…I decided to pack my bags and head home.
Home to Europe.
Only this time I would be a tourist in my own country. Countries.
It had been nearly two years since I’d set off from the UK to solo travel South America. How might things have changed? Would I recognise my old life? Would my friends be strangers? Would I feel displaced, neither at home in Britain nor Australia?
I felt the travel excitement bubble up in my belly, and each day the longing to hold my friends and family in tight cuddles grew stronger. In the last year Skype had brought me news: friends married and fell pregnant. My sister gave birth to her first child, my first nephew. My Oma battled a heart attack and fought for her life. My other grandmother gave up the fight to finally reach a place of calm.
And I, like many a travelling expat, felt so far away from those closest to me. Time to return and see and experience the changes for real.
But life, ever playful, gave me something else to ponder. The sun reappeared and dried out a good few months of damp, and each day closer to my departure date brought me closer to people in my Aussie life. And then I saw it clearly: I was part of a new community. Things and people were starting to become familiar. I was starting to belong. Anticipating that a glimpse of what I’d left behind in the UK would make me too drunk dizzy to get back on a plane to Oz, they made me promise I’d return.
But, really, I didn’t know the outcome, how I’d feel reimmersed in my native culture. I had heard that a growing number of Europe to Australia emigrants return to their home country within a year, so I kept my mind and options open and boarded that first flight to Singapore looking forward to little else but a mama hug some 27 hours away.