It has been a couple of months since I landed back in Australia. I lived overseas for just over two years and wasn’t sure how I would feel about returning, but I knew I wanted to go back to my home country. A lot of people told me it would be hard, but it hasn’t been. It was harder living abroad, navigating life with a different language, in a new culture, with different systems. Of course, I loved it! I met lots of amazing people, learnt as much German as I could and was able to travel to France, Denmark, Poland and basically any nearby European country whenever I felt like it. But I was ready to come home and now, things feel good. Being back is the easy part.
I now live by a lake in a small town. I open the curtains each morning to see Kangaroos grazing by the water and pelicans floating along the lake. Along my many walks, I see echidnas, swamp wallabies and lizards. I smell the strong scent of wattle every time I go out. I soak in the eucalyptus flavours and the salty wind that blows in off the coast. I feel the sand between my toes and the fresh air blasting my face. I see never-ending ocean views and empty beaches, with not a tourist in sight. In the evening, when I take in the bins from the street, I meet a couple of big kangaroos and stand back to let them hop on their way. The other day, I even saw a kangaroo jumping into the water and wading across to the bank on the other side.
Sometimes this land seems so big. I am in a tiny town in a country bordered by oceans. It would be closer to visit Antarctica than Europe right now! Life away almost feels like a dream, contained in its own magical bubble. I sometimes sit back and wonder if it even happened. After all, I was in a different time zone, in opposite seasons, in a language I did not fully understand. I have now seen the world through a different lens and it has given me a new perspective on life. And as I start to make sense of my homeland with this new viewpoint, I realise how beautiful it all is. That is the joy of travel. It opens our minds and creates new possibilities, opportunities and understandings that didn’t even exist before.
How did you feel returning home after living abroad? Were you ready for it? Did your feelings change over time?