“Home is people. Not a place. If you go back there after the people are gone, then all you can see is what is not there any more.”

So at the end of every term, in the four or five weeks before the next one starts, I travel from university in York to home in Torquay. This has many benefits for me: my parents are kind enough to put me up, food and bills included, for free; I have the opportunity to work pretty much as many hours as I want in order to acquire money to drink away when I go back to York; and I get the opportunity to see my family and friends again. Yet I always find myself wishing I was back up North long before term starts. Whilst Torquay may be my home, the town I grew up in and home to my oldest friends, I never feel like I belong: to me, at least, it seems that I am caught between two worlds, and going to the old world when I’m so settled in the new is always going to be difficult.

It’s not that I don’t love Torquay (though I bitch about it a hella lot when I’m in York). Despite the rampant tourists in summer and the odorous youths all year round, despite the small-town feel and the often grimy streets, there is some beauty in the English Riviera. Generally warm (though often wet) weather, beautiful beaches, winding nighttime drives: it certainly isn’t as bad as I make it out to be. And of course it is home to some of my favourite people in the world: the people I work with; whom I went to school with; my best friends. As a naturally introverted personality, who – especially as a child – found it hard to connect with people (for some reason they weren’t attracted to my charming personality, can’t think why), I care a great deal for the people who have stuck with me after all these years.

But I can’t pretend that, even now, I don’t find myself counting down the days to when I can return to York. I’ve only been in Torquay for two days, and already I’m looking forward to getting back to my shit student house. To grab a coffee at Kitchen, or food and drink in town, or just to head to someone’s house and play some games or watch some T.V. It could be anything, it could be nothing at all. But that unpredictability, that complete freedom to literally do whatever I fucking want, is so so special. And whilst I wasn’t quite used to it in first year, now I can’t imagine going back to anything else.Which given that the rest of my life is just around the corner is pretty damn good to be honest.

So I guess I’m lucky, in a way. Luckier than most anyway. I have two places which I feel I can rightly call home: both of them filled with beautiful places and beautiful people. I might long for one or the other at different times, but at the end of the day I’m not unhappy in either. And I’m looking forward to spending an awesome four weeks in Torquay with my favourite people (I love you guys in York too, please don’t leave me), earning some money, and taking a well earned break from uni. They say home is where the heart is; I’ve always had a big heart.

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