From Devon to Bristol: On Transitions, Moving and a Sense of Home

11/11/2014 10:43 GMT | Updated 10/01/2015 10:59 GMT

At the end of the day, it isn't where I came from. Maybe home is somewhere I'm going and never have been before.

- Warsan Shire

I've written before about "Roots Versus Wings" - about my own need to stay grounded whilst feeling expansive, not contracted. Today, I'm going to write about the practicalities of this: the in-between phases and the goodbyes; the strange periods of waiting as you ready yourself to leave one place, but haven't left yet.

Until I was eighteen, I'd moved house once. I'd always lived in the same general (suburban) area. Aged eighteen, I left home for university. I've stopped counting how many times I've moved since. This is a combination of factors. I like to roam. Modern life is limiting in so many ways, so at least a bit of roaming about affords me a sense of freedom. I also believe in finding life situations for one's self that feel as right as possible. Not right? What can be changed? I follow this as best as I can.

So, I've moved, in order to put myself in locations that felt most right. Beyond this, I've lived through the practicalities that many renters know well. Renting is precarious. Occasionally, I've found myself moving to escape landlords/landladies behaving in deeply inappropriate ways (e.g: the live-in landlord who turned up drunk in my bedroom one night and wouldn't leave). Other times, I've lucked out and rented from brilliant homeowners, but it's all so variable. So...I've moved more times than I might have in an ideal world.

Here's the ridiculous thing: I hate moving. I absolutely loathe it. The househunting, the unsettledness of the whole endeavour, packing up my belongings once again. However, I loathe feeling stuck even more and so I do what feels necessary. Right at this point, I've discovered what suits me best is having a base, with occasional breaks/weekends away to clear my head and keep my energy flowing.

For the last two years, that base has been Devon. I moved here, exhausted from city living, wanting to moor myself in this green landscape. Two years on and I feel ready for a city again. I miss having a local, walkable independent cinema. I miss real ethnic diversity. I miss really, really not needing a car. Inevitably, once I've moved, I'll miss wide, open space, Devon's rivers, woodlands and ocean.


(The river Dart, Totnes).


(A stretch of South Devon ocean)

...and river swimming. Oh, will I miss river swimming.


(The river Dart at Staverton, South Devon).


Still, for now I feel I need to be based in a city. I'm currently studying Dance Movement Psychotherapy part-time in Bristol. This suits me well: I'm interested in creativity for therapeutic purposes. So, I find myself beginning to househunt in Bristol. Not a city I know well at all yet, but one that seems like it'd meet various needs of mine; a city with an arty pulse that appeals. I find myself getting on with writing, saying goodbye to Devon, and waiting, trying to be patient. Waiting for the next life phase, the next place.

I don't believe I'll know home til it finds me, but I hope I'm on my way. Perhaps that's the best any of us can hope for.