A house, A holiday, A home.

For ten years G and I travelled the world with a company I often refer to as the Big Blue. It was the perfect fit, not just for G but also for me. I loved the thrill of not knowing where we were going next or how long we’d be sticking around for. The Big Blue is an enormous company which offers its international employees a chance to see the world while they learn about the business. If you’re willing to be flexible and open to an adventure, you can find yourself moving country at about the same speed that it takes to master the short cut to that off the beaten path, hidden gem of a beach you’ve heard about from a local.

But after ten years of constant travel, and giving birth to four children in four different countries, G and I both began to think more about having a little more control over our moves. I dreamt of having our own place in Australia, I was itching for something that felt a little permanent in a constantly changing world. When G considered taking a role in Qatar I had one provision, we needed a home to go to on holidays. For ten years I’d camped at my parents, slept on friends floors and paid exorbitant rates for serviced apartments, but they weren’t my biggest gripes. I wanted the little travellers to have a permanent wall to measure their heights as they grew, a neighborhood they felt they had some ownership in. In my mind it was a way of getting the best of both worlds, while they could have the travel and an international outlook on life, I felt they needed a base. I think we all need a base.

More importantly though, we needed an escape route. For ten years there had been a little voice in the back of my mind. The what if. What if one of us needed emergency care and we had to fly home. Where would we go? What if G lost his job? Where would we go? What if something terrible happened and I had to be home for a month. Where would we go?

So, after ten years of dreaming of arriving in Australia and being able to go to our own home, we did it. We bought the beach house. I think often because I call it the beach house people picture some sort of on the beach, Cape Cod affair. It’s not. It’s a three bedroom, three streets back from the beach, self contained half house – and I love every inch of it. We have bikes in the shed, a basketball hoop, wine in the cupboard, and trinkets from our travels. The moment I walk in it feels like I’ve arrived home, and when it comes time to leave and everyone piles into the car with suitcases loaded and shells from the beach in their pockets, I’m always the last one there. Under the guise of setting the alarm I stand and take one last lingering look around the house, I whisper thank you, think of the holiday just gone, the memories, and the new pencil marks up on the children’s wall registering what we already know, they’re bigger, older, growing up.

Last night our second little traveller sat with a pencil in her hand, and her nose buried in an exercise book, she was writing furiously, line after line.

“We’re doing poetry at school, do you want to hear some?” she asked.

She’d written a fabulous poem about winter, a poem for G, and then she had a poem about home.

I wondered where home would be. Here, where we play sport, go to school and live in our day to day world? Or there, where we have our holidays, visit with old friends and spend time with family.

Home: by Annie

The sweet smell of fresh air

I can hear the waves

Crash crash crash as they build up again

I creep down my bunk bed

And get ready for the beach

And then we’re there

I run into the water faster than a lifeguard trying to save someone

It feels good to be home

Inside that poem was everything I’d hoped for when we bought the beach house . To be able to provide a sense of home. An indescribable feeling, a smell which provokes emotion, moments in time which combine together to make something more than a house or a holiday.

They make a home.

  • KJ

    We also have a beach house. People do think we are talking a Cape Cod mansion, but in reality it’s a boxy 4 bedroom timber house furnished largely from a friend’s parents storage locker and with any other bits donated through the years. We bought it in the late-90′s for the astonishing sum of $78k AUD. Best timing ever!

    And we love it.

    We call the beach house “More home”.

    If the expat thing all turns to hell or something unmentionable happens we can head there and everything will automatically feel better. x

    • http://shamozal.blogspot.com Kirsty Rice 4kids20suitcases

      I wish we would have bought our place in the late 90′s. I’m not sure what we would have bought it with though :-) Your place sounds fantastic, and yep, if anything goes wrong you have a safe place to fall until you work out what’s next.

  • Alli @ ducks on the dam

    Awwwwwws

  • http://expatwithkidsinparis.blogspot.fr/ Expat with Kids

    The truth is the kids feel what you feel. It somehow trickles down intrinsically without really realizing it. Then one day it hits you…sometimes in the form of a poem!

    • http://shamozal.blogspot.com Kirsty Rice 4kids20suitcases

      Oh so true! xxx

  • Brenda

    Goosebumps!

  • http://tidethatleft.blogspot.co.uk/ Amy @ the tide that left

    That gave me a little tear.

  • http://www.dazeofmylife.com Corinne

    We still have our old home in Sydney although we’ll never live in it again. We’re currently looking for our own version of the beach house.

  • Liz Killingbeck

    Beautiful words… The second little traveller takes after her mum I think :)

  • Bernadette

    We also think the same as you and have bought a little beach shack back in oz. Small and cozy a place to call home. Really wanted our son to have his own spot in Australia as we left when he was 6 months old. Love the poem.

  • Cinstanbul

    We have one – but it’s a desert house in Arizona. It’s my hell-in-a-handbasket retreat please just let me smell orange trees blossoming in March and rain on creosote bushes and experience some civil driving and get all the Mexican food I miss all year long. . . And even if it’s 115 in the shade in July, it’s still home, with all the wealth of things to do that we don’t have easy access to abroad. I hope it does trickle down, because I bust my tail making sure they get a mix of fun activities and pure down time there. What a lovely poem.

  • Catherine Sheffield

    Lovely post – I think everyone wants a home base really.
    I was wondering – I’m a teacher, and we study poetry every year, if I could have Annie’s permission to use her poem as an example for my students?
    It’s a brilliant poem, and exactly the sort of thing I’d like my kids to be writing!!