Maybe you have the same connection with the land where you were brought up, reader, wherever that might be. Every time I visit mine I know it is only a matter of weeks until I have to turn my back on my beloved mountain and the beautiful coastline of Taranaki and head back to the hustle and bustle of England.
But while I have been here I have been enjoying favourite places of childhood: walks along the beach while watching the big cargo ships arriving and departing the port, silver and orange sunsets on the sea-soaked sand, $2 single scoop icecreams (which is really about £1 for what usually ends up being about two-and-a-bit scoops), sitting on my beanbag outside in the sunshine and watching the blackbirds and sparrows enjoy the bird food.
Before I go to sleep I can see the thousands of stars in a clear night sky and when I wake up I can hear the birdsong from tuis, starlings and sparrows.
By now, you’re wondering why I would ever leave such a beautiful land.
But, while our national icon is a flightless bird, we human versions do fly. We’ve always had to in order to see the rest of the world. We are brave and determined types who thrive on adversity and adventure.
And we’ve always had to travel long distances from our home shores to find many of these adventures.
From England I have an exciting base from which to explore parts of the world that would require many flying hours otherwise. From England I can depart before breakfast and be in any one of dozens of countries in time for lunch.
If you grew up in Britain I wonder if you have ever realised what that means – not just for your ability to escape a harsh winter and find some sun but for your view of the world, your experience of other cultures and (in some cases) the advantages you have.
Some of us Kiwis return home for good, the pull of our country becoming too strong to ignore, and others will forever return only temporarily, feeding that hunger with short doses of the beaches, mountains, endless deep green farmland and a sky of a blue so bright it often surprises newcomers.
I’m not sure yet which of those I will turn out to be. For the moment my wonderful and loving parents and sister are in New Zealand, but I’ve spent six years building up a life in the UK, with experiences I’ve learned so much from and friends who mean a lot to me. I’ll be sad to wave yet another goodbye to all that I love and care about here – but I’ll be excited to return to the UK and see what the next chapter of life has in store.