The Long Road Home

In 2003 my husband’s company sent us to Ilkley in the UK for what was supposed to be a two-year stint. One of those opportunities that seems both blessing and curse – a great opportunity, but also a wrench. Both of us had moved around a lot as kids (me in Australia, Stewart more globally), so the idea of settling down permanently was something we both really wanted. But how do you say no to the chance to live in another country for a couple of years, all expenses paid? We left in June 2003, and weren’t home until September 2006.

We didn’t do quite as much travelling as we’d expected – partly work pressures, and partly because we kept thinking there’d be plenty of time, no need to rush. (As a result, I still haven’t been to Paris, and we didn’t ever make it to go walking on Ilkley Moor – baht ‘at or otherwise.) But we did make it to Barcelona, and Switzerland, and Italy, and Berlin, and Belgium, and Amsterdam, and Singapore. And we did travel to lots of interesting places in the British Isles. Thanks to us both getting digital cameras quite early on, we also have a terrifyingly large number of photos.

Being a poet, I’ve had to work quite hard to resist the temptation to crank out heaps of travel poems. Instead, I’ve tended to write the odd haibun about aspects of the things we’ve seen, done, experienced. And I need to – some of the details are already getting pretty blurry. It would be a shame to lose them.

So that’s what this sequence is: a repository of photographs and completed haibun for, from, and about our travels. Life in the other hemisphere. And our long road back home.



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