Home: an update, June 2013, The Hague, by Sophie Rigney


What home means to me

Somehow – I don’t know how – I seem to have spliced these homes together. The space between them used to feel so large. The longing seemed so immeasurable. I didn’t know how to navigate my way in the space between these lives; how to negotiate in the space of this longing. But now, somehow, it feels like I can move easily between the three places I’ve built my three lives.

There is the big city on the big island, which is where I live now: a place that forces me to think big, and to be bold and adventurous. Then there is the town in Holland I spent nearly three years, and to where I now return fairly frequently, tapping myself back into the career and the life I built there. This place gathered me in, in a time of acute grief and shock; and at the same time I had a career I could never have hoped for. It was a place of dreams made real, and nightmares ignored.

And of course, then there is the small town on the little island. Sometimes I still physically ache for Tasmania. I want my feet back on a Tasmanian beach, and I want to stare out into the ocean. I grew up in Hobart’s Northern suburbs, and I want to be back on those streets again, talking to people. Back on the big island, I’ve sat awake at night, pouring myself over the latest Tasmanian Government reports, hungry for every detail. I have cried on the tarmac of the Hobart airport more times than is decorous to admit.

Yet as deep as my love for Tasmania is – as strong as my desire is – I need to live away right now. The challenges of the big island are shaping me. I want these skills, this knowledge, this freedom, this ability to just be myself. I want to gather all this up. And eventually I want to bring it back to Tasmania. Tasmania makes me want to be the best person I can be; right now, that involves living elsewhere. This is not true for everyone, but it is my story at this point. Every time I hear people talk about “why young people leave Tasmania” or “why anyone would live anywhere else”, I want to bang my head in frustration. These questions miss both the intricacy and the possibility of Tasmanians away. People leave for complex reasons. People stay away for complex reasons. These can include grief and love and ambition and sacrifice and devotion. Yet sometimes you can show your love to a place by never leaving it, even when you live elsewhere.

Hobart is home. It will always be home. It just happens that I have two other homes, as well: two places that hold me, and make me happy. One day I will be ready to move back to Tasmania, full-heartedly and with arms open wide. Until then, I still want to be involved; want to help shape this place in any way I can. I am not prepared to turn my back. And that, I think, is what a sense of home really is.

What does home mean to you?
Sophie Rigney is a Melbourne-based Tasmanian. Raised in Hobart, Sophie lived in The Hague for three years, prior to commencing a PhD at the Melbourne Law School in 2012. Hobart is still the place her heart nests in; and Sophie is looking forward to the day she will return home “for good”. This is part 2 of What home means to me, if you want to read part 1, check out Home.If you want to read more about what home means, why don’t you check out:
Where my family is here
Where I decide to love
Or check out where this all started with Russell Kelly’s Going Home: 6 signs my heart was telling me to come home to Hobart .

Many thanks Sophie for a beautiful piece. If you’d like to write a piece of 500 words or less on what home means to you, please email us here. We’d love to hear from you.

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