If you know me even a little, you may know I am obsessed with the idea of place and belonging. Home. Is it what we do, rather than where we are? Is it where the heart is, or just a decision to put down some roots? A peripatetic existence can become exhausting.
I’m still waiting for a clever person to come up with a composite word to describe the feeling of homesickness for a place or time that never truly existed. Nostoneiralgos? It doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue, does it? I never really loved the place I was born, and other places I’ve lived had a temporary, functional sort of feel. There for uni, for work, for doomed romantic interludes; a sense of home has always eluded me. Until now.
I’ve been around a wee bit of the world but Sydney’s the first place that’s fulfilled almost all of my very long and detailed wishlist (breathtakingly beautiful, contains people I love, sunny but not tropically humid, not too polluted, little likelihood of being stabbed in the kidneys, can swim in the sea without risk of hypothermia or
being choked with plastic bags and condoms, can speak the language to a level that allows me to work in my chosen field…) so I obviously planted my flag here, set up camp and proceeded to marry your women, colonial style.I try to be grateful for all of the many fucking cool things and people in my life as a rule, but I am doubtless remiss at times. So when the lovely Nathalie asked me to write a piece for her (regular readers will know this is actually the third fine mess she’s gotten me into) I thought it might be a way to share my gratitude.
I’m lucky to be here. And so are you.
So many moments in Sydney have been so extraordinary it’s a tough call to pick just one. Partying on Shark Island, naked at dawn on the Opera House steps in the Spencer Tunick installation, moshing at Laneway Festival, watching the sunset over beautiful Bondi from the sun-warmed cliffs… but a recent favourite that encapsulates much of what I love so much about Sydney was just an impromptu decision to go out and enjoy the autumn sunshine. A day of no particular significance, when armed only with a hazy sense of direction and a hastily assembled picnic, my beloved and I battled through the Saturday shopping frenzy and caught the ferry to Mosman.
From the moment we board the ferry and leave behind the madding crowds at Circular Quay, calm descends…