“Going home soon mate? Bar’s gotta be closed up in ten…” the security staff politely enquired, glancing at his watch as if to convince me he wasn’t lying. I’d been sitting there writing this post for a couple hours, savouring some of the local barley juice.
As human beings, the definition of ‘home’ must extend further than physical and physiological comforts. We’re emotionally and mentally far more complicated than our distant cousins across the biosphere. So it’s a bit more than an address when one discusses home. With or without one’s knowledge, a person’s ‘home’ encompasses mental and emotional (some might add spiritual, but not me) support structures also.
I’ve lived an increasingly semi-nomadic life over the last 10 years… more or less; that’s especially true of the last 3 years. No single place has ever quite felt like home. I’ve forced myself to become comfortable with this fact. I convinced myself “Home is where I lay my head at night”. And it worked quite well.
A very wise man once told me “Home is where you have the most and closest friends”, over breakfast; I won’t name drop, but he did the haka quite often! I barely recall the rest of our conversation because of how much I dwelled on that statement. It worked quite well too.
They’re true, I guess. It’s hard to disagree with those definitions.
Over the past 84 days, over around 25,000 kilometres, I’ve slept at hotel rooms, houses, spare beds, spare rooms, couches, living room floors, hostels, caravan parks, camping spots, gravel piles, shipping containers, park benches, roadside ditches, bus stops, beaches, wet mud mixed with cow shit…
I’ve been exhausted enough to not complain when I was far from a comfortable environment.
Everywhere I’ve awoken, I’ve looked forward to the day that is to come. I’ve physically, physiologically and mentally recovered after my usual five to six hour sleep. And during the daytimes, I’ve kept going to the next spot I’d call home that night.
But none of those places were home.
I never missed the place I was the night before in the morning. To a gradually increasing extent over the last 10 years, I never have.
I’m in Coff’s Harbour now. Between Sydney and here, I jumped off the beaten path and let the road dictate the experience and thought process that results from it.
Tonight I’ll keep myself hidden because the local council isn’t a fan of free camping. A winning contender for a place to sleep seems to be a WW2 bunker atop a hill. There must’ve been a time when someone called that home.
Never in my life have I looked forward to, and longed to be at a physical place where I foresee emotional (and dare I say spiritual) needs being amply met. Until now.
“Yeah, just give me five. I’m writing a blog post. Then I’ll go home”.
I told my family I’d be home for Christmas. I promised them that.
Tomorrow, I’ll be home.