Do I have a “place in the world“? One special place that defines me? Do I have a place that tugs at my heart-strings? One place that I dream about? Am I town or country? Am I homebody or nomad?….
So let me look at the last statement first. I am definitely a nomad. My earliest memory is as a 4-5 year old persuading a little friend to come with me and find the seaside. We wandered off, direction unknown. Of course I got lost (another life long tradition established). Frantic parents, neighbours and police sent out search parties and eventually we were found. I got a smack and sent to bed, my friend was smothered in hugs and kisses!!!
My accent betrays the fact that I was born and spent a happy childhood in Hull, a large city in England. But living on the outer suburbs and only a short walk, or later, bike ride to the open fields and lanes of the country I yearned to live in the country. So chose farming as my lifestyle.
So that answers the next statement. I am a country girl.
But I still longed to travel. The thought of distant countries stirred in my nomadic heart.
Then I met a man and at age 18 I followed him to New Zealand and then married over there. We had a family and I immersed myself in the country and a lifestyle of dairy-farming. I loved New Zealand. I had found my place.
But times change. We separated. But I still loved New Zealand. I had made many friends and I was to stay there for almost 40 years.
Land of mist and mountains and rolling green pasture.
It does tug at my heartstrings. But the years roll by. Children grow up and leave home and start families of their own and my gypsy genes feel the urge to wander. Then I meet another man. He is a kindred spirit, nesting time is well and truly over for both of us, we are free to roam and roam we do. The next decade we travel, the world is our oyster. Always on a limited budget, coming and going from New Zealand to all points of the compass. It is so exciting to visit new places but still it is always good to see that iconic long white cloud appear under the plane wing as we came home between trips.
Jack had a very strong sense of his place in the world. After 30 years living and working in New Zealand, when he reached retirement age he wanted to go back to that place…
Australia, the country he was born in….
It was not an easy decision for me. My heart was in New Zealand, my children with their families, my grand children all lived in New Zealand.
But my adventurous spirit said “just do it”.
So in 1998 we moved to Australia. Gradually this immense country has worked its magic spell on me. It is a land of huge distances and contrasts, from rainforest to the ocean, from desert to wide brown plains, from mountains to lakes and rivers. The vast sky, often a clear cerulean blue. Then its frightening tempests when it flings rain, hail, fire, wind and storms at the land. It is always unpredictable. We have spent years travelling around, discovering its hidden beauty and capricious nature. Though I still harbour a love for New Zealand, now there is no where else I would call my “place in the world”