Australia: My Island Home

About ten years ago my beautiful Grandad  – a great world traveller back in the day – said to me that no matter how much he loved to travel, he always felt a sense of relief and happiness when he finally returned home again.


As his plane descended back into Perth in Western Australia, he would peer down and see the kangaroo symbol on tails of all the Qantas jets lined up on the tarmac, and he would feel happy to be coming home.


Anyone who has been abroad for a while knows that coming home after travel is not without its challenges. I had just returned from three years of living and working overseas and he turned to me and asked if I felt the same way about coming home.


It felt incredibly un-Australian to say it, but at the time I had to say no.



Perth city from Lake Monger

Perth city from Lake Monger



I didn’t elaborate and although he never said it, I think my Grandad was disappointed that I didn’t feel more of an attachment to our country.


In complete contrast to him, I would always feel a sense of sadness and even anxiety when I was coming home after travel. That descent back into Perth symbolised the end of my adventure and the beginnings of being thrust  ‘back to reality’.


I wish my grandfather were still around so I could tell him that now I totally understand what he meant.



Balingup Hills, Western Australia

Balingup Hills, in the south west of Western Australia


Boranup Beach, Western Australia

Boranup Beach, Western Australia


* * * * * *


Your perspective changes so much from your mid-twenties to your mid-thirties, and no doubt it continues to change.


When I got on that plane back in 2000 and embarked on my first round-world trip, I had no idea that I would be gone for over three years or that travel would come to play such a huge part in my life.


At that time, all I wanted was to be somewhere else. And when I returned after three years it took me a really long time to adjust to being back in Australia.



Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, Western Australia

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, Western Australia



Beach Western Australia



Australia is now one of the most expensive countries to live in the world. The cost of living is exorbitant. Which means it is more difficult for me to save to travel than ever before.


But I don’t care.

I love it here.


I love the smell of the Australian bush. I love bush barbeques and camping. I love our incredible coastline and white, sandy beaches. I love the vastness of it all.


I love that you can circumnavigate this beautiful island and never be too far from a beach.



Wattle in Spring in John Forrest National Park, Western Australia

Gorgeous yellow wattle in Spring in John Forrest National Park, Western Australia



Prawns on the barbie

Summer nights: prawns on the barbie



But mostly I love it because even when I am on the other side of the world – photographing polar bears in the Arctic, or driving through the wilds of Iceland, or wine tasting in Tuscany – this oddly shaped island Down Under is, and always will be, my home.



West Australia



And although I hold no affectionate feelings whatsoever for Qantas (quite the opposite, in fact), now I see the kangaroo symbol on the tail of those jets when I descend into Perth, and I smile. And I always think of my Grandad.



Rooftop Movies: Perth CBD

Rooftop Movies: Perth CBD



Having said that, I am literally counting the days until I get over to Europe again and see all my wonderful friends! I absolutely cannot wait to be on the road again!


But these days regardless of how much of my time I choose spend overseas, or how much I love to travel, or how amazing my trip has been….it is always so good to be home.



jumping on the beach at sunset



Do you have a strong attachment to the country where you were born?

Do you still consider it ‘home’ regardless of where you are travelling or living?



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Quiet Wanderings

Comments (4)
  • Avatar

    David May 20 2013 - 1:21 pm Reply

    Peter Allen said it all really, didn’t he?

  • Avatar

    budget jan May 22 2013 - 10:54 am Reply

    Landing back in Aus after a prolonged trip is sweet. We notice the strange accents (do we really sound like that too? Yes we do!), the smells, the pies, the fantastic beaches, the bright blue of the sky and the need to wear sunglasses again!
    budget jan recently posted..Florence Bay on Magnetic IslandMy Profile

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      Quiet Wanderings Jun 16 2013 - 9:00 pm Reply

      Oh the accents! Yes, we do really sound like that. It’s the wonderful smell of the Australian bush that pulls at my heartstrings. Love it!

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