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on the run, on my own: home is not a dirty word

Image: Jo Williams

Image: Jo Williams

When you’re a traveller, home is a dirty word. A secret that you keep to yourself because if you admit that you might be missing it and the people there, even just a little bit, you’re a Bad Traveller. You’re supposed to be having adventures and being free and having Constant Fun. Right?

Hmmm.

The past few weeks have been very important in the Williams family as we recently welcomed a gorgeous girl to our family. I became an aunty to the beautiful Erin who, and I may be biased here, is definitely the best baby on the planet. Trouble is, I’m on the other side of said planet.

As much as I love to get emails from my brother and sister-in-law with pictures of her (including an excellent one of her looking like a pirate) it’s difficult knowing that for the foreseeable future I’m only going to be able to meet her via computer screen. The day I found out that I was an aunty was probably the furthest I have ever felt from home.

When you’re in a place for a long time your mind wanders and it’s hard to put things into perspective. You dwell on things because you have time to and because you’ve got nothing else to do. I’ve had some people say, ‘How can you be missing home? You’re in Australia!’ but as much as I’d like to think that the world back at home ground to an unbearable halt as soon as I got on the plane, I know that didn’t happen. My family and friends are still living their lives without me and things are bound to change.

Luckily some things don’t.

I received an email from my parents a few days ago telling me all the stuff that they’d been up to. Actually, this was after I had sent them an email asking them if they’d forgotten about me because I hadn’t heard from them for a while. My dad said the reason they hadn’t emailed me was because ‘nothing interesting had happened’. But I always want to hear about what they get up to, even if it’s just that they went shopping and went to see my grandma one day. It’s not boring to me.

I know that things will have changed when I get back home, but I know that the important things won’t have. Like the fact that my mum will still be going crazy  knitting everything for her new granddaughter and that my dad will sign off an email with, ‘Anyway, I’m going to make a sandwich and do some gardening.’

I’ve come to the conclusion that travelling isn’t always adventures and sunsets and awesome new people. Sometimes you’re bored, sometimes it’s cloudy and sometimes you want to clobber the new people you meet with your Lonely Planet guide. And have you seen the Australia Lonely Planet? It’s big.

But they don’t show you that on the sepia-hued pictures with the inspirational quotes that people post on Facebook and Tumblr.

I don’t want to go home yet because Manchester has nothing to offer me. In fact, England has nothing to offer me at the moment. I want to be out here, finding the place that does have something to offer me.

But that doesn’t mean there haven’t been times that I’ve wanted my family and friends here with me. My dad would love walking around the monuments of Darwin, all the while telling me I need to reapply my factor 50. And I’d take my mum around the amazing markets at The Rocks, eating crepes and looking at the crafts underneath Sydney Harbour Bridge. My sister and I would have a riot in the Blue Mountains, scrambling over tree trunks and pretending not to be out of breath as we climb the eightieth hill of the day. And I just know my brother would love to have seen the cattle mustering.

And the less said about my best friends and me watching the surfer’s on Bondi Beach the better.

I can’t wait to tell them all about it in person and show them all my thousands of pictures, laptop on my knee, a few bottles of wine open…

But until then, I’ve got places to go and I’ve got people to meet. After all, I might as well make my stories interesting, right?

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