Global Citizen: How Do You Go Home?
By Sarah Grubb
I am about to head back to Australia just to visit after 3 long years of being absent. Although I am very much looking forward to visiting all my friends, returning ‘home’ has always been a bit of a hard one for me. When you live on the road for even a short amount of time, going back to where you used to live is never really quite the same.
I remember a time when I was in my late-r 20s. All of my friends were single. We all lived on relatively basic theatre workers’ wages.
We all lived in the inner-city area, house-sharing to afford our inner-city life, and loving our inner-city pressures. We drank a lot at the free-ish bar at the theatre where I worked, went out as much as we could where the cab rides home would be cheap and only on the odd occasion, decided it was time to stay home and not go out.
I often look back upon this time in my life as one of my happiest. I have gone on to make quite a bit more money than I did in these days. I have obviously traveled a lot more. I have met a lot more friends.
But I loved it because it was regular. We had regular things we did at regular locations with the usual crowd.
Not being able to always afford it was never a problem. We had amazing times and often laugh about those times when we catch up nowadays.
But it’s the catching up that is different after you leave. Obviously when you leave a place, everyone moves on with their lives. They come to accept that they do not know when they will see you again. They also get promoted, meet a partner, buy a house, have kids etc. It never does feel quite the same. I often find when I return to Australia my friends who I thought would remain friends forever hardly see each other anymore. Property values in both Sydney and Melbourne have driven people to lots of extreme suburbs making catching up regularly quite difficult.
This also started to be the norm with my own family in the US. I definitely missed out on enough Christmases to not be a part of inside jokes that happened in my absence, regular everyday discussions shared amongst siblings and even births and deaths.
Needless to say, going ‘home’ has always been a strange concept to grasp.
I am already reaching out to friends in both Sydney and Melbourne about catching up when I come in April. I will stay in the CBD of each place and try to get people to head into town. I have found this to be the easiest solution logistically. I usually just pick a pub, preferably with a decent kid menu, and plop myself down there for several hours and hope everyone can drop in at their convenience. At least it is a good chance for all of them to get together too.
Now that I have own my house back in the US, I am changing what home means entirely.
I had tonnes of overseas visitors within the first 6 months of living there. I probably need to get a guest book to track them all! May the overseas visitors to my new home never stop. There are plenty of photos around the house to remind me of all the good times we had together, in many different countries all over the world.
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