The UK will always be my home and I’ll always have a home to go to in the UK. It’s where I am from, where I grew up, it is home to my loved ones and fond memories but I know I could never be completely at home there anymore. I often get asked whether I am going to live in the UK permanently again. My answer is always a firm no (never). Which then gets followed by “Well why not?” In my opinion, you can’t fully heal in the place that almost broke you.
Finishing counselling allowed me to start fresh. I was literally a new person with new desires, goals and dreams but achieving them didn’t feel possible if I stayed in the UK. I had no future there, the place had become a constant reminder of who I used to be and old Emma is someone I am very thankful for but someone I do not want to be remembered as but that’s how most people knew me. The person I am now is the complete opposite (and more) of who I used to be and it sometimes felt like others didn’t understand that nor could some accept it. Going from someone who was the life and soul of the party (as this helped me hide the fact that I was severely depressed, lonely and struggling just to get by), to someone who now hardly ever drinks, parties, prefers to be in my own company and values my time and energy, resulted in me receiving comments such as “what happened to you?”, “Ah you’ve turned boring”, “You used to be so much fun” or “I prefer the old you”. I just want to scream “FUCK OFF YOU INCONSIDERATE TWAT” in their faces (but I resist the urge to do so). For me, I couldn’t fully heal from my past if I was still living in the place that almost destroyed me. When the opportunity for Australia came up, there was no chance I was going to turning it down.
When I first left for Australia I wasn’t sad at all. It wasn’t a sad day for me. I didn’t cry at the airport, on the plane or for the following months. The goodbyes weren’t that hard (my goodbye to Barney and Bubbles was difficult though). My first 6 months was spent working, during this time I had spent my first Christmas and birthday away from friends and family. In all honesty this didn’t bother me. It was new and exciting, something I would definitely remember. Then when I had finished work my mum came out to Australia and we travelled up the East Coast together which was great. It was something I had been looking forward to for a while and to be able to see, hug and actually speak to my mum was rewarding on so many levels. The idea of visiting home for a couple of months had been in my head for a while before this and when it came towards the end of my travels with my mum I decided to fly home for a couple of months. There were a few reasons behind this. I needed to plan my future travels (which was easier to do at home), I wanted some sort of familiarity and I missed my friends and family, so I returned home for a visit.
My time at home was great. I achieved what I wanted to achieve and I was ready to head off to Bali and then back to Australia, however the goodbyes had gotten a little bit harder this time though. This wasn’t new to me now. It was still exciting but I was more aware of what was to come. I was aware that scheduled phone calls would have to be made again. I was aware that on the days where I just needed to hear a familiar voice, that voice might be asleep, working or busy with their own life. Receiving a comforting hug from my mum wouldn’t be possible, nor would it be possible to go for a walk with Barney to clear my head or even to just spend my days off with him. It was a bit tough to come to terms with this and did make me a little bit hesitant to leave again but I knew that I couldn’t stay and I knew there were better things out there for me.
My mum dropped me off at the airport and obviously she started balling her eyes out which then made it hard for me not to ball my eyes out but I tried not to because who wants to go through security checks looking in anyway suspicious?! (No one, security checks are worrying even if you don’t have anything to worry about). What makes it even harder is that I have to leave my mum whilst she’s crying. I know that she’ll be fine but I know that it can be hard for her when I come and go and I hate that. Then realisation began to kick in this time. I knew that I’d be home again for a couple of months, to then go back to Australia for 6 months, then home for another month to then fly to Canada for God knows how long. That’s actually a hard pill to swallow. The fact that I am always going to be saying goodbye to my loved ones, my time with them will be limited and that scheduled phone calls will always have to be a thing is pretty difficult to come to terms with.
I value my friends and family an incredible amount. They have seen the person I used to be, stuck by me and saw me change into the person I am now and have still stuck by me. I know that I will always have their support but sometimes I just wish they could be with me. Sometimes I wish we could all happily live in the same area and that I could see them whenever. It’s hard to accept the fact that that isn’t how it is going to be anymore.
Before travelling you get told about home sickness but nobody really warns you about the potential heart ache of missing your loved ones birthdays, family meals, hugs and even face to face conversations with them. The little things that you thought you wouldn’t miss, you actually end up thinking about a lot but at the same time nobody really warns you about how rewarding travelling is. It nourishes your mental health, culture, self-esteem and overall well-being. It helps you grow as a person. You gain new experiences and new life lessons.
I’m lucky to have the friends and family that I do. They respect and understand why I cannot stay in the UK and I know no matter where I end up I can always rely on them and I will always have their full support.
The goodbyes do get harder but the welcome homes you get become more heart-warming and valuable.
Thank you to my friends and family,
Sending my love to you all,