Where I decide to love

What home means to me

For eighteen years I took home for granted. A weatherboard at the end of a cul-de-sac, an un-kept lawn and a row of carnations grown around the edge of the hills hoist: it was embarrassment I often felt about this home. Then after 30 years of marriage, mum decided to leave and we packed up and went flatting.
I lived in her home a few months and then boarded a train to North Queensland to start my studies and make my life. Newcastle was a home made for me by others, bless them, but it would never be a place I made home.
As a young adult, I found myself breathing sharp gasps of humidity in the tropics and trying to find my place. Over-heated and dressed in black, I was conspicuous amongst the batik and thongs.
Townsville is known for the Uni, an army barracks and a sprawling urban footprint. People are always coming and going in Townsville. It’s a place that embraces a stranger. I learnt how to breathe in that hot wet air, exchanged skivvies for singlet tops and discovered the freedom that comes with living your life outdoors.
In Townsville, the ocean water feels like a tepid bath, but when you crawl out from under the closest shade and immerse yourself, it revitalises you. With the northern rivers on the Bruce Highway, the Cleveland Bay coast, a National Park and the foothills of Mt Stuart a compass, I discovered myself and I realised I loved the beauty of that place.
Townsville became the first home I made.
Years later, I found myself at the other end of the east coast, in a beanie and scarf in a Hobart January. Over time, I collected warm coats, learnt to make fires and discovered the Tasmanian environment.
One clear blue spring day returning from months overseas, the pilot asked permission to fly into Hobart via the Derwent, the beautiful river, the awesome mountain, the gigantic sky. I realised I was head over heels with this place and I cried returning to the wonderful city that I have made my home for almost 20 years.
Now I’ve lived in Hobart longer than I lived in my birthplace. I’ve made my own home here. I thought about leaving for a while, but I’ve never been able to tear myself away. Now I sit at the foot of Mount Wellington that anchors me here, and pay homage to it daily. And in return for my adoration, Hobart has offered me a wealth of love and opportunity. Unlike the transience of a home made in Townsville, the home I’ve made in Hobart is permanent.
So I’m thinking about what home means to me and I think about the lovely houses I’ve enjoyed living in, the fantastic people I’ve been able to love, and the beautiful environment that is my constant admiration.
But it is not one house or one person or only the environment that makes somewhere home for me. 
It is me in this place and how I feel about being here. It's where I decide to love that's home. And that's Hobart.
What does home mean to you?
This post is One Girl’s response to guest blogger, Russell Kelly’s post – Going home: 6 signs my heart was telling me to come home to Hobart. Next week, the Other Girl will give us her take. We’d love to hear from you too. Why don’t you leave a comment or email us a piece of around 500 words or less. Email us by clicking here.