When I first moved to Australia from the U.S., I was much more of a free spirit than I am now. I was a flight attendant for T.W.A. for three years before landing in Oz and I didn’t even quit the job; I just took a leave of absence in case I wanted to move back “home”.
I would say that I didn’t have a sense of place, not even my birthplace, Chicago. I’d lived in N.Y., several suburbs in L.A., and Tucson, Arizona. When I washed up on the shores of Oz, I lived in a succession of Sydney suburbs – Paddington, Darling Point, Bellevue Hill, Bondi, Bronte, Wollstonecraft, Redfern, Mosman, Cremorne, Crows Nest, Longueville, Naremburn, North Balgowlah – my head spins to think of it.
Everywhere I went I would set up little gardens or cultivate potted plants in a feeble effort to ground myself. (I even won a prize from North Sydney Council for a balcony garden I made when I lived in our Crows Nest flat.)
For a long time I felt a kind of restlessness that came perhaps from having one foot in N. America and one in Australia. Eventually, I knew it was time to settle down.
We bought our Mitchells Island property in 2004, shared among three couples. Even then, we said we’ll just put our toe in the water and see if it’s a suitable place to build a house. What criterion we were going to use to sort that question, I have no idea. We just kept trekking up the Pacific Highway, a four hour drive, monthly, bi-monthly, holidays. We had to “tame” our four acres, chopping down the bad flora and planting better. As we made our mark on the land, I started to feel a find of affection for this place, so that when I was in Sydney, I felt like I was leaning in a northerly direction, like a plant seeking sunlight.
Now, we are here. Roots are going down. Love rising to the heart centre. I’ve made my cactus garden. It’s beautiful and reminds me of Arizona:
What’s true is that my yoga mat has always been a sort of home, too. And, it’s also true there’s no place like home!