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A lesson to every traveller on appreciating your hometown

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?

Map Tasmania

The move

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.

A lesson to every traveller on appreciating your hometown

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.

A lesson to every traveller on appreciating your hometown

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).

Tasman National Park, Tasmania

The realisations

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.

A lesson to every traveller on appreciating your hometown

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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Ashlea Wheeler

Blogger & Photographer at A Globe Well Travelled
I'm Ashlea, an excitable Australian who loves photography and exploring the world. Find out more about me.

27 Responses to “A lesson to every traveller on appreciating your hometown”

  1. Sara

    I really love this article! It made me think about my relationship with my little hometown in Maryland. There’s not much to do here at first glance, but when I think about all the nature and state parks nearby, there are plenty of opportunities for adventure! And as for Tasmania, I’m super jealous you got to grow up there! It seems like an incredible and unique place, somewhere I hope to visit someday.
    http://www.saraseestheworld.com

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      It’s strange but I think you could grow up in the most beautiful place on the planet and still get bored of it after a while! Your hometown in Maryland sounds much like my hometown in Tasmania. I do hope you get to visit someday, it is a lovely place 🙂

      Reply
  2. Hayley Simpson

    I moved home for five months after returning from Canada, and although my parents live on a beautiful tropical island (Magnetic Island in QLD) it made me realise I crave the city life too. Now I have just moved to Melbourne 🙂

    Reply
  3. Katie

    I definitely appreciate the placesd I grew up in New Zealand, now more than ever as I am wanting to live in a smaller city after years of big cities and New Zealand is perfect for that

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      That’s a really interesting perspective Katie – I suppose our needs change over time and while a big city might be best for us at one stage, a smaller town may be better at another. New Zealand is definitely the perfect spot to get away from it all!

      Reply
  4. Kirstie

    Tasmania sounds lovely, but I can also imagine it would be a huge transition from Sydney.

    I’m currently working on a post with some facts about my hometown, and what I’ve learned has made me really appreciate it more!

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      It’s interesting to learn things about your hometown that you might not have known before. Sometimes when you have been living in a place, you miss how amazing it is!

      Reply
  5. Jessica C. (A Wanderlust For Life)

    I haven’t been back to my hometown yet, but I’m interested to see what kind of feelings pop up. I’m a little scared of it actually! It’s amazing living in a city where you have an international airport, major venues, and even an IMAX theater…when you wrote about not traveling for hours to see a show, I completely understand that. Now I just hope of a metro and I’m there. It’s amazing and I never knew convenience like I do now.

    I think we don’t appreciate what we have (especially when we are growing up) and we did our best to explore Virginia before we left, but I know we didn’t do a good job because we have a huge list of things to do when we visit 🙂 But that’s part of the fun, right?

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Absolutely! It is amazing to live in a city with conveniences I never knew were possible until I’d experienced them first hand! It will be really interesting to see how you feel on your visit to your hometown, be sure to keep us updated on what happens 😀

      Reply
  6. Julia

    You know, I’ve gone through the exact same thing after moving away from Los Angeles (my home town) last year. After having lived in Paris now for almost a year, there have been some things about Los Angeles that I’ve become more painfully aware of than ever before (it’s always hot, there’s no public transportation, etc.), but there are also things I have started to appreciate (the beach, the fresh fruits and vegetables available year round, etc.). I guess that’s a part of traveling and moving around! All I know is that being away now, I have finally started looking forward to being back for a bit in the summer (minus the heat, this girl has not done well in 35+ degrees even before moving to a much chillier Paris).

    Julia

    ExploresMore.com

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      That’s great – sometimes it takes moving away for a while to see your hometown in a new light. And you’ve chosen such starkly different places to live, Los Angeles and Paris are polar opposites! Thanks for sharing your story Julia!

      Reply
  7. Jo

    I like the article, but disagree that appreciating your hometown is necessary to appreciate the world.

    Some people are unlucky enough to have hometowns with nothing to appreciate. The only thing mine taught me is “I don’t want to live in a deprived town with nothing to do, nothing to see, no prospects and no sense of community”. That didn’t take me 18 years to learn, and I probably could have figured it out wherever I lived 😉 I appreciate it being a first world town with reliable utilities and it was close to London, that’s about it. If my parents didn’t live there, I’d never return and probably never think of it again!

    But I do agree that if you do live in a place with something (anything!) going for it, it’s easy to overlook how nice it is when considering the big wide world! I lived in London for four years, and it was easy to forget how magical it could be when your day revolved around commuting and studying and working.

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Thanks for your comment Jo! I didn’t mean that you have to love your hometown, just that you need to understand that it’s been a part of who you are. By ‘appreciate’ I mean that you can understand the influence it’s had on you. You’ve actually shown that this is exactly what happened – even though there might not be anything interesting about your hometown and you may not ever want to go back, it’s had an influence on the decisions you are making with your life now 🙂

      Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      I know exactly what you mean! I think I like Tasmania much more now that I don’t live here, and I don’t take it for granted anymore. I’m glad you can relate, Jennifer!

      Reply
  8. Emily

    I definitely appreciate my hometown after having moved away so many years ago. Whilst I’ve been out of the country for the majority of the last few years, when in the UK it was wonderful to not only spend time with my parents, but to also enjoy the countryside. I love London (my last proper British home) but you have to go a long way to find fields of sheep or breathe fresh air!

    http://www.alongdustyroads.com

    Reply
  9. Sandra

    First things first: I looooooove Tasmania. I’ve been there some weeks ago and totally fall in love with all the nature WOWs. But I understand that there is some love-hate-relationship in your mind and seriously I wouldn’t choose living there. Or maybe I would … but when I’m old, so totally matches your only-old-people-impression 😉

    But back to the topic: Growing up and living 18 years in a tiny, tiny village in Germany, where you can smell if the farmer fertilised the field today, I got overwhelmed the first time I was in Melbourne. But I loved this experience. I think growing up in this village helped me appreciating those metropoles like Melbourne or Sydney. And when I’m back in Germany in a few weeks (after being away for 10months) I wanna move to a big city. Berlin, Hamburg, Munich … But I’m still happy that I grew up in this kind of dead village because as a child, I didn’t need to worry if a car gonna hit me, because there were only a few around and climbing on trees is the best thing for a child.

    So yeah … lots of love to my old village but also some hate about the loneliness and lack of public transport

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      I’m glad you had a chance to visit, Tasmania is a beautiful place! I’m putting together a post for next week on all the awesome bits 😉 I really do love it, I just get frustrated living here. It’s great for oldies, not-so-great for young people!

      I can totally understand your relationship with your hometown Sandra, growing up in a tiny village in the countryside can be a great place for a family. And it really makes you realise the benefits of a big city when you experience it later in life. Thanks for your comment!

      Reply
  10. Valeria @ Rome, New York, London, World

    I can surely relate to this! I miss my hometown Rome every day, but when I go back I get so frustrated at how chaotic and disorganized it is. I do want to move back one day, but a part of me is frightened that I won’t enjoy it, being a completely different person from when I left.

    Reply
  11. Nikita

    This sounds exactly like the relationship I have with my Canadian hometown! Down to the very specific likes and dislikes.. I love going back now, but living there? Never again!

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Wow, I suppose most small cities / towns would have similar issues, and those of us who are acquainted to living in big cities would get frustrated by similar aspects of the small town life!

      Reply
  12. Marie

    I feel the same way about my hometown. I am from a small town right on the Norwegian coast. It’s so beautiful there with the ocean, mountains, no people… And it is only now after living abroad for 3 years I see how much I miss it. Do I want to move back? No. But do I miss it? Yes! It’s so strange…

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      You just put some wonderful imagery into my head when you mentioned ‘Norweigan small town’ Marie! If it’s anything like the photos I’m seeing on Pinterest and Instagram then I would LOVE to visit 😀 I can totally understand your opinion though, it’s difficult to appreciate a place when you haven’t yet seen what the rest of the world is like, but once you do it becomes obvious.

      Reply
  13. AshleyNL

    Hi! I just discovered your blog today, attempting to do a bit of research on how much it may cost my husband and I to travel to Australia (our) summer 2016 – your winter. I understand everything that you have expressed in this article! I am from Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. When I was traveling in Thailand 6 years ago, I met a guy from Tasmania, and we basically decided that the island of Newfoundland is to Canada like Tasmania is to Australia. Sometimes it feels so small and you just need to get out into the world – but you are surrounded by so much natural beauty. And there is much to be said about a small city close to your parents and friends. It’s comforting to know people wherever you go. Your hometown feels like it has a lot of heart. But, living on a island makes it slightly more difficult to travel (sometimes), being out in the middle of an ocean means more inpredictable weather, and sometimes small place attitudes and inconveniences can just get right on your nerves. But, the world is our oyster – and it feels right to my husband and I to have our roots in our small city. Now, to discover whether it is too ambitious to save enough to get to Australia 15 months from now! I thought that it seemed insurmountable – but I guess I need to decrease the scale of our trip planning a bit – and realize that I can always go back! Can’t wait to read more of your content 🙂

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Thanks for your comment Ashley! Tasmania has been compared to New Zealand or Ireland, but Newfoundland is a new one! It sounds like you relate perfectly to my hometown situation. There are always going to be good things about the small town island life, but there are inconveniences too. I get driven crazy if I spend too long down there these days!

      I hope you do manage to get to Australia, it’s a beautiful country and well worth visiting. Definitely rather large to see all in one, go you can absolutely come back multiple times to see different states and different cities 🙂

      Reply

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