Five years ago my parents left suburbia for rural Scotland. They wanted to leave the rat race, connect with nature and in so doing, they added 200 miles to the not insubstantial 40 miles between our respective abodes. I hadn’t lived at home for seven years when this happened, but nonetheless, I started to feel homesick. Every time I hug Mum and Dad now, I’m loading my arms with months of unexpressed affection.
At the start of the year, I raised my own anchor, moving from a house I’d occupied for eight years, in an attempt to make a home elsewhere. But my new city doesn’t have hills I can orientate myself by, and over the six months I’ve been resident, I’ve been investing in another place.
I have the pleasure of working with a wonderful character called Hugh Hughes, who grew up on Anglesey. Since January, we’ve been working, off and on, in the town where he spent his childhood. Last week the project reached a glorious climax, after eight stage shows, fifteen story-walks and two weeks of inhabiting a story shop. I worked with a wonderful lady over the course of the project, who I’m now delighted to consider a friend. Being the last to leave the island, she texted what I think we’d all felt: Leaving Llangefni. Feel at sea.
I understand that in a few weeks, I embedded myself more deeply in that remote community than I had done in my new city over six months. Hugh came to realise that the places you leave never leave you, and that home is not about bricks and mortar, but about belonging. I had my own realisation: that my heart is wandering; that maybe I should keep that anchor raised for a while, so I can follow.