I was fortunate to work in Central Australia for nearly twenty years, and a big part of the jobs I did was working with Indigenous people. I remember a friend of mine, who also worked cross-culturally, once saying: ‘I envy Indigenous people. They have a true sense of place. They know where they are from. They know where home is’.

For some people, home is where they grew up. Perhaps they have never left their home town, or maybe they did before eventually returning ‘home’. For others, they found ‘home’ elsewhere; somewhere regional, interstate, or overseas. They found a place they felt they belonged and put down roots. Perhaps they moved for work, or found a partner and moved to their ‘home’.

I grew up in Melbourne, which was great as I loved sport and music. However when I left school I started to work in the bush, and Melbourne and I drifted apart. Building a career outside of the city meant that Melbourne became where my family was from, rather than being my home.

I felt at ‘home’ in Central Australia, despite the fact that I was a ‘guest worker’ on Indigenous land. Traditional Owners held legal title to the land, and only those employed in particular jobs could reside there. I couldn’t buy a block and build a house even if I wanted to. Leaving my work meant leaving the area. Besides, by the time I decided to resign, major life changes meant it wasn’t feeling like home anymore.

I have lived in six places in three different states since leaving Central Australia. Everywhere I stopped always seemed temporary. When I applied to work at a horse property in South Australia the owner asked ‘So, you’ve never settled down?’ I took this to mean a physical location rather than the ‘found a partner and had kids’ definition of ‘settled down’. I answered no, that I hadn’t decided where I wanted to live yet. I didn’t know where home was.

My sister reckons I focus too much on what I will give up by choosing a particular life option, rather than what I will gain. A kind of major life decision FOMO. I think she has a point. I expect most people find ‘home’ organically – it’s not a conscious decision, but rather something that just happens.

There are definitely benefits in the freedom of a wandering life. Those who have chosen a settled existence often state that the grass looks greener over my side of the fence. However my midlife crisis has been underpinned by a feeling of being lost. Not having a home, or a base, or somewhere to return to, no doubt contributes to this.

Maybe, when my odyssey ends, I will find where ‘home’ is. Until then, wherever I lay my hat, that’s…well…where I am I guess.

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4 thoughts on “Home

  1. When you are ready to settle down you will know…. until then keep exploring, keep enjoying what life throw’s at you and keep smiling. Don’t let anyone tell you what you need to do, or how to do it, it’s your life and live it to the fullest. If you settle and you are not ready you will always wonder “what if….” and may end up questioning your decision. Life is too short, keep doing what makes you happy. There are enough unhappy people in the world, don’t add to the numbers. You will find where “home” is….. eventually ๐Ÿ˜

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