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.