The more time you spend in one place, the more passionate your opinion on it becomes.
Every traveller seems to have a strong opinion on their hometown, myself included. I’ve discovered that I have a serious love/hate relationship with the place I spent 22 years of my life.
The past 2 months have seen me temporarily residing back in Tasmania. After nearly 4 years of living away, I’ve been asking myself how I really feel about it now – did absence make the heart grow fonder? Do I want to move back permanently? Or am I itching to get the hell out of here?
Hobart was my hometown up until 2011, when I was presented with the opportunity to move interstate. I jumped at the chance! A change of scenery was just what I needed – Tasmania had been fairly good to me, but I was more than ready to try out something new.
My boyfriend and I moved into an apartment in Newcastle, then a year and a half later we decided to hit up Sydney, where there were better job opportunities and the chance to further immerse ourselves in the hipster lifestyle.
The past 4 years have seen us spend numerous weekends in Tasmania, where I was able to show Robert (now my husband, you can read our story here!) what my prior life in the state was like.
And now we’ve decided to move back temporarily, crashing at my old haunt (in other words, my parents place) to save a few dollars on rent before we make our big move to North America.
The hate relationship
There are a lot of things I dislike about living in Tasmania, though I’ll admit I started writing this post after some frustration with living here! My apologies if I sound like a grumpy old man.
After 2 years in Sydney (which had an abundance of trains, trams, and buses to choose from), living in a city with basically non-existent public transport can make me feel as though I’m in a jail cell.
Giving up car ownership was one of the best things I’ve ever done, so having to get into the car to get to the nearest grocery store is a huge freaking deal for me. It also means I don’t get accidental exercise like I used to when I walked to get food, or to the train station, or to get coffee.
Everything here seems to move at a glacial pace. Ordering food takes 30 minutes instead of 10. People walk at a speed comparable to that of a tortoise, which is infuriating for someone who has mastered the art of people dodging on the sidewalk.
And there are so many old people. Seriously, it’s like the entire state is an aged care facility. People in my generation often choose to move on to bigger cities like Melbourne or Sydney, where you can actually land a better job than checkout chick at the local takeout joint. There’s not much for the young people here. It’s sad, but this is the reality.
The love relationship
Yes, there are times when I feel as though living in Tasmania is as exciting as living in a black hole, but I still love it for a lot of reasons.
You can drive for 30 minutes in any direction and have your pick of mind-blowing scenery. There are snow-capped mountains to climb, empty beaches to walk along, and an unbelievable amount of national park to explore.
The small population (only 500,000 peeps in the entire state) means you can walk around town at any time and bump into a handful of people you know. You could quite easily spot your old best friend from high school while you’re out and about.
And it’s quiet. So quiet. If I ever need some space to get away from the noise of the city, Tasmania is ready and waiting. I can sleep in an actual house instead of a tiny apartment, and there’s no need to worry about the baby next door waking me up when it cries in the middle of the night, or aeroplanes flying overhead from 6am (yep, true stories).
Spending a few years away from the state has given me time to think about it in a different light. There are a number of realisations I’ve had:
I now love living in big cities. Going from small town to big city has made me appreciate the conveniences. Every time I’m able to bypass a traffic jam by taking the train, or see a gig without travelling for hours, I feel totally awesome.
How amazing nature tourism can be. I know a lot of people who spend their travels city-hopping, but this is missing such beautiful parts of this earth. Visiting national parks and hiking though canyons and frolicking in the snow are all things that I’ve been able to great enjoyment out of.
I can appreciate nice weather. I found the people in Sydney don’t take full advantage of a beautiful sunny day because they get so many. The weather just doesn’t matter to them anymore.
In Tasmania can be unpredictable. Right now it’s windy and overcast and will probably rain later, but this means that if a nice day comes along, you make the most of it. There’s no point staying inside, because tomorrow (or even in an hour) the weather could turn to shit.
the lesson for every traveller
Even though I have no desire to move back anytime soon, I’m glad I lived in Tasmania. I’m glad I spent time exploring it. And I’m glad my family are still here.
Sometimes, as travellers, the place we grew up in gets compared to the new and exciting places we are currently exploring. But what I’d like to put forward to you is this – would you be the person you are today if you grew up somewhere other than your hometown?
No matter how much you might think you hate the place, its been a big influence in creating the person you are today. Once you’ve learnt to appreciate your hometown, you can start appreciating the rest of the world.
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