It’s only in the past few weeks that I’ve come to understand the magnitude of what I’m doing. I grew up in this sleepy little town by the shore. A small town, where news spreads fast and mum’s wear Lulu lemon to yogalaties, tots in tow. In Devonport you can’t go to the supermarket in sweats and slippers because you’ll see three of your teachers, a neighbour and some long ago primary school friend you don’t speak to any more. Kids ride bikes to school and hang out on the bench outside the supermarket – no one actually knows why, they just do.
It’s a place of tradition, of family and the sea. Our small connection to the rest of this bustling city is a road, one lane each way, along the peninsula. It’s always so blocked with traffic, leaving our little bubble is often just too much effort.
I love this town, and I love this city. But I’ve decided to leave.
Not that traveling is a foreign concept to me, but making the choice to move across the world on my own was no easy feat. Now I look around, at the cracks in the pavement, at the puhutikawa framed sea line and at the people I’ve known for most of my living memory. I soak in every detail, the way the ferry leaves behind a slice in the ocean, the way the sun reflects off the tin roofs. And I realise I’m going to miss my home, I’m going to miss the screeching seagulls and the preteens shouting on their skateboards, I’m going to miss the late night hot chocolates at our favourite café. I’ll miss the smell of the sea, the chatter of the tourists, and the feeling that I belong here – that I am safe and protected.
Soon I’ll be getting on a plane, and I’m not entirely sure when I’ll be back. This decision and process has been one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever done by choice, possibly surpassed by bungy jumping.
Yet here I am, eyes pricking with tears at the thought of everything, and everyone, I’m leaving behind. My heart aching for all the love I’ve had and lost in this city, for all the memories these streets hold. But I’m still going, I’ll get on that plane one step at a time and I’ll leave – simply because I know I have to.
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