“Brisbane,” said a friend over coffee, “is like a boring boyfriend.
“Dependable, but after a while you want to run away with someone more exciting.”
Her assessment got me thinking about the home town that I visit every year but haven’t truly lived in for a long, long time. And about the idea of “home” itself.
Does Brisbane really rank among the great cities of the world, as its civic leaders would have citizens believe? And does it matter if it doesn’t?
The thing, of course, is that just like the search for a life partner, everybody wants something different from a city. And what that is depends on who you are and what stage of life you are at.
A place can be home because it’s the only thing you know — and, even in this age of affordable and readily accessible travel, a remarkable number of people never stray far from where they were born.
There certainly is something comforting about familiar surroundings. Not least, of course, is the joy of being among family and friends.
When I was young, Brisbane was often referred to as a “big country town” where everybody knew everybody else.
I don’t recognise too many faces in the streets these days, but on three out of four trips to the CBD during my current visit, I’ve run into somebody I know.
That’s quite remarkable, until you consider that I’ve also stumbled upon people I know entirely by accident in the far bigger cities of Bangkok and London.
My point? Home is where your friends are — and you can find friends everywhere.