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Here’s the thing: coming home always takes 2 – 3 weeks to properly recover from. Even when it’s been a gloriously fun, sunny, brunch-filled trip like we had:
Returning to Australia is kinda like being in a tornado (or so I assume from multiple viewings of the 1996 Helen Hunt classic movie, Twister.) All of your intense family conversations, wine-fuelled parties and delicious meals that should be spread across 18 months are compressed into 3 short, spinning weeks. It’s wild, indulgent, frenzied, joyous and pretty exhausting. I wouldn’t trade that feeling for anything in the world – the after effects just hit you upside the head, normally right on top of a wicked case of jet lag.
Forgive me then, for the lag in writing. There’s a lot of wonderful stuff to share – our weekend getaway to the Grampians! All of the brunches! How exciting Brisbane is! But my head and heart have been wrung out with constant internal questioning while in Melbourne:
‘Could you see yourself back here?’
‘How is it possible that Fitzroy changed so much in 5 years?’
‘How does this drink/apartment/weather/______compare to Vienna?
‘ Is this city still home or has it moved on without you, along with all your friends?
‘How do people POSSIBLY afford to buy property here? And why is everyone saying property or investment portfolio and not ‘home’??
‘Oh god, should I be buying property??! HOW DEAR GOD HOW??! When did this become a thing people my age did?’
‘Are you really going to be able to stay away from beach days like this? Seriously?’
It was an ongoing internal dialogue – weighing, measuring, testing, what feels right, where is home. By the end of our month away, I think I’d asked them all, a thousand times, in a hundred different ways. But the answer became clearer the longer we stayed…
Right now, Vienna is where I should be. Melbourne was immensely, beautifully, deliciously wonderful – but it’s not my place right now. The stomping ground of 25-year-old Carly has been overrun. The arty, indie, beautiful weirdos of Fitzroy are heading North to Brunswick, the moneyed investment property moguls are moving in. The city of Melbourne feels as far away to the current version of me as the idea of having a weekend long keg party covered in body paint.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Let’s be real, I’m 30 now, life is changing and it’s ok to let it. This was the trip where I came to that realisation peacefully, thankfully. Like a weight of expectation – that I hadn’t known I was carrying – finally lifting.
My gypsy travellers heart can’t help but think – there’s still so much to discover in Austria. So many European Weekend Getaways to be had. SO MUCH German grammar still to be conquered! The tornado trip home spins you round, shakes up all your ideas of who you are, were and could be – but eventually drops you right back where you’re supposed to be with a fresh perspective.
Plans for 2016 are finally taking shape – because I can let go of any expectations. It took returning to where I was from, to figure out where I wanted to go, and where I really belong.
And now? I can’t bloody wait to see what’s next. All I know is I ‘m excited to unleash more writing, photography, travelling and Austrian discoveries in the year ahead. Stick around here and we can figure it out together 🙂
Have you had some grand realisations after a return trip home to your family? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments. Bonus points if you can tell me when the hell Fitzroy got so bourgeois trendy!!