Leaving home made me love home

The tiny seaside town I grew up in holds the biggest place in my heart. I mean, who doesn’t love the seaside? But, if you’d have asked me at 18, just before I moved to university, how I felt about my hometown, my answer would be incredibly different to what it is now.

I chose to go to a university only an hour’s drive from my home, which would suggest otherwise, but in reality I was itching to leave the small town behind. With a population of just over 7000, my hometown is the definition of “everyone knows everyone”. You can’t even put out the bins without seeing numerous people you know. As I got older, I became increasingly frustrated with the trapped feeling my home gave me. The shops all shut at four, the pubs at seven, the public transport was appalling, and if you wanted a night out the taxi home would cost you £40 alone. The thought of living in a city, or just anywhere else, was hugely exciting to me. 

When I finally moved to uni, my relationship with my hometown shifted almost immediately. A nostalgia I hadn’t felt before occurred, and I missed the weird little things about my home that I’d never considered. I missed the beach the most. I can’t believe how much I took it for granted, and I was so lucky to have grown up by the sea. I missed the walks along the cliffs and watching the sunset, now every time I visit home, I always take a long walk. I also missed the strange little events the town hosted, a 1940’s weekend, a carnival every summer, a small (borderline crappy) little market every Wednesday and Saturday morning. I even missed the local pub, where we’d pay extortionate prices for a single vodka and coke, which tasted more like water than anything else. 

It took me moving away to realise the special little features the town had to offer. Every time I visit home now, it’s something I look forward to so much. 

Although I’d never move back to my hometown (I love living in a city far too much), I love going home. If I lived there again, I know I’d soon be bored, and once more would start to take its beauty for granted. So, it’s best for me to appreciate the nostalgia, and enjoy my time when I visit.

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Sophie Colley

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October 2021
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The University of East Anglia’s official student newspaper. Concrete is in print and online.

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