I often read a most pertinent quote on the social networks. I write it down in my notebook, stick it on the back of my bedroom door and share it with friends who’ll appreciate it: “You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place”. Author Miriam Adeney certainly strikes a chord with me; her words perfectly sum up what I have been thinking so much about of late.
People often talk about how the small the world is. And it is, in some ways, like how you bump into an old childhood friend on a random street in another country thousands of kilometres away or meet a stranger on the bus who happens to live next door to your best friend from university. It’s small in that if you have the funds, you can travel it and still be in touch with your closest family and friends.
But in other ways, when you live abroad, the world is far too big. It’s too big to fly home for two days for a wedding or a funeral (and generally too expensive). It’s too big to visit the fantastic friends you’ve made whenever you feel like it because they live in Scotland and Australia and Mexico and India. It’s huge culturally, politically and religiously as well as geographically. This world is diverse and restrictive and welcoming and cruel all at the same time.
So, why do you go away? “So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving,” said the acclaimed British author, Terry Pratchett. Home, South Africa, is the one place where your passport is accepted without dread and the place that you compare every other destination to. So travel, travel, live abroad and travel some more. No matter where you go or where you live, it will always be the place you started. It’ll always be home.