I flew back to Melbourne on a one-way ticket a week ago.
Last February I visited for a month after my job 'finished'. I loved it - spending time with my family, reading, swimming - but I remember looking out the window as I drove interstate or caught the train to the other side of town to visit a friend, thinking I just couldn't see myself in Melbourne. I couldn't see where I'd live or what I'd do.
I was ready to return home to London.
Thanks to some vigorous encouragement by my good (writer) friend Amanda Saint, while she established and built-up Retreat West, I moved writing out of hobby status and got involved in the writing world. It started with this blog and Twitter (using Books for Dummies and a healthy vocabulary of swear words), as well as reading more widely, studying as I read (it was a good excuse for the time I spent doing it), and producing more and more of my own work.
By the end of 2013 I'd been to Word Factory UK and Spread The Word events, retreats by different fabulous people in Sheepwash, Exmoor and Portugal, and almost met my 25k word short story collection target.
And I'd decided it was time to move back to Melbourne.
Lots of things went into that decision, and yesterday while my dad was driving me to another appointment, I said to a friend how strange it is to look out the window and feel the thrill of being here. A sense of belonging again.
Tomorrow I'm going to listen to Lisa Dempster, Director of the Melbourne Writers' Festival, query a panel of experts on 'Writing Now.' Next week I'll be at The Wheeler Centre to hear David Vann and then I'm meeting at Writers Victoria to talk about volunteering with them.
And on Saturday I'm going down to a beach house where there's no internet. I'm going to read, write, hopefully throw away the crutches (finally) and fall into the salt water, and feel like I'm home again.
Last year was a significant one for me, and it feels now like it doesn't necessarily matter where I am, so long as I'm writing and around people who love words as much as I do. I can't wait to get involved with, and share my experience of, the writing world down here.