My family often jokes about having gypsy blood, but with a heritage of Polish and Austrian Jews high-tailing it over to Ellis Island, Italian and Russian connections and an Aunt actually called Romany, the joke has never been anything other than 100% serious. My heritage is a story of moving away, it courses through our blood and is etched in our souls. We never feel bound by solid roots to our homes, always nostalgic for another place or time, never quite settled or with our people.
My mum left the Jersey Shore in 1971. Stifled perhaps by being the child of second generation immigrants herself, she willingly joined the Euro-rail set of kids a little too young for the summer of love, and met a Rod Stewart fan with a motorbike in London. She stayed for 26 years before she returned to the US, an expat in her country of birth, an accent that confused, a mindset of American youth adapted and aged in suburban England through the 80s and 90s, a love of bagels with a schmear and Coronation St.
So it was that my time came, and at 25, my chosen traveling companion in life and I left England for Australia. A comparatively well worn path indeed, we were turning our backs on a post 9/11 world, moving less for sunshine and Bondi Beach, and more for a feeling of distance from what our world had become. We no longer felt safe in the City, and the simplistic appeal of a Southern Hemisphere hideout was huge. We watched the twin towers fall while holidaying in Sydney and decided to stay there, far away, disconnected.
My little set of traveling companions has grown from 2 to 4 during 13 years in this great brown land. We have our own confusing accents, our own mix of cultural influences, and my nostalgia for childhood holidays in the US and for walking through 2000 years of history in London both send familiar yet jarring pangs through my core almost daily.
My children are Australian in the same way I was British and my mum was American- kind of. Just about. And as the beat of life goes on, the inevitable lure of change has once again laid itself before us.