Much in the same way as I love the feeling of travelling I love the possibilities of living somewhere new but I don't think I've ever felt I "belonged" somewhere as much as I did when I first moved to Durham. I was terrified when we first arrived of course, for some reason I spent most of the journey panicking that I would be ostracised for bringing too much stuff with me (I needn't have worried) and that I wouldn't make any friends (ditto). But within two weeks, once I'd survived fresher's flu and navigated a nightmarish train journey back to Wales, I felt more at home in Durham than I'd ever felt anywhere in my life. This wasn't an indictment on my much-loved family and friends, just a reflection on how much of a fish out of water I'd been. Leaving Durham three years later was one of the most difficult things I've ever done - and remains so, seven years of difficult decisions later.
By now, almost everyone I know is pretty settled - most people seem to pick a place and stay put, whether by birth or by choice. That happened pretty quickly with a lot of my friends - people dispersed to various locations once we left university and then seem to have remained there. People often look at me strangely when I talk about moving around the country or when I happily travel 100 miles for a night out with friends. It's odd because I don't consider myself particularly well travelled. The wanderlust is unintentional, I like to arrive at new places but I also like to leave - if you've ever met my dog Roscoe you'll know he is also very much of this persuasion!
So, true to form the latest move - to Nottingham, a mere four months ago - was decided pretty much on the spur of the moment, I'd been offered a job and the boy had been made redundant so we thought we'd try a change of scenery. Unexpectedly it was a bigger adjustment than I'd been expecting, somehow I'd become settled whilst I wasn't looking. The job I left behind was one I loved and only left because it was made very clear to me that, however hard I worked and whatever additional responsibilities I took on, I'd never be able to earn a promotion. Actually leaving was heartbreaking but after months of frustration it was the only choice. Similarly, I cried the day we left our little house in Leamington - it may have been too small and possessed of an extremely irritating landlord but it was the boy and my first home together. For someone who claims to thrive on change all of this upheaval was harder to deal with than I remembered...
I feel like I belong everywhere and nowhere all at once - home is where my boyfriend and my dog are, where my family are, where my friends are. I could be happy anywhere - a big city, a small town, the side of a mountain - which is a blessing in many ways. At the same time part of me wants to find a place where I can put down roots, knowing that I'm not going to have to pack my life into boxes and deconstruct all my bookcases yet again. Is that part of getting older or will I still get the urge to gallivant around the country when I'm 60?