Home Thoughts From Abroad

It’s funny sometimes, living in my third home country.

My first home was Canada; I grew up there, studied, worked in theatre, then took a ‘one year working holiday’ to come to Australia - which became a fifteen-year side trip to New Zealand. Six years ago today, I found myself back in Sydney, which has turned slowly into home, too.

Once in a while though, I’ll catch sight of something, or there’ll be a story on the news; and the feeling of those places will return.

Until recently, I hadn’t known about the Sydney Fernery at the Royal Botanic Garden - we walked by one afternoon, quite by chance, and popped in to have a look - and immediately, I felt like a Kiwi again.

It’s such an icon of that country, but it’s also such a feature of the landscape there. The forests are thick with ferns, big and small; so to be immersed in that environment again left me wishing for more. At this time of year especially, when there are fresh leaves unfurling, bright new growth everywhere.

I’ve been here six years, now - and it’s 22 years since I left Canada. I miss them both, and get back to those homes when I can; but it’s good that I can still have a sensation of being there, if I need it.

The way the leaves divide, and subdivide, and subdivide again; the patterns, their shadows, the curve of an unfurling stalk - that’s enough for me. That’s home.

Robert Catto

I'm a Canadian-Kiwi photographer in Sydney Australia, specialising in performing arts, live events, editorial and corporate / commercial work.