I have a funny relationship with my hometown. On the surface, Huddersfield doesn't have a massive appeal. The town centre has fallen into a shell of a working town, largely populated with empty shops or the rinse and repeat line up of pawn shop - takeaway - gambling shop, to the beat of a repeated background of a childhood cartoon.
Immediately from the edge of the town centre, the vibe changes. That surface first impression is overshadowed by true hometown pride. Proper Yorkshire countryside with rolling hills, pockets of nature thriving and hidden gems that I will endlessly shout about. It's where I spent 20 years of my life, always having a love/hate relationship.
The nostalgia for Huddersfield still gives me a sense of pride. While I may have a love/hate relationship with the dwindling town centre, the suburbs and the countryside where I grew up is pure love.
I grew up with views of rolling hills of Huddersfield, spending summer evenings climbing trees that edged the fields in front of our house, or getting lost in the snickets of the village before setting up base at the football field or playground nearby. While my days of climbing trees aren't anywhere near as common as I'd like (read: non-existant), pulling up to my parent's house, the same house I spent 20 years growing up in, means instant comfort and calm.
There are still a handful of familiar faces on the street, with old childhood friends pulling up for infrequent visits. The seasons pass through the fields in front, never becoming a boring view. The generalisation of village life continues; neighbours catching up on driveways, the vague ins and outs of acquaintances being a primary topic of conversation. The same Indian that I forever exclusively ate scampi & chips in still thrives, the corner shop where I stocked up on ice pops or chose a Red Bull because I thought it was the grown-up option still has the same customers.
There's something to be said for the power of nostalgia in the town you grew up in. Especially if, like me, it was the only place you'd ever lived. While Huddersfield on the surface and in the town centre leaves a lot to be desired, the suburbia that surrounds it is my own happy place. I will near certainly always bond better with biggish cities as an adult, but heading home to see my parents or going to the dentist - the same one I've been to since I was born - will forever be both escapism and home. True home.
I love the seemingly mundane that causes rippled conversations for days on end. I love that the spots I used to hangout in have gone relatively untouched for 25+ years. I love that meeting up with old friends means reliving memories from our young teens that still feel so fresh for all of us.
Yes, city life is what I'm drawn to for the long-term future, but hometown nostalgia, hometown pride and conversation is where my heart is.