No matter how far you roam, all roads lead back to home.
I began this blog as way to keep family and friends updated with my travels. It began to develop into a diary too, not only sharing my experiences but my thoughts too. Being open was never my thing, honesty usually making me squirm. I now believe it is key in capturing all there is, in truly appreciating and understanding the world around me. Starting to let go of the lies I’ve convinced myself of for years (like doubting my abilities, and pessimism), it’s time to be truthful. The changes in mindset are not going to happen quickly, but attempting to write honestly is a step along the road. This is my first truth – I am terribly, deeply homesick.
Living in a small town all my life, it was easy to dream of magical, far away places. Places that were bright and crowded, cold and desolate, breathtaking and beautiful. The lush paddocks, country roads lined with gums and unpolluted sky of home simply blended into everyday life too swiftly to be appreciated. The friendliness and at times snoopy charm of a tight knit community moulded itself to my expectations. Adopting the human greed of more, the perfect life I already had was never appreciated.
And then I was off. Years of dreaming the wanderlust, creating endless lists to complete and finally booking the first journey was enveloped in excitement. Barely a thought was spared to the homely central western town that taught me all I knew.
Leaving the room I’d sought eternal comfort in, the goofy puppy covered in spots, and the people I assumed were family was tough but not unbearable. This was the first adventure of my lifetime; freedom, beauty, truth and love dancing on the horizon. The fear of having to return home lingering misplaced in the back of my mind. June will be horrible, I would muse, being back in that boring, old place.
Rio de Janeiro, the living city where the mountains met the sea. A small town girl swallowed whole into an unknown world. It was thrilling, it was disappointing, it was new. Brazil glimmered before me, a mesmerising lolly shop beckoning the hungry child. Dazzled by this new lifestyle I’d launched into, things were going well. Some tears were surprising with the second contact to home, an unexpected reaction on my behalf but seemingly natural enough. Nothing to dwell on. Of course I’d miss my room, my dog, and my people, that’s what happens, right?
My hazy illusion came crashing down, the cruel weight of reality crippling me. The people I called family were suddenly the most important thing I had. But they were now so far away. And it would be a long while until I could see them again. Those two facts dawned on me and ripped a deep rift into my soul. What have I done?! How could I be so utterly stupid as to not realise how much my family meant to me and not let them know it before I left for such a long time? Hell, the longest I’d been away from them was two weeks, with some contact. Now I would not see them for one hundred and twelve days, the contact we have short and sweet due to internet connection and calling fees.
Homesickness is a nasty ordeal, suddenly highlighting all the glory and beauty left behind in that ‘boring’ hometown. The taken for granted comfort of familiar people that know you, loneliness cured by the warm hugs of loved ones. Steaming aromatic baths with flickering candles as light rain falls in the grey light outside. Snuggled under blankets on the couch moulded to you, watching whatever pleases. The robotic routine of school and work, a soothing system of classes or hours that are only appreciated in chaos. Driving through the main street, buses, people and shops ever changing yet still somehow the same. The sharp breeze that chills the green duck park; those aged trees holding memories of parties, dates, friends and great gatherings among the gnarled roots. Sitting in my grandparents house, surrounded by aunt, uncles and cousins, laughing and talking over a home cooked meal. The wise poplar trees that line the hill into Mount Haven and my driveway, their leaves the first indicators of changing seasons. The gathering of neighbours on a wooden veranda, wine in hands awaiting the moonrise over the sweeping, cattle speckled hills. All the beauty I ignored for years has burst into brilliant illumination before my eyes, a shaming and teasing chide. All the wise words of not appreciating what we have until its gone ringing painfully in my ears.
Each day seems to get worse, the ache in my chest tearing fresh, mournful shreds. The beating wanderlust in my soul quietens like an ember, flickering nervously and delicately. Drowning in the new experiences, the missing of home runs deep in my veins. The wondrous places I visit can only distract me momentarily from this crippling pain. My homeland. The magic of Circular Quay, the heat of crowded Western suburbs, the ancient and alluring Blue Mountains, the spirited country farm land that blooms across the central west, the small towns holding pure, human values etched into the walls of brick cafes and beer scented pubs, the windswept plains and red sand of the centre, the glorious white summer beaches and sun. Even the beautiful drive to Grafton that I only used to see as long, passing tiny towns, lush fields, country cities, hilly rainforest, dry bush and peaceful desolation. All this perfection that I rejected. That I never appreciated.
In a way, the homesickness mourns my naivety, curing the foolish girl that became clouded in wanderlust. Just enough can lead a magical life of learning and understanding, too much can blind. Sheepishly, my body, mind and soul are attempting to re-adjust and rebalance myself to adapt to all that is thrown at me. I do not regret stepping onto the plane that flew me to South America. All I do regret is not appreciating what I had – family, friends, home. Sitting nearly fifteen thousand kilometres from Meadow Flat, separated by the mighty Andes and the great Pacific Ocean, I wish more than anything to see the wind blow through the gum trees, the cars in the main street of Bathurst, the kangaroos bounce lazily in the paddock. I wish to see my family, my Mum, Dad and my brother, to feel them sitting around me at the dinner table, or hear them moving through the house. I want to see all my friends that I isolated myself from in the weeks before my departure, the school friends, work mates and best friend that was only hours away. Brazil, Argentina and bits of Chile have been and will continue to be amazing, but there’s no place like home…