We've just returned from a week sailing the Whitsundays—a truly beautiful place. This was our fourth visit to the region, and we'll never tire of it, I'm sure.
However, having spent the past six years living in Singapore, I had a sense that I was in a foreign world while mingling with our fellow Australians. This left me wondering about 'belonging' to wherever you live, and this obviously plays a part in whether one is happy with their life in their country or town of residence.
Living in Singapore has spoiled me—I now expect perfection wherever I go eg clean, tidy, green public places, and I have to say the state of the carpet at the Brisbane domestic airport, especially when compared to the terminals in Singapore, was rather shocking, as was the state of rubbish bins. I know how ridiculous this sounds, but in Singapore, even the bins are spotlessly clean!
After a week away, I stepped through the doors at Changi Airport and was hit by the familiar blast of warm, humid air that smells distinctively of Asia and the tropics, and it was like calming a baby with a pacifier.
I love greenery, and I'm a bit of a neat freak, so Singapore really is perfect for me. I also love that the shops are always open so there is a sense that I can have whatever I want whenever I want it. If I should return to Australia one day, anxiety will no doubt set in at 6pm when the shops close their doors. It's not that I'm an obsessive shopper, or even a regular shopper—it's just that I like knowing that everything is accessible at any time.
But it's also about life 'happening'—you can go down Orchard Road late at night and be greeted with masses of people out strolling, shopping and/or eating. A walk down the Pitt Street mall in Sydney or Queen Street mall in Brisbane after 6pm is an entirely different story, and perhaps not something one would contemplate for safety reasons.
Having said that, my brother and his family and all the in-laws are perfectly happy living in our hometown of Rockhampton, and my mother absolutely loves living in Brisbane. So, what's important therefore, is not where you were born, or even where you live, but where you feel you belong. Hopefully, the latter two are one and the same.