In Return to Tipasa, Camus wrote how returning to your homeland can bring you alive again. For me, this is certainly true of my birthplace, Wollongong. Over the years i have moved 1200 kilometres away from my home town although I email fortunate enough to remain by the seaside and experience the beauty the beach lifestyle offers.
However coming home offers me something different, whether it’s the air that is fresher and cooler than the sub-tropical north, the sun that gently warms rather than being a burning orb in the sky turning everything brown or the emotional and spiritual connection I have with this land, a trip south to the homeland brings me alive and I see the world’s beauty through different eyes. There is nothing quite like the south coast of New South Wales, the imposing majesty of the Great Dividing Range to the west with many lookouts giving an awe inspiring view of the ocean and foreshore. The feeling of being part of something bigger than myself and my troubles – I can look at the same mountain range back in Queensland and enjoy the same sea. The wonder that I feel in Mother Nature’s playground provides me with endless thoughts for short stories, historical fiction and photography. My creative spirit is seized with new enthusiasm as soon as my feet hit the sands.
Prior to my most recent trip I had lost a valued part of my soul – swimming. I have a life long love of the beach and the mesmerising tantalising beauty of the sea. I moved away from swimming as enjoyment and made it about competition and pushing myself harder. For an anxious creative type this was a bad move and only resulted in a failed swim and the return of panic attacks. My subconscious demons told me that if I didn’t swim I wouldn’t have another panic attack and I listened to them. I ignored the best anti-anxiety and anti-depressant that nature can provide – the freedom of weightlessness in the sea.
Returning to Wollongong returned me to my love of the sea and in 13.7C water at Beverly Whitfield Pool, Shellharbour I found love again. Thank you Wollongong and thank you Camus for reminding me of the importance of our homelands and their role in personal spiritual revival.