Recently I returned to my marina HQ after a packed week away of talks and meetings and travelling and not enough exercise. After the concrete jungle of Tokyo, stuffy trains and throngs of people, I was so happy to be by the space and quiet of the sea once more. Shibiya-san, one of the marina staff, said something to me with a smile as I wandered over to see what he was working on. I asked another for the translation. ‘He says ‘Welcome Home‘,’ said Mama-san, smiling at me warmly. ‘We miss you when you’re away.’ I had to gulp back the lump in my throat, grinning wide and teary-eyed. They are right – this is my home now. For now at least.
Home has meant all sorts of things to me in my life – an ever changing role of people and places and, perhaps, ideas. ‘Home home’ is Rutland – our family HQ. Nearly a year ago I left the warm familiarity and choked a cheerio as bravely as I could, hugging the dog with a feeling of betrayal as I reassured him I would be back soon. I still won’t be home for another 18 months yet.
Just before Christmas I longed for home. I missed my family and friends. It had only caught up with me then, after months on the go – months where my home was defined by my bike and tent and boats, my garden an ever changing parade of scenery and countries and neighbours. I have grown into my new life out here though and, while I miss family and friends from time to time, I have my international family here in Japan. There will be a part of me which finds it hard to leave in April and wave goodbye.
Still, I shall have Gulliver – my new home and mate for much of 2012. (He and Hercules have met and they seem fine with the arrangement). Gulliver arrived at the marina two weeks ago and has been making me grin ever since. Jamie and Emily of Global Boatworks have done a wonderful job (again) and I am really enjoying tinkering with kit and getting him set up. I have been out with him a few times already, both with and without passengers. He is beautiful to row and will be a perfect home on the ocean. Thanks to everyone who helped get him from Rutland to Tokyo, out of customs and then safely installed at the marina – it was quite a mission. And thanks to my team at home for packing him up with all the gear (also a mission) and to all my sponsors who helped furnish him with kit.
So, here’s to homes and all that they mean to us – wherever you are and whatever home means for you at this point in your life. May they be filled with sunshine and smiles.
Sarah and Gulliver x
PS Mum is coming out to visit in 5 weeks time – woop woop!
PPPS The title of this blog is taken from the very brilliant song ‘Home‘ by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes