Times that home seems a long way away

Living on the other side of the world from family and friends is something that doesn’t work for everyone. Sometimes, a person’s dream of living in another country can’t persist beyond that initial homesickness. It’s never easy, and like everyone else, I’ve experienced the highs and the lows of living far away from home.

<Squeak the cat from La Clusaz>Over the years, I’ve returned to my hometown of Melbourne for birthdays, weddings and funerals. Last week, an unexpected phone call from a family member gave me a new reason to return to Australia — heart surgery. Two days later, I was boarding a flight home, and I’m now typing this from the suburban sprawl of Melbourne. Within three days of my arrival, a loved one will be having a quadruple heart bypass, and I simply couldn’t imagine waiting for a phone call at 4am in France to hear that the operation was a success. So why have I included a photo of my cat, Squeak, with this blog entry? I’ll get to that in a minute.

The flight time to Melbourne was 23 hours, but the drives to and from the airports, the check-ins, the waits between the three legs of the journey and the customs clearance extended my journey to 34 hours. Had the operation been scheduled any sooner, I might not have made it home in time before the journey to the hospital. It’s times like these that home seems like a very long way away. Had I not jumped on that plane, it would have felt even further away.

Squeak the cat is a reminder that although I’ve reached my Australian home and family, my French home and family feel just as far away right now. I have an equally long and laborious journey ahead of me to see their faces, and any trip home to Australia really only feels like half the journey.

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I'm a technical author, journalist and writer from Australia who has been living in Europe since 2000 and exploring the world from there. My passions are writing, snow sports and travel.

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7 comments on “Times that home seems a long way away
  1. Sally says:

    I have lived a flight away from various loved ones (not as long a flight as you) for much of my life. It’s tough, but I am so glad you got there & I hope that all goes well with the operation.

    Am sure Squeak is in good hands whilst you are away – but I do know how very tough it is to be split between countries.

    Look forward to an update & in the meantime, a big hug for you.


  2. Ron Rundle says:

    Welcome “home” Wen, albeit under trying circumstances. Best wishes for a successful surgical outcome. When we travel from Melbourne to France for our extended holidays, the cats are really the only things I miss greatly.
    Bon courage, mon ami…………

  3. wonky73 says:

    I couple of times I’ve had similar issues were a family member has a health emergency and I lived far away. Never so far as half way around the world 🙂 but it still is stressful. Safe travels and I hope the surgery is successful.

  4. Lesley says:

    Thinking of you over there and your ‘loved one’. Bon Courage to you all. My husband had his Four done 21 years ago this July. It works!

  5. Wendy says:

    Thank you all for your well wishes. The good news is my dad is now out of surgery and ready to start his recovery. Big relief! Lesley, that’s encouraging to hear! Wonky, any distance feels like the other side of the world I reckon. Ron, Baker’s Delight are selling out of custard scrolls since my return! Sally, I’ve seen the cats on Skype and they’re clearly not missing me at all! 🙂

  6. Sally says:

    So pleased to hear your Dad is on the mend!

    And that the cats are OK!!!

    Hope you can now enjoy your time in Australia & don’t eat tooooooooo many custard scrolls! (I have no idea what they are!)

  7. Ron Rundle says:

    Great news about your Dad, Wen!
    You can have ALL the custard scrolls.
    It’s true, One misses the cats much more than they miss us.

About me

Wendy Hollands writer in Annecy, France

I'm an experienced technical writer based in the French Alps. I enjoy learning French language nuances, winter sports and travel. Drop by wendyhollands.com, my other site.

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