I'm saving for a house at the moment, have been for the best part of a year. I'd been meaning to start properly saving a few years back, but I kept getting distracted. I'm 35, and it feels like something I should have my head around. A milestone I should have hit. I'm trying not to be too hard on myself though.
Because in the last five years, instead of buying a house, I've seen the world. I mean, I saw it when I was younger too, living in London and India. But there were some quiet years studying in Adelaide, poor and confused. This last little while, with a good job and a good wage, has opened things up again. It has felt amazing.
I spent three months in the States, on a road of plenty. I swooned at the South and the Deep South, drinking plum gin fizz and eating lobster every chance I got, danced till the small hours in my suede boots on a cold Nashville night. I fell in love with LA, that messy hustle, got moody over Big Sur and ate crab in the PNW. I got to explore deepest Iowa, all covered in snow.
Last year I went back to Europe, after quite a few years away. I felt at ease biking through East London, a town that always has my heart. Because no matter how many hundreds of times I go, I am in awe when I look up towards my favourite piece of history. I got to watch one of my best and oldest friends get married, and read Steinbeck in his (and her) honour. I stood completely alone, on a rainy morning in the north of Copenhagen to hear a prayer. A few days later I took a train north to walk through the summer grass at Hamlet's castle, and eat cake in the afternoon sun. Mornings and days spent reading and writing - taking in the world as slowly and as fully as I liked. I carried myself through the good days and the hard ones, in a town that felt too much. I drank wine at lunch and soaked up all the beauty I could manage in Paris. Because through it all, the coming and going and worry and beauty, just me and all those towns, I kept saying to myself 'all of this belongs to you'.
There's been more of course, countless trips home and weekends up and down the coast. Weekends at festivals and a hundred gigs I could never regret. Morning lattes because my locals make me smile, and I'll never stop buying all the books I can read.
In just a few days I'll be flying overseas again. I'm trying not to worry about being cautious, about my savings and the never-quite-there deposit, much as I romanticise a place of my own. I want to feel present and open to the world as it comes. My savings will manage, in six months or so I hope to have a house. But I don't want it at the cost of these experiences I love, of the experiences that shape who I am and how I live.
* the house in question will be in Adelaide. I cannot for the life of me even begin to fathom affording somewhere in Sydney.