6 signs my heart was telling me to come home to Hobart, by Russell Kelly
Home can be many things, not just a house, or a street. Searching for a home takes an enormous amount of time. In Tasmania the average person moves every five to seven years. A lot of money gets spent in hardware stores as people build houses, or renovate existing ones. And moving is one of the most stressful things anyone can do.
Is the concept of home contained only in the physical house? The place the house sits upon? Or is it in something more unconventional, like a possession or a person? For some people home is being part of a family, or a tribe, or a shared story. It can be the sense of possession of the land itself. It can be this city called Hobart, this island named Tasmania. It can be the sight of Kunanyi, Mt Wellington, out the window or at the end of the street. It can be a promise made and kept. It’s different for each person, for each life and each experience.
I sometimes wonder how little physical possessions are needed to still have a sense of home?
If the feeling of home is located ‘outside’, then it can be lost. If it’s only ever ‘inside’ then it is always available, no matter how inhospitable circumstances get. No matter how much is let go, or lost, or taken away, it is still possible to have a sense of home, a sense of belonging. That I love, and I’m loved back.
The pace and fragmentation of modern life can be a great disconnector. Modern life is about institutions like school and work. It is about gaining qualifications, work experiences and ‘stuff’. It’s easy to get caught in ego-overdrive and lose sight of what’s simple.
So how do you recognise your own personal home? How do you keep it once you have it?
Here are the top six signs my heart told me it was time to go home:
I wanted to Live Simply – There has to be some meaning to the daily grind of getting to work and getting back again. It’s such a complicated exercise, requiring a precise choreography. At some point I realised I wanted to have a simpler life than the one I had on the mainland.
I wanted to feel more connected to the Earth – and where I was living I realised I did not feel connected with the land, or feel like the land was something I had a right to care about.
I wanted to share my peace – Yet I realised in a foreign city I had shrunk my understanding of ‘peace’ to be a personal peace, an isolated peace. I wanted to expand and include those around me.
I wanted to be part of a community – I felt like a perpetual visitor, and observer of the lives of others. Humans are gregarious, social creatures, being connected and caring for others is
wholesome and uplifting.
wholesome and uplifting.
Stuff was overwhelming – experiencing an endless cycle of acquiring ‘stuff’ seemed to be going nowhere. I was racking up debt with no direction (and yes there is a tomorrow, and I already owed money to it.)
I wanted to be more creative – and my creativity felt like it had the hand-brake on, as I became increasingly disconnected from place, and from my own inspiration.
I’d been travelling for many years, more than my passport says. One day I realised I was homeless. Again.
So I knew it was time to come back to Hobart. Like a fish swimming up river, like a muttonbird returning, I came back, to rediscover what it means to belong to the Earth, and not the other way around. It was about having the wisdom to accept when I was seeing things for the last time, and to rejoice at seeing things for the first. Back in Hobart now for three years I am loving it. This place is mine. It owns me. And like the universe, it expresses itself through me.
What does home mean to you?
Today’s blog post has been written by guest blogger, Russell Kelly. Russell is a Hobart writer who has returned after 11 years on the mainland.