Wednesday, 13 July 2016

There's No Place Like Home...But Where Is That?

Last week, my family & I headed off on a trip to Liverpool to visit my Mum & Dad for a while.

It's a road trip we've taken many times before since I made the move from Liverpool to Devon almost 9 years ago.

9 seems impossible that it's been that long since I left Liverpool behind, 9 years sounds like such a long time but you'd think after that amount of time that Devon would feel like home to doesn't.

I moved to Devon after spending my childhood visiting the English Riviera every year on holiday, and yet I still feel like a tourist here even now.
Perhaps it's because I've lived a somewhat nomadic lifestyle since upping sticks and heading to Devon - over the course of the 9 years I've lived in 5 different homes...across 3 different cities and towns all very far removed from each other on many levels.

It's only been just over a year since we moved to our current home, which is in a new town and a new area of perhaps it's not so strange that it doesn't quite feel like home yet.
I'm terrible at mingling with people and I avoid many social situations like the plague, so I have yet to actually make any friends in town - I don't really know anybody other than a particularly friendly neighbour a few doors away who pops in for a coffee and to see the children once every few weeks, and our next door neighbours to say hello to.
In my head, I guess I've still always thought of Liverpool as home.

But whilst we were travelling there last week, as we neared the city - Jon said to me in passing "Do you feel better now you're getting closer to home?"

And I honestly had to stop and think for a moment..."Hang on....where is home?"

And if I'm honest, I'm still not sure that I know the answer to that question.

Devon is where I live of's where 2 of my 3 children were born, its where we've always intended to stay, it's where Jon & I met and really it's where i've lived almost all of my adult life - I didn't leave my parents home until 25 and I headed straight to Devon, so I have never lived as an adult anywhere else.

But Liverpool is where most of my family is, where my roots are and - in many ways - where my heart lies.

I love the sense of familiarity I feel walking the streets of Liverpool even 9 years after leaving it behind, I love the familiar sound of the accents around me that remind me I'm at home, I love the busy hustle bustle of the city life...but it's a city which has so much heart and soul to it unlike so many's a calm kind of busy if that makes any sense at all...or it is to me at least.

 I find comfort in it's chaos. I find peace in its pandemonium.

I make no secret of how I struggle with anxiety in my day to day life, but being in Liverpool last week - for whatever reason - I didn't feel so anxious as I usually do.

I felt calmer on the whole, I enjoyed myself and lived in the moment more.

And it made me wonder...if this is where I feel calmer and where I enjoy life most, should we really be living somewhere else?

Or if I was to move back home, would those problems just follow me back anyway?

There's no denying that there is so much to do in Liverpool - for the children and for me.
For the children there are bigger and better play centres, museums, parks and all sorts of other fun days out within very easy reach - there's a lot of life to Liverpool for the young ones, a lot of fun to be had and so much to see and do - all of the big attractions come to Liverpool, all of the big shows, etc. In little old Devon the play centres are little more than a  cafe with some soft play equipment, and the big shows and tours  - Disney On Ice etc - seem to stop dead at Cardiff...nothing ever seems to travel any further down the country.

For me, there is the freedom to get out and do more in Liverpool - we'd have grandparents nearby to babysit every now and then, and I know people here, I have people I could socialise and be active with without having the need to go through the anxiety of mingling with new people and making new friends - there are so many exercise classes here that I'd love to go to - Clubbercise and such, things which just don't exist in the little part of Devon I live in and likely won't reach us for ages! And even if they did - who would I go with?!

But then Devon has it plus points too - we're so spoiled for nature and beautiful beaches right on our doorstep, and isn't it lovely for the children to grow up as beach babies...spending days after school out on the shore. Doesn't that sound an idyllic childhood?

And that slow pace of life brings it's own attractions too - there are few safer places to live than Devon when you look at the statistics, the crime rates are so much lower, and there somehow seems more of an innocence here...

But who's to say which area is the best for all of us?

Is home where I hang my hat? Or is home where the heart is?

And if you don't feel like you really know where home is at all, how are you supposed to know where you belong?

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