Home has always been a strange concept for me.
Relatively speaking, home is a place right? A house, a suburb, a street... whatever.
See I moved around a lot when I was a kid. I believe I never stayed in the same primary school for more than one year. In grade 2 I moved up to Tewantin on the Sunshine Coast because my mum had met a guy and we moved in with him. It was not good. It was not bad either. I remember a sense of anxiety and depression surrounding that place. And my mum became a vegetarian and by default so did I. I've harboured a hatred of squash ever since...
But every weekend I would hit the waves and be the best little surf grommet I could be. That was my home: the beach, the waves.
I was scared and awed by the huge goannas that would slip their way up trees with their giant claws and I even remember being swept up by a rip and my mum rescuing me.
Holy shit did she paddle her arse off!
When we moved back to Brisbane it was once again back to the flats, the apartment blocks, the little cheap areas where kids ruled the crevices and parents thought they new EXACTLY what we were up to. And they probably did. But I know we got away with more than we got in trouble for...
I was lucky enough to live next door to my cousins at one stage there. And to this day I have an excellent relationship with my cousin Josh. We grew up together, got in trouble together, fought, hated, raged, laughed, came home scratched up, fell over, fell up, threw up, and had to sit in opposite corners to cool off...
This was in the Capalaba and Cleveland area east of Brisbane.
And of all the 'spaces' in my life, I can still go back to Capalaba and know that this is where I'm from. While we moved around a lot, that area of Brisbane has remained the space that grew me up so to speak. To this day the scent, sight, and feeling of mangroves makes me feel okay about the world. Thanks to regular visits to Wellington Point, Cleveland and that whole Moreton bay area.
My grandparents always lived in a caravan for all of my young life, and even now they're off in Tasmania doing the whole grey nomad thing. But they were nomads and a little bit gypsy before they were grey. Always off, my Dar playing country music at RSL's and bowls clubs across the country. Always with a little bit of money in the pocket for the next adventure. Fishing rods, crab pots and a little dingy carefully arranged on their dust covered 4x4.
Nowadays I can step into a caravan and, thanks to numerous holidays with my grandparents, feel right at home.
And when my cousins moved out to Mundoolun in Jimboomba, I would spend days and weeks with them in my teenage years, exploring the scrub, chasing cows, riding bikes, swimming in waterholes, screaming SNAKE and trying to catch yabbies. I would eventually move out there for a few years in my late teens and love the sound of green tree frogs at night, of thick raindrops on tin roofs and motorbikes streaking across the dry countryside.
So between the moves throughout Capalaba, Wellington Point, Cleveland, Tewantin, Runcorn (where I spent my teenage years), Jimboomba, and wherever a certain caravan was parked, my concept of home has roughly been a roving venture.
In my adult life I've lived in Armidale NSW, Kangaroo Point, East Brisbane, Browns Plains, Heritage Park, Annerley and South Brisbane.
So what's home to me?
A safe space, a space where I can sleep comfortably, feel loved, listen to music, write my poems, cook a mean feed and know that I can come to at anytime, in any situation, without judgement or vilification.
So why all this talk of home?
Well I've recently lived in a house where hippies ruled and the garden was king. A beautiful house, full of love and laughter.
Then shit got weird. Well, it was always a bit weird. Flatmates that want constant attention and wanna be best friends can get tiring. But when flatmates like that will do anything for friendship, like inviting wandering junkies into the home, that's a bit strange. And when said junky takes a friends bike from the back yard, that's a bit shit. But when said junky 'loses' bike so brings back a $4g bike as replacement, that's just suspect. But hey! At least she bought a bike back yeah? (That bike was taken to the cops and had been reported stolen... so...)
Then when said junkie is snooping around the house a week later after just inviting herself in, that's a bit creepy.
Then when said junkie walks into my room while I'm sleeping, hungover and groggy and steals my wallet, you'd think something had to be done right?
You see I loved that house, wanted to live there for at least a year, but the concept of locks has boggled the mind of my weed smoking, "the universe has the answers" flatmate. And when the rest of the house broached this subject with him, he nearly threw the keys at us in a huff and puff and blow your home away.
So I'm leaving, shell on my back and antennae strapped tight to my head.
Tying this huge tirade together (thank you if you've made it this far) is the fact that I'm co-ordinating the Storytelling section of this year's Home Festival on July 21st at Raymond Park, Kangaroo Point. Poetry, storytelling, spoken word, theatre, jamming, roving performances etc. Yep we'll be living, loving and learning about home and what it means to all the various demographics of the local 4169, 4101 etc postcodes. It's Home Festival! So what does home mean to you? Got a story to tell? What's in your street? Any ghosts? Where's home to you and how do you define it? How is it destroyed? How is it upheld? Have you lived in the same house since like forever and what does that mean home is to you? Is home just a pillow? Is home a place in your heart? Is it a smell/touch/feel/sight?
I know if I've been travelling, there's nothing like the sight of that big brown dusty river to make me feel like I'm home.