This nomadic life

The world rushes past, green and brown and black and blue. I see ferns buried deeply amongst the trees that have stood here so long that their ageing cores are now hollow, perfect habitats for the local creatures. I see the forest stretching out before me, flying past as my train heaves itself along the tracks and into the future. Shhhhh shhhhhh shhhhh go the wheels. Somewhere in the background, I hear the happy laughter of high school students making their way to school. The stations flick past, the train hurtling along too fast to read the signs. The attendant announces my station and I hurry out of my seat, not wanting to miss my stop. My haste lands me in a gaggle of 9th Graders preparing to go to school. "Did he really ask you out?" one girl asks another. She blushes in the affirmative. They all giggle. I feel like I've gone back in time. I remember when I was that age.

Stepping off the train, I follow the crowds towards the exit gates and hunt desperately for Station Street. You'd think it would be easier to find. Even the gate attendant wasn't sure. "Brooookkkkkeee!" I hear. It's M, my clinical buddy. We're ready to go to our first day of a new clinical school.

I was a short 30 km from home yet in a brand new and exciting location. This was unexplored territory. These were forests I'd never seen before, suburbs I'd never met. This is an adventure.

So many count their travels, their achievements and knowledge on the basis of how many trips they've made in an aeroplane each year. It's true that long-distance travel shows you more of the world than you would see in just your city. But we often don't take the time to be tourists in our own backyards.

It's a beautiful adventure to get lost in your own city. To rely on maps, kind locals and street signs to find your way. To walk with no destination. To get off the train a stop before necessary to walk the kilometres through unknown territory. This is something I've never seen before.

The meandering journeys through Sydney's suburbs are what sustain my sense of adventure between long-distance travel. The exciting new cafes, the great bakeries and fruit shops, the beautiful houses and parks, the signs in windows that advertise cultural events I would have otherwise missed enrich my life and bring me closer to the community.

Despite my Sydney explorations, I too yearn for adventures farther afield. Conversations are so often peppered with tales of others' journeys - the beauty of India, the frantic nature of Beijing, the lawless traffic of Jakarta, the immensity of London, the depth of Rome. Everywhere is filled with history, culture, new foods and people with amazing stories. Everywhere, there is something new to learn.  I drink in their stories.

For me, home is not a place, it's a concept.  I am home when my senses are overwhelmed by everything around me. When my heart starts beating faster as I see my destination through the tiny window beside my aeroplane seat. When the dotted lights my new morning appear beneath the wings of this gigantic airborne vessel. I've thought since I was a small child that home is wherever I'm sleeping. This is where I belong.

To take that first step off the aeroplane, to walk onto the tarmac or air-bridge and have the most satisfying thought in the world, I made it.  There is nothing more amazing than those first walks around a new city.  All that you have ever read, been taught, heard, is suddenly under your feet. I am standing on New York City. I can feel the buzz of the city shaking every cell in my body.  I can feel its soul warm me.

Live in the moment. Hold no place hostage to your hopes and fears. This is now. This is yours. Let these places change you.

Open your eyes. Discovery is only one street over.


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