A Sense of Community

Just when I think I’m getting good at goodbyes a new one rips my heart open. Last June I left Melbourne cheery and eager start my next adventure. This time, tears came three days before my departure from Nhulunbuy.

Photo Credit: Sebastian Vitis
I wasn't crying because of all the ridiculously hot days, the boring days, or the drunkards that plagued my life there. I cried because somehow I felt like I belonged. Like people cared about me. I cried because I was leaving behind my community.

My sense of belonging was different in Melbourne. I had traveler friends, work friends, gym friends...connections that seemed so disjointed it felt like I scheduled my time on a Rolodex. It didn't feel like a community

In Nhulunbuy friends were a default part of The Territory (pun intended). Personal chats happened at work, running errands, or at any community event. Even when I wasn't a willing participant, social time happened. No schedules necessary.

Life is much better together.
All the chats and friendship meant my social circles intertwined too. Everyone was a friend of a friend and it wasn't odd for people to do things like lend their car to strangers for a day trip.

Even before I knew what was happening, I wrote in my first journal: “Nhulunbuy is wrapping its arms around me so tight I don't want to let go. Each day shows me its beauty or leaves me amazed with how wonderful people can be. It feels like they care so much and yet it feels effortless.”

Three months later my sentiment hadn't changed. I walked away from Nhulunbuy teary eyed because it felt like I was leaving a part of my family. I feel confident it was the right time for me to go but I also feel confident that one day I will return.