I am definitely a bit of a traveller at heart, a gypsy you might say. It could be to do with being Irish, as a Nation we have traditionally been searching for places that give us a more fruitful existence. And we have put our roots down all over the world. For such a small country geographically, our reach is vast, how many of you reading this today have Irish heritage?
But on the other side of this, Family is everything to me. So I, like many others live with this strange pull between two ideals – to explore and find the places in the world that work for us, and to be close to our nearest and dearest, especially as they reach those difficult elderly years.
I came to Cairns, in Tropical Far North Queensland via a circuitous route (two years in Fiji, nice!) in 2010, the year I turned 40, so it felt like a life changing experience form the start. We were meant to be here for a two year contract (I won’t bore you with the details) but we’re still here. Life just seemed to settle in, in a really nice way and the thought of moving that life became unthinkable.
If someone had told me before I left Ireland that I was leaving to live on the other side of the World forever, I would have said, “no way!”. But it’s different when you allow yourself to gradually dip your toe in the water of another life and realise that it’s not so bad, in fact it’s pretty fine.
We do travel to Ireland quite often but the irony now is that I don’t feel I belong there anymore. People don’t like the fact that you’ve chosen to live somewhere else, they take it as a personal insult, as if you’re saying, “you live in a place that isn’t good enough for me.” That is so NOT the case. Whereas I find that the people I have met on my travels understand the phenomenon and what drives us to move.
I can’t escape the fact that I miss my family and life-long friends from home, I don’t miss the actual place. The day will come soon when the inevitable happens and I truly don’t know how that’s going to feel. But on the other hand, I look at my young family growing up in such a beautiful, peaceful environment and I know that I have to do the right thing for them.
And finally, the world is becoming such a small place with technology and communications, this really helps to keep the family circles together. I know it’s not the same but it’s better than the days of letters and exorbitant, long-distance calls.
We are all Global Citizens after all….