Exhausted and dazed, and after what seemed an eternity of flights with little to no time between to stretch my cramped legs – and even then it was to stand in a series queues with passports and documentation, currency and layers of clothing, yearning for release – I emerged blinking at my sudden freedom from Customs at Brisbane airport this morning, assaulted by the cacophany of crickets and the sticky embrace of hot, wet air.
Lovely Jo Clarke was there on my arrival home with fresh red carnations and white daisies, croissants and plums to cheer me – as well as a couple of beers in the fridge! 🙂 And of course my house was immaculate. (I have since covered every surface with the detritus of travel, but I will get back to keeping the place clean eventually).
It’s good to be home but it’s a strange homecoming. I am spending the next six months on the campaign trail and doing consultancies, but I’m also wrapping up my life here, with the expectation of moving to the UK in the next six months. I won’t think of myself as an ex-patriot – if anything, I regard myself as a fierce patriot and advocate for the interests of Australia and most particularly, Queensland business and ideals – but I know I will be perceived as an ex-pat. And I know I will feel that strange sensation I had when I moved to Brisbane from Melbourne, of having two homes, two hearts. But really, whenever I return to Sydney there’s a part of me that feels I am going home, too. Spending New Years Eve at Cremorne Point and watching the fireworks felt for me as if I’d somehow rectified a deficiency of my own experience of that city. So when I move again and set myself up in either London or Glasgow (with Glasgow showing immense promise on a professional basis in beautiful Scotland) I’m sure I will have the same pangs of connection and disconnection, opportunity and deprivation. But I know I will have no regrets. I have the most beautiful friends and I am fortunate to have shared intense periods of my life with them all. But I won’t be leaving those friendships behind. The wonderful thing about the internet is that I can stay in regular contact and still be part of their lives as much or more than before. (So many of us use email and instant text messaging or Skype as our normal form of communication now, it won’t be any different from speaking to some people from now!) So with my friendships and relationships intact and my professional future an array of opportunities ahead, I can only look forward to adding another location to my understanding of ‘home’.
In the meantime, after spending my last few hours sight-seeing around Scotland, and entering so many kilt-makers with traditional Scottish music playing in the background, and after the celebrations of Burns night (celebrating the birthday of Scottish poet laureate, Robert Burns), there’s a tune that has been playing through my head throughout the trip home to Brisbane, and the lyrics seemed appropriate to reproduce here…..
There is a land far from this distant shore
Where heather grows and Highland eagles soar
There is a land that will live ever more
Deep in my Heart, my Bonnie Scotland
I don’t know whether Scotland will be my new home, or fast and fashionable London, but I know there will be a land that will live ever more in my heart, and it’s a wide, brown land.