It’s hard to be away from home when you’re travelling or living elsewhere for a long time – I realised that soon after I got off the plane when I landed in Melbourne, ready to study there for half a year. When I got to my new room at three in the morning (it doesn’t help that I’m not that much of a fan of the dark when I’m on my own) I immediately thought, “Shit.” I was literally the other side of the world and it was scary.
But what about when you consider yourself to have two homes – the home from home? Other than it getting confusing as you’re always missing somewhere, that is. I had already fallen in love with Australia when I visited in 2009, and in 2012 I called it my home. And just because I’ve left doesn’t mean I’ve stopped.
I think anyone who has spent a significant amount of time in one place (although we could argue that any time in one place is significant but that’s a whole other topic) knows it’s not a fleeting love, not just a place you desire to go back to until you set yourself on another city. It tugs at your heartstrings, it becomes a piece of you.
So what is it that makes a place a true home from home? This is just my experience of it – you might have the same, or completely different points, and that makes it a wonderful thing.
Your adopted family
Creating your own network – or family – is an important part of living elsewhere. The people around you, let’s face it, are the big part of the experience. The thing is, you can be the best you; you go in feeling fresh and revitalised. When you find those people who bring you to life even more, it’s very hard to be apart from them.
Not just the place, the vibe
When you find yourself saying that’s something so typical of a Melbournite, or an Australian generally (or wherever it is you are!) because you’ve been around them so much… you’re in on the vibe. It’s not just the look of the city that gets you, but the surprises around every corner. You don’t imagine and long to be back in that general skyscraper view, but rather all those little streets you grew to know so well.
That emotional tug
Embarrassing fact: when I think of Melbourne (/Australia), I well up. There is no place I’ve been happier, and I don’t even consider my wish to go back just another thing on my (very, very long) list of destinations I want to go to. It’s part of me, and I feel like it’s a need. I only just realised recently that the internal tug I get is home sickness. It is, simply, a part of me that is pulling me back.
Comfort and exploration
Just as home is a place of comfort, so is the home from home. It’s somewhere still to explore and sparks off excitement, but it’s a comfort. I know the next time to go to Melbourne, I’ll step off that plane and feel so content not because I’m on a holiday or travelling, but because this was the place that has made a large part of who I am now.
In essence, travelling tends to mould you and change you. I count myself lucky that not only has travelling done this, but Melbourne has done its own special bit, too.