A homesickness for a place you can never return to, a place which maybe never was; the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost places on your past.
It’s funny the impact a handful of words can have sometimes, isn’t it? The immediate, punch to the gut, “this is it” feeling, hitting you with an overwhelming sense of relief and, at the same time, sadness.
Relief that you’re not the only one.
Sadness that you’re not the only one.
Relief that your heart is still searching for its home.
Sadness that your heart is still searching for its home.
It goes on.
Because, the thing is, I yearn for not just one place. I yearn for two. Soon I will yearn for three. Yet none of them are my true home. None do I quite “fit”. There’s pieces missing. Some bigger than others.
My 100mile an hour thoughts scatter between questioning why I am leaving a place (or why I do not return to a place) and an indescribable hope that there is something more, somewhere more. Something undiscovered where I, and my mixture of simple and complex longings, will find my anchor.
Maybe I live in an unrealistic world: a world where I went the best of all my “places”. Where the bits that make each one home combine to create an idyllic existence.
The comfort of family in Southampton. The mornings spent curled up on the sofa with a cup of coffee in my favourite Beauty and the Beast mug, gossiping with my Dad. A pint down the local pub with my oldest friends. Familiarity. Ease of living. A day in the park with my cousin’s boys, totally overjoyed to be in the presence of such love. Doing a crossword with my Gran. Drinking a glass of red with my Granddad.
Cardiff, and its vibrancy. A non stop social life. A theatre I called my home. Friends that made me laugh until I cried. Parties. Carefree. Being part of a community. The prospect of a thriving professional future. Actually being someone.
The unimaginable beauty of Florence. The smell of coffee on a Sunday morning. The electricity pulsing through your body as a new plate of food is brought to you in your favourite restaurant. Art. Culture. Architecture. A new family. A new sense of self.
Yet… when I return to Southampton, I am out of my depth. I do not feel like I belong; like there’s a conversation going on and I’ve missed the beginning. I cling to my family but, other than that, I am a fish out of water.
Cardiff. Cardiff I cannot even return to. Memories that our tinged with sadness, and a deep feeling that some things should be left in the past. But oh how I miss it. It’s the shackles holding me back.
And bella Firenze. In one month I will leave you. One month. Right now, I cannot see why. As I sit at my desk peering through my wall of windows into the exquisite Boboli Gardens, the blinding Tuscan sun lighting everything up in a myriad of colours, I struggle to understand why my heart is pulling me away. I will never find beauty like this. No place will ever compare.
Still something inside of me tells me to keep moving. To keep exploring. To keep discovering.
In one month I will arrive back in England. I will return to Southampton for the first time in 9 months. In six weeks I will board a plane to Sydney, and maybe add another home to this list. Concrete or emotional. Perhaps both.
I don’t know. But I do know I need to find out.