There’s no place like home, except maybe Byron Bay

I love this place. We all love it. The wild child, the chubba bubba and my mad keen surfer husband. It keeps calling us back, and we keep accepting the invitation and finding ourselves here.

I’ve caught here a plane here a couple of times, hitched a ride with my brother and his girlfriend all the way up the coast, and one set of school holidays when I was teaching and absolutely lost I caught the bus all the way to this eclectic place bursting with everything it squeezes in. One New Years I even managed to sprain my ankle in a gutter in the main street and have my now-husband-then-ex-boyfriend pick me up and carry me home. So yep we have a few memories in this joint.

This time we drove again, this time with two small monsters in the back and taking our time. We’ve stayed a week. We booked another week, and we are thinking we might stay another week and drive home a bit faster. We can’t quite leave yet. We’re not sure if we ever can. We’d like to stay, we’d love to make a life here. The winters are warm, the waves pump, and it’s an interesting place. But are we being too greedy? We have a beautiful beach at home and some world class waves. We have a house we love, our kids are happy there, our families are not too far, and we adore our friends. Could we really leave? What would pay the bills? Most of my jobs I could do from here and my husband is desperate for a new lease of life. Maybe Byron could be home.

But finances aside, do we fit here? Byron is a funny place. It is rich and varied and eclectic and busy. It can be pretentious and up itself, with ridiculous priced coffee and food (and wine I remember from last time!). It can be rough and violent and dangerous. And in the summer it swells up until it almost bursts at the seams. I can barely cope with parking at the supermarket in the summer at home, how on earth would a few thousand more people here all summer go with my calm and patient nature? And when the surf is so crowded in June that a guy ends up in a coma from getting hit in the head with a surfboard, maybe this place does not need any extra people. It is also international with language and colour and difference. It is beautiful, just beautiful. We could alternate between walking to the Pass, or Wategos or on the beach with the pram at Tallows every day. And my wild child could see his beloved lighthouse all the time!

But what would it really be like? I’m not hippy enough, or trendy enough, or fit enough for Byron. I don’t do Yoga, drink herbal tea, or surf very well. My kids would be okay, I think. Probably wake up at 5am for the rest of their lives, but alright. My husband would get his fix of surf. We would all miss our friends and our family terribly. And that right there is the clincher. Because even though I know somehow we would find somewhere to live, find some kind of employment and the kids would make friends, would we?

Not sure I’m quite ready to find out. Maybe another week will help us decide, or two…





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