why? Do I remain who I am?

Leaving home for a variety of reasons and intentions may be either a need or a choice. It may be part of the individual’s strategy for survival or his personal development. But is always means to leave the environment in which he was born and rooted. And it also means meeting new environments and people and facing otherness.

Individuals left their domestic natural and social environment, the local community, for reasons of survival, a better life, knowledge or religion, etc. They were enticed by other places which offered them what they were looking for - by other villages, provinces and, in particular, towns. With their centuries old history towns grew increasingly attractive economically, socially and culturally, as well as indispensable in their symbiosis with the countryside.
People left and returned. With them they took knowledge, produce or products and they returned with other goods, ideas, cultural elements. Some remained in other places and became “others”: to those they left behind as well as to those they joined. Their kinship, local, provincial, and professional identity changed; it doubled, multiplied, and split.

To make ends meet or for a better life  

The avenue of those departing


Women Reapers

  Washerwomen   Dairymaids
Forest Workers   Grinders  


  Pilgrimages   To school, to learn
Reflections of departures