Around The World and Back Again

Getting back into this blogging thing is easier said than done, I’m finding. And it probably hasn’t helped that I’ve been away for the past three weeks on the other side of the world. Apologies for being late getting back to comments, too!

So, where have I been?

Back to my husband’s native Australia, to see family and friends we’ve not visited for seven years. It’s a trip that was a long time coming, house renovations and life getting in the way of previous plans to visit.

I confess, I was a little bit nervous about going back. Australia is a wonderful place, and there are a lot of people I love living there. But it’s a VERY LONG flight, and I’m not the biggest fan of flying. Plus, I found that, despite all the work I’ve done sorting myself out over the past few years, it turned out there was a bit of emotion to unpack about the idea of heading back to the place where I lived for seventeen years. As I said to friends when we were there, I have three passports and a lot of issues.

People often comment to me that I’ve lived such an interesting life, moving around the world, travelling and seeing different places. And I agree – I’ve been so fortunate to have lived in some wonderful parts of the world. But that has come at the price of roots, of continuity, of having a place that feels so familiar that, no matter where you are in the world, it feels like home. All the moving around I’ve done (24 different addresses, six different cities, three continents) has left me with a deep desire for a place that is mine, that won’t change and doesn’t move, where I know everyone and they know me. Returning to live in the UK seven years ago was full circle for me, both physically and metaphorically, as it’s where I was born, and where I feel most at home. Living in Australia was wonderful, definitely, but it was also tough, as I was (literally) half a world away from many of the people I loved most. Going back there brought with it a whole host of emotions and I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn’t going to stay there, that I was coming back.

That sounds awful, doesn’t it? As though I hated the place so much I couldn’t bear to stay there. This is not the case at all. If you’ve been to Australia you’ll know how beautiful it is, how blue the water, how bright the sky. Some of my best friends in the world live there, as well as family. It’s a country I truly love.

So, once I’d worked through all of that, I was able to face the flight with less stress and, when we finally touched down in Melbourne, I could enjoy the city for how wonderful it is. Our first day was a perfect Melbourne day – seeing family, walking through the Botanic Gardens to the National Gallery of Victoria to have lunch and see the Escher exhibition (quite a mind-blowing experience with jetlag), then dinner that evening with dear friends. And so the days unfolded, one beautiful experience after another, but each of them then tempered with goodbyes. And that, perhaps, is the key to my struggle. The endless round of goodbyes.

Well! This started out as a post to say hey, I’m back from my trip, but it’s turned into something quite different. As you can see from the photos, I had a fantastic trip in a wonderful part of the world. However, I’m glad to be back home again now (and I will be getting to comments, too!).

If you’re in the UK, here’s wishing you all a lovely holiday weekend. Also, May the Fourth be with you 😉 (Yeah, I said it.)

xx

Wednesday Wander – Arthur’s Seat, Australia

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Arthur’s Seat is the promontory to the right of the picture. The car ferry in the foreground runs between Sorrento and Queenscliffe, a journey of about forty-five minutes across the Heads, or several hours if you were to drive around the bay.

Urf, it’s another hot night in the UK. Thunderstorms are on their way and I for one cannot wait. There’s nothing like the refreshing change, the ozone in the air, the fury of the elements – at least while I’m indoors ;-). When the weather is humid like this it reminds me of Australia, of several days in a row where the air would lie hot and heavy, the temperature above 30 degrees before 9am. Then the cool change would come, sometimes with thunder, sometimes just a fresh breeze, the temperature dropping literally in minutes.

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Looking back along the bay towards Melbourne. You can just glimpse the towers of Melbourne at the extreme left of the horizon, giving you an idea of the vastness of the bay.

Before we came to the UK (or returned, in my case), we lived on the Mornington Peninsula, just outside Melbourne. It was a beautiful place to live – we were there for seven years, and I just loved it. There are several tall promontories overlooking Port Phillip Bay – Mt Martha, Mt Eliza and Arthur’s Seat, named for the original in Edinburgh. Arthur’s Seat is the highest of the three and the views from the top are spectacular.

Looking towards the entrance to the bay.
Looking towards the entrance to the bay.

In the photo above you can see the small towns strung along the curve of the bay – Dromana, Tootgarook, Rosebud, Rye, Blairgowrie, Sorrento, and the millionaires playground of Portsea. We lived in St Andrews Beach, on the ocean side of the Peninsula, where the land starts to curve towards the head. We were only a few minutes walk from the beach, waves pounding just beyond the dunes – I still miss hearing them at night.

From the top of Arthur’s Seat, the land stretches back in a ridge, the rich soil home to farms and vineyards, lush eucalypt forests and small towns. It is glorious.In fact, I think I’ll be wandering to this part of the world again, both in real life and on this blog. It’s a wonderful place to be.

Thanks for coming on another Wednesday Wander with me – see you next time 🙂

Wednesday Wander – London Bridge, Portsea

London Bridge

No, it’s not the London Bridge you might be thinking of. This is a rock formation called London Bridge, at Portsea back beach just outside Melbourne, Australia. There used to be another arch of rock stretching into the ocean, hence the name, but it collapsed quite suddenly, leaving only two remaining.

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It’s a wonderful place to look for sea glass and shells, or mermaid jewels, as we used to call them. The vast rock pool next to it is calm and warm, perfect for days when the surf is too rough or the swimmers too small. The surf pounds hard on the southern Australian coast, the water much colder than you would think, and it shapes the rocks into towers and caverns and sculptures, magical to explore.

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For quite a few years this was my back yard, the beach just a short walk from home, cool sea mists wreathing the ti-tree and moonah. I miss the sound of waves at night, the smell of salt in the air. And so this week I chose to wander back there again – thanks for coming along with me.