Reclaiming Sydney

Post-holiday blues didn’t hit as hard as I thought it would. Sydney is a beautiful city to return to and having done all that travelling, makes me appreciate my hometown even more. I miss South America, I miss Dubai, but I also missed home!

The last couple of weeks has been a mixture of settling down, relaxation, job hunting, family time and eating. There’s nothing better than coming home to my favourite home-cooked dinner every day!  No more empanadas, thank you. I’ve been shuffled into the spare room downstairs, with nothing much more than a bed and a wardrobe. I realised then that I didn’t have very many belongings. Four years ago I had enough crap to fill a 3 bedroom two-storey house, now I have a 3×3 room and one half-full cupboard of mainly my backpacking clothes (which I never want to wear again!), three pairs of shoes, 2 suits, my snowboarding gear, laptop and camera.  All my other stuff is still in Dubai – dresses, shoes, cookbooks, the all important hairdryer. But I’m not feeling at all impoverished.

There is a memorable quote from the George Clooney movie, Up in the Air about how much your life weighs and our metaphorical backpack for life. Its very inspiring. And now walking into this room at my parents home, with just a bag on my back I thought about all the other ‘stuff’ i had left behind of the last four years. People, relationships, fancy apartments, boozy nights out, big cars. All gone, and really, it is kind of exhilirating.

I’ve never started ‘from scratch’ before. Well, when I moved to Dubai that was kind of ‘from scratch’ but a little different. This is ‘from scratch’ back in my home town. Its a weird feeling. Job hunting is tedious. Catching up with long lost friends can be repetitive. Family can be boring. I can’t really start anything until I have a job. Then comes saving, then comes moving out, then comes ‘living life’ again (or is it getting back into the rat race?). It will take me months to build it up, and because I’m the impatient type I want it all now now now.

Reclaiming Sydney will be a slow and steady process. I mentioned to a friend the other day that I want to apply the principles of travelling to my every day life. Do something new. Meet people. Take in every opportunity to enjoy myself. Live, dream and (at the risk of sounding like an Emirates ad..) keep discovering.

All photos in this post were taken by the author and subject to copyright.


No place like home… or is there?

there's no place like home Home is one of those words associated with family, comfort and security.  The thought of home, to most people, conjures up images of bliss and serenity. After a 14 hour trip on the proverbial yellow brick road, just the sight of Sydney from above in an aeroplane gives me goosebumps. On the drive home from the airport I see that things have not changed, things are exactly as they were when I left last – the same roads, buildings, neighbours, driveway, house, bedroom. That tree in the backyard may have grown slightly, the kids next door are three inches taller, and the family pet is furrier, fatter and slightly lazier. But things are still familiar, secure and comfortable.

Having been at home now for a good week or so, I did realise that there was no place like home. Food on hand. Laundry washed. Love is all around.

Through your childhood as you grow up all you think about is leaving home. And then you leave. You work and travel in all parts of the world, meeting others who have also left their homes, and at the same time being invited into new homes. While you are away you try to recreate that feeling of home for your own self – through friends, routines, comfort, security and memories.  And so on, until one day, you realise as you get older (and maybe wiser), your real home is the one and only place you want to go back to.  For me, going back home makes me appreciate all the simple things. It also makes me appreciate the great things I’ve done while I’ve been away. It makes me feel lucky that I’ve had the privilege of being able to spend time away, to create a life for myself, while at the same time have the comfort of knowing that if all else fails, there is always the opening arms of a loving home waiting for me.

But I also think a person can have multiple “homes”. As a saying goes, home is not where you live, but where they understand you.  To be in a place where you are understood as the person you are brings a sense of belonging and family. There’s nothing better in the world when you find a group of people, far away from your natural home, who know you like you have been friends for decades. You form these friendship bonds and you trust these people like family. So leaving these people can sometimes be just as hard as leaving your own family behind. As someone readjusting to life back in the ‘real world’ there are times when you get ‘homesick’ for your other homes. I wonder if Dorothy ever missed the land of Oz? Does she wonder what happened to her friends, the scarecrow, lion and tin man? And that crazy wizard?

You know that life goes on without you, and like some parallel universe, you sometimes crave for that other home too. But you also know that the next time you are there, all will be the same – the road, buildings, neighbours etc – and that there will be your other family there waiting for you, open arms –  probably with a drink in hand – ready to welcome you home.