Life back in Sydney — What it’s like being home after 7 years abroad
“So, what is it like being back after travelling the world for 2 years”?
This was the most frequently asked question since we’ve been back in Australia for the past 8 weeks. For everyone that hasn’t had the chance to ask, or is simply just wondering… The answer is, it’s great, it’s exciting, it’s scary, it’s hot, it’s expensive, but it’s home.
Our Arrival Back Home In Sydney
Our plane landed at Sydney International Airport on December 22nd after 630 days of mind-blowing adventures. It had been quite some time since we were last in Australia and it felt surreal to be on our home soil. I was both excited (mainly to eat a sausage roll) and nervous for how we would “adapt”.
How would we adjust to staying in the same country, the same bed, the same neighbourhood for more than a few weeks? Without the need to figure out our next means of transport or hotel room? One thing I did know for sure, it was time to unpack, and unpack properly!
Greeting my mum at the airport after 21 months apart was pure bliss. I was unaware if the tears would show or if I would be able to contain myself but seriously who was I kidding… the second I spotted her happy, joyous face waving at me above everyone else in the arrival hall, they began. You don’t realise how much you miss someone until they’re right beside you again.
Leaving the airport, It didn’t take long to feel as though we never left.
Colourful and familiar money graced our wallets. That all too Australian look was ever-present (board shorts, thongs/flip flops and tank tops). Slang words were brought to the surface including Brekky (instead of breakfast) on the Hungry Jacks billboard and the all too familiar street signs were easy to pronounce.
We drove through our old stomping grounds… the grounds that we were born and raised on. We noticed the same small local businesses still up and running and the clean air filled our noses, a slight difference from our previous destination… India.
Thank you Hungry Jacks for reminding me where I was… Ahh “brekky”!
Christmas with Family
Apart from being in Australia for the summer, the sole purpose of returning home this year was to spend Christmas with our families. In the 7 or so years that we’ve been away (5 of which were living in NYC), this was only the 2nd time we were home for Christmas. As you can imagine, both of our families were stoked with our arrival, as we were to be here. It was well overdue.
We both celebrated Christmas over large feasts, many stories, a few tears of joy and a whole lot of love. Christmas is one of the best times of the year and to be here with our families was the best gift of all.
To ring in the New Year, we spent the week in Lake Macquarie with my family in a rented beautiful house surrounded by a lake, a swimming pool, a lot of Aussie BBQ’s, glow sticks and delicious summery cocktails. Quality time with your family is so priceless and I feel so blessed to have such a fun, supportive one by my side.
So, What is it Really Like to be Home After 2 Years of Travel?
Apart from realising the median house price is a mere one million dollars (literally!) and almost melting away in the hottest summer on record, we thoroughly enjoyed the beauty of the crystal clean beaches, seeing family every day, cuddling my nieces and nephews, signing up to a gym, having a large kitchen to cook in, a wardrobe to hang clothes in, a grocery store with all our old time favourites to shop at (I love grocery stores!) and of course the reunions with many friends. However, with all the great, did come some confusion.
On one hand, being home brought me copious amounts of joy to be surrounded by all the familiarity that home is, by my family & friends but on the other hand, it is somewhat overwhelming how little has changed.
Perhaps it’s because I’ve changed, and I’m not the girl that left Australia 8 years ago or maybe it’s because I realise so much of my heart is scattered around this world and I feel as though I’m yet to ‘belong’ somewhere. It is possible that once Jacob and I move back to Australia and find our own “home” to set up, it will all fall into place and that slight feeling of being “lost” will disappear.
Until then, the hugs have been had, the reunions are relatively over, the stories have been told and everyone else is getting on with their lives, whilst we wait for the day to depart again.
The travel bug is still biting…
What Travel Has Taught Me
I touched on the subject in a previous post, Life on the Road, but after spending a few months at home, I can only reiterate what travel has taught me.
It’s taught me to be patient, not everyone has the same way of doing things. It has taught me to respect others and be kind to everyone, you never know what that person is going through. It has taught me that a smile or even the touch of a hand can go a long way in someone else’s life. It’s taught me to respect, understand and appreciate other beliefs and cultures. It has taught me that money doesn’t and won’t always buy happiness but most importantly, being away from Australia, it has taught me just how lucky we are to live in city that we do.
A Whole New Appreciation of Home
Australia is beautiful. This is no secret. Everyone always said to me “why would you ever leave Australia!” and I was always quick to respond “It’s home, I’ve been here my whole life, it’s not that exciting anymore” but let me tell you, after visiting over 54+ countries and over 100 different cities, I have a whole new appreciation for the country I call home.
The beaches are to die for, the food is healthy, clean and well produced, the streets are clean, the people are welcoming and friendly, the health care system is ranked the #7th best in the world, I can leave my belongings on the beach and not have to worry that they won’t be there when we get back (this is big guys, this is big!), I can drink from the tap, the air is clean, the rules are followed and you can trust authority. This is a lot to be grateful for.
Unfortunately, too many countries around this world have dishonest authority figures and this was one of the only things that used to frighten me when we were on the road. Being home in Australia, It’s reassuring to know that when you’re in trouble you can trust and look for someone in charge. Unfortunately, not everyone has that and to me, that’s very unfortunate.
Although we’re from Australia, we’ve honestly barely scratched the surface of the country! During the few months we were here, we visited many old and new beaches, took walks along the harbour, soaked up the sun on many outdoor picnics, enjoyed countless dinners at friends homes, reminisced over catch ups, travelled south to climb Mt Kosciuszko in gale force winds and camped at Hyams Beach, Jervis Bay — a beach with the world’s whitest sand!
At times, I’ve felt like a tourist who’s visiting Australia for the first time and this makes it all the more exciting to return here for good.
Unfortunately, with all of this, we couldn’t help but notice our wallets taking a serious beating. Sydney is SO expensive! $5 coffees? $24 for avocado toast? An average of $1 million to buy an apartment… Yikes, I best get back to work!
So Why Leave Again?
This may leave you with the question… “if being home is so great, why are we leaving again after only 3 months? “ Whilst we do love being home, there’s still some unfinished business out there for us, there are cities that need to be discovered, animals that need to be photographed, gorillas that need to seen, beaches we’re yet to swim in, old friends to revisit and most importantly, the consumption of all the foods, primarily, street food. Boy have we missed the $2 dinners…
Sydney will always be our home and when the time comes to finally “settle down”, we couldn’t be happier to do so in one of the most beautiful cities and undoubtedly countries in the world, but for now…Asia, Africa and North America are calling our name.
Thanks again for following us over the last 2 years! We hope to hear from many more of you during our upcoming travels!
Married days survived: 697