It’s 22 minutes past midnight on a Saturday night. The tram driver sees me sprinting up the footpath to the station. He could have drove off but instead he stayed put. Revelers are on their way to parties unknown, the weary are on their way home. On most nights, I’d be one of the happy party-goers knocking down that last drink on the tram before arriving at the bar. But tonight is different.
It’s my second visit to Gothenburg, Sweden’s second largest city. I have a few friends whom I met in Central and South America who call the city home. And don’t get me wrong, Gothenburg is a really nice city to live in and to visit. Rocky islands dot the archipelago just off the coast while cobblestones and historic buildings line the city centre’s streets. Seriously, it’s a nice place.
Staring out the window, I realize that I’ve been here too long. Nearly two weeks. In a few days I’ll be flying to Amsterdam to meet my old housemates from Sydney. But for now, I’m sitting on a tram on my way “home”, to my mate’s flat. It’s been over a year (just over 17 months to be exact) since I had a place that I could call home. Nowadays home is a series of couches in people’s homes, sleeping bags in tents, hammocks in shacks, or bunk beds in hostels. Throw in a few uncomfortable seats on overnight buses and you get the idea. It’s a transient life.
“When will you stop travelling?” is a question I get asked a lot and it’s something I’m starting to think more about these days. My savings account looks like a stock market mauled by bears, my clothing has holes in them, and my backpack is starting to fall apart. But I’ve still got this longing to visit new places, try different foods, explore underwater depths, and walk along lesser known paths.
The tram comes to an unceremonious halt at my station. It’s nearly 1 in the morning. I’m only ten minutes away from the city centre but these streets are quiet, residential, homely. It’s a far cry from the bright lights of NYC, the snow capped mountains of Bolivia, and the tropical waters of Thailand. This flat feels like home. But it’s not my home.