There’s something so bitter-sweet about coming home to the city you grew up in, whether you’ve been away for months on end, or even just at the end of a long, hard week. Except maybe if you still live in the city you grew up in of course, in which case – what are you doing with your life? JOKING, come back…
I spent most of my teenage years to early twenties dying to get out of where I grew up. I don’t know why, there was nothing at all wrong with the place or the people in it, I just knew that there was so much more out there in the world to discover, and that I was wasting time in a tiny Welsh bubble. I had this big notion that I would go away to a far-flung university and that would be my out, I’d never go back. But it didn’t work out like that, and after uni, three years of independence and meeting tonnes of amazing new people (as well as racking up a chunk of debt and a semi-alcohol problem), I was packed and headed back to the family home – or rather, the wooden summer house at the top of the garden. Without wanting to sound extremely ungrateful to my family for actually taking me back, it was a little demoralising. You always go back with good intentions, but end up falling into the same moody teenager ways, or putting yourself down for winding up exactly where you said you wouldn’t. I found myself stuck in a slump of wanting to get the hell out of there as quickly as possible, even though I had no real reason for hating it, which pretty much made me a confused, miserable little biatch. Cracking company round the house.
Long story short, a year and a half later I was out of there, headed for Boringstoke, then London, and eventually packing that in to travel. But you’ve heard all that, so moving swiftly on! After a prolonged time apart recently, and spending my first Christmas away from home EVER, I started to feel the tendrils of homesickness creeping in. I suppose you can guess from the above that I never get homesick, so this was pretty serious; and soon enough I was hot off a plane and reunited with my merry mate Mr. Megabus, chugging up the M4 towards that sacred Severn crossing.
Maybe it was the extra time away, or maybe those feelings everyone’s been harping about are finally starting to kick in with old age, but it was the first real time I’ve felt like I was properly coming home, and enjoying it. Aside from a city facelift, I found comfort in that everything was exactly the same as it had been for eighteen years, rather than hating the same surroundings passing by. I enjoyed visiting the same places I had for all my life, even the park next to my house which I know like the back of my hand. I wholeheartedly missed my family and friends and all the memories we had shared in that small city, even though many of them have now moved on to build their new memories elsewhere. For the first time, I missed being there and being part of their everyday lives, actually finding myself reluctant to leave.
Being there made me realise I missed the small things that I’d always taken for granted, like hanging out with my sisters in front of the telly, or being reunited with my record collection, or going out for lunch with my mum, or getting too drunk and making a total and utter tit out of myself in front of the guy I’d been crushin’ on since school with one of my oldest friends. I know that if these things were a daily occurrence, I’d probably eventually start craving distance and somewhere new again – espesh that last one, because I really don’t need to be any more cringe than I already am, but there was something that just felt special about those moments this time around. Something different.
Something that felt more like coming home than ever before.
Maybe it was all that Christmas Bublé, but as I made my way back across the frosty bridge at silly AM headed for London, I felt like something had finally clicked into place for me. It took 25 years and a handful of countries, but I’ve finally learnt to appreciate the power of coming home.