This weekend, I took a long bus journey through Sydney. With the prospect of an international move on the horizon, what should have been just a boring bus ride turned into a reflection of past adventures and what the city means to me.
For all but 10 years of my life I been a resident of NSW (or the ACT) – and Sydney has been the city I called home. Many of the memories of my youth are based around hot summer days in western Sydney – tearing myself from vinyl seats in the back of a Kingswood, burning my feet on concrete as I ran to the public pool and Paddle Pops dripping down my arm.
Then I grew up and escaped to what I imagined would be the cosmopolitan life of Melbourne for almost a decade. Returning to NSW, I resumed my tryst with the complex creature that is this city. The grungy inner-west, the leafy north shore, the unending tract houses of the west, the amazing beaches, the wonder of the Blue Mountains and relaxing by the water on the Central Coast.
My bus ride took me through some of my old stomping grounds. One of those was Newtown, where I introduced Sydney to Nicole in the embryotic stages of our relationship. She hated it (I can understand why) and swore she would never live in this place.
It was only a decade later, as we drove through the upper north shore, that she said she would consider moving to Sydney – but only if she could live in Wahroonga. I laughed at the absurdity of it at the time.
So what was my take away from the bus ride? Well I remembered the words of author Bill Bryson, who wrote “you can’t go home again”. And facing a move away, this what hit me most. Yes, I may never be able to “come home again”, but a part of me will always be in this heaving mass of humanity.