Making Like Dorothy – My Return To Oz

July 25, 2017

Many (many!) years ago, after travelling the length and breadth of this amazing country, I found myself sun-seeking to warmer climes after Sydney’s April weather started to remind me of what I left behind in the UK!

I threw my (highly inappropriate for cold weather clothing) haphazardly into a backpack and jumped on the cheapest flight North – it was to Brisbane.

From the moment I stepped off the plane, I fell in love. It helped that it was a balmy 22 degrees with basking sunshine in what the locals called “Winter”.

After landing a job at a city-based hotel (oh… did I mention I also got here and realised I was running low on the $$$ so that also assisted my decision!) and a great room in a shared New Farm apartment, Bris-Vegas (officially a local now can call it this!) started to feel like home. Life was very exciting!

Then the “moment” hit… I have never really been a person to suffer homesickness as such. I have moved around, lived in different places, and adore meeting new people.

I had never factored myself as someone that might feel the pangs of missing something.  But one day, for the first time, I had this feeling that I couldn’t explain. I had woken up in my lovely room in New Farm and was getting ready for work when… it hit me.

I wasn’t experiencing the buzz of travel and backpacking any more. I was living a real life, going to work, paying bills, living the ordinary, exactly as I had back home, and l wondered what that meant I was doing here.

I went into work that day, feeling a bit down. l may also have had some winter blues, as by this time it was June and I was having to wear a hoodie to work and back. I like to think I was officially climatised.

In other places, when I had experienced a static feeling, I usually found myself surrounded by other backpackers who provided comfort by enthralling me with their tales of travel, inspiring me to my next adventure.

But here in Brissie I was working and living with local people, so the sense of being grounded was even stronger.

Feeling somewhat blue (I am now a Queenslander and always feel Maroon) I trudged off to do a day’s work, preparing myself to just put my head down, keep myself to myself, crack on with getting some $$$ in my pocket and plan my heading home.

One thing I will always find wondrous about life is how sometimes you can be oblivious to the effect you can have on other people and the impact you can make without realising.  

After a week of going into work feeling a bit glum, and after only a few short weeks of working with this bunch, one of the girls pulled me to one side.

“You haven’t been yourself this week,” she said. The most alert I had been all week came at this point when I suddenly realised that I had been pretty miserable and that if I was about to lose this job and the cash in my pocket to make any choices, I had better snap out of it pretty darn quick.

“Sorry”, I mumbled…”just a bit homesick, I guess”, looking down at the floor, feeling like things were about to get even worse.

“Right, that’s it” came her words.”

If I hadn’t been so down I think panic would have filled me…but it just felt like another hit coming in an already lost boxing fight.

“We are going to cheer you up – l will round the girls – we are having a night out.”

Now THESE words sunk in. My sullen look shot up from the floor to meet her eyes, which must have looked startled as she said “We can’t have you homesick now! – cocktails it is.”

And cocktails it was!

A couple of awesome things happened to me that night.  Firstly I went to some awesome little bars which I would never have found without local expert knowledge! Secondly,  I realised I had made some friends. Not transient friends, which had become something I was used to, but real friends, who in a short space of time, I had impacted upon enough that my feelings truly mattered beyond a shared experience. I had become part of their lives and day-to-day world and they were genuinely welcoming me in.  It felt good…and for the first time in a while, I felt my soul settle.

“How long are you going to stay in BrisVegas for?” one of the girls asked me that night. My reply….”Indefinitely”…

Author Bio: Vicki Battison is a girl from London hanging out in Brisbane with thoughts on love, life and everything…

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