Home: Before and After the Summer

What is home?
A place where you can feel comfortable and at ease.
Feel safe
Feel supported, feel close to people.
Be part of a community
Feel challenged, entertained, engaged

Where is home?

No home?

It’s where you make it?

 

When I came back to my hometown after being away for a year, it was pretty much how I knew it was going to be. I had anticipated it would be a struggle: I was returning in the winter, I had nowhere to live so was staying in my mum’s living room, I no longer had a car and I needed to find a new job. All of this, I found, was bearable though. What I had not anticipated was the immeasurable distance that I would feel.

I had not been happy about leaving Australia and while I did want to see my family, I did not really want to be coming back to the same place. It was the easiest and most sensible option, I told myself. I can save some money, spend time with my family and plan my next moves for the future.

When people describe returning home after travelling, they often say things like “everything else is still exactly the same but you feel completely different”. This suggested to me that relationships would not change – at least not in the sense of the way others behaved towards me. Alternatively, I have heard people say that – with varying degrees of ease – they managed to just slip back into old routines when they returned home. Some people seem to find this takes a number of months, whereas other people say that for the first few weeks it’s fine but after that, they begin to get restless.

Personally, I found that I experienced neither of these. I returned home and things did feel different. Maybe this was because I had changed and therefore felt different but I honestly did feel like things had changed. I could now see the lives that people had lead without me – I still can – and this lead me to feel as if they were far away, or maybe I was the one who felt far away but which ever way I looked at it, I felt distance. Yet I was the one who had chosen to go away and was reluctant to return to the place I had called ‘home’. I am the person who still feels the need to leave, to find new places, meet new people – I suppose to build a new home?

To some extent I still feel this distance now. I guess long term travel is a test of any relationship but I have learned that I can still reach out and those people who still want to, will reciprocate. This has helped me to get through my time being back here and has also shown me that although you may return to a place for the people, their lives will inevitably continue without you.

 

Yet I still feel that I am wrenching myself away…

I am now in a position where I have been back for almost a year. I have transitioned through many emotional phases since returning but ultimately I have stuck to my original plan and in a few weeks I will be travelling again. I should probably feel excited but I have so many mixed emotions and thoughts going through my mind. I am going to miss my family so much and honestly, I don’t really want to leave them again. Flying off by myself to other countries can feel intimidating, even if I have done this once before. I have now had time to feel stability again, security and familiarity. I have climbed back into my old-new cocoon and I can’t deny that in a way it feels good and safe.

I question myself – I know too well that once an end is in sight, it is so easy to begin to ignore the negatives that drove you to make this change in the first place. In a way, it feels that it has taken me this long to begin to feel at home again but maybe I feel truly at home because I am following the path I have set out for myself.

Yet I can’t help but feel emotional, thinking about what I am leaving and apprehensive about the uncertainty of the future. I remind myself that change is good, that stretching myself is necessary and I hope that time proves that this journey is worth the “risk”.

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New Inspiration: Once Each Day

Once Each Day is the new blog created by Pots of Tea.

This collaborative new space offers people the opportunity to share snippets inspired by their day. Embracing writing, sharing, inspiration and communication, Once Each Day truly encompasses what blogging is all about. Share one sentence about your day, become a contributor or remain anonymous and help to sew together this social collage.

As someone who appreciates thoroughness, I have tended to feel that my passing thoughts are not blog worthy, instead opting for more detailed and lengthy accounts. This is an idea that I have challenged in Reminder to myself but I have not completely managed to change my way of thinking.

I have embraced Once Each Day as a friendly nudge to share my thoughts more consistently and I am happy to find an outlet which encourages me to express my passing thoughts. I am looking forward to the challenge of posting a single daily sentence and to watching the blog develop with more contributions.

If you would like to submit a sentence anonymously, you can do so here or if you’d prefer to be recognised, please write here.

I look forward to hearing about your day!

 

 

From then to now

Ten months ago I was aware that I hadn’t been on holiday for almost three years. Now in the grand scheme of things that really doesn’t sound like a big deal, but in my mind, there were so many places that I hadn’t seen and since the age of about 14 I had known that I wanted to travel. What had I been doing all this time? I’m sure it was some kind of bordering 30 crisis but I started to get this creeping feeling that time was running out!

Sounds dramatic, but I think this was the added push that I needed as I then began to get the distinct feeling that it was ‘now or never’. This was enforced by the fact that many ‘working holiday’ experiences and visas are allocated to 18-30 year olds only, so in this sense, it really was now or never!

I decided to re-apply for European Voluntary Service, which I had looked at doing previously but had managed to hold myself back from. This is a really positive scheme, whereby 90% of your travel costs and all of your accommodation, food and basic ‘pocket money’ are covered, in return for you offering to work voluntarily with a participating organisation. The work can cover many areas, including Conservation, Arts, Health and Social Work. For anyone who is interested in doing this, you will need to find a sending organisation, who will assist you. I registered with Concordia and it is completely free of cost.

It was also around this time that my friend Jess came back from Canada. Jess had been in Canada for a year and the desire to travel had definitely been confirmed for her. We happily started planning a trip to Paris and for me this marked the beginning of a new chapter: one where I began to turn thoughts into actions, and one in which I now find myself on the other side of the world.