$HOME is your users home directory.
I am not sure I understand where you want the pdf prints to go, but printing to anywhere other than the default or into a subdirectory under $HOME will require some finessing with permissions and possibly selinux since anything under the system directories is not normally writable by a standard user.
Looking at the default /etc/cups/cups-pdf.conf on my system I see this,
which tells me the default output for a cups-pdf print would be sent to my $DESKTOP directory but since $DESKTOP is not defined it goes to the bit bucket.
The multitudinous comments within /etc/cups/cups-pdf.conf actually are a very good tutorial on how to use that file and what the configs do.
Printing outside /home is exactly what I would like to configure.
According to the comments within cups-pdf.conf, or what I got from it, is that it must be possible to put in a path that points to a location within another partition on another disk.
It doesn’t help much to point to a symlink within the home directory, that I already found out.
I have don multiple searches on the internet with several search terms. I think that a lot of people would like to know the answer. Unfortunately I haven’t found anything that could help me - this includes the comments in the config file.
What would be involved permissionwise to fix what evidently cannot be done the way I thought it could be?
The point is, that the directory I want to print to is owned by me, so I don’t get why tweaking permissions is necessary.
What is a ‘bit bucket’? I am not familiar with that expression.
Have you heard of a circular file? Or any of the sometimes old fashioned terms for trash or garbage or disposal bin? A bit bucket is the same – a term for getting rid of digital trash. If something digital is directed to a place that is not defined it disappears – forever.
The post above by vgaetera gives you a very succinct and complete series of commands to do what you asked. You will have to reboot, or at least restart cups for the change to take affect.