Here’s to second homes

by Guy Thompson

We were looking forward to going to bed after 40+ hours of flying and layovers. We were literally halfway around the world.

Tony wanted to do a quick toast before we turned in, though.

We raised the glasses provided – “To second homes.”

It was only my third time to visit this cozy home on Wangary Terrace in Seaview Downs, a suburb south of Adelaide, South Australia. The Tonkins, Tony and Trish, and their son, Matthew, had first welcomed me there almost 30 years ago, and have been like family ever since.

And the home and guest house behind it have seemed like a second home right from the start. It isn’t unusual for me to have to clarify what I mean when I tell people I have family in Adelaide, Australia. 


My Aussie family, the Tonkins – Tony and Trish, front, and new daughter-in-law Maryanne and son Matthew

I returned with my own family in 2000 for a week and again back in the fall (spring down there), this time to attend a wedding. It would also be the shortest stay at just under four days, arriving late Friday night and leaving first thing Tuesday morning. In reality, we traveled almost more than the time we spent with the Tonkins.

People travel for different reasons. Some travel to the same place time after time. Others go somewhere to sit or lie around. I can do that at home. Not that I do…

This trip wasn’t made to sightsee, although we tried to fit a little bit of that in. We spent part of Saturday at a wildlife park for the opportunity to hold a Koala (check that off bucket list) and a little time in the city pedestrian mall, Rundle Street. Monday, my son and I toured the football stadium. That was it on being tourists.

The rest of the time we tried to spend with the Tonkins, sitting around, talking. Catching up. And, of course, attending the wedding, where we met even more family. This was, to us, a pretty cool wedding as Matthew, the groom, had been our ringbearer 24 years earlier. The Tonkins had traveled all the way to Indiana for our wedding, and we were thrilled we had the opportunity to go to his.

Why is it a second home to me? That’s hard to answer with any precision. The best I can say is, it just feels like home. I’m as happy there as I am in my own home with my family here in Indiana.

I’ll admit there are a few places around the world I consider “second homes.” Twenty-five years ago, I lived in Germany for six months with the International 4-H Youth Exchange Program (IFYE for short). There are a couple of families there that I view the same as the Tonkins – they are like family and I felt right at home with them from the start.

And I’m looking forward to the day when I can travel back there, too. Perhaps to sightsee a little. Revisit places I saw all those years ago. But, more importantly, to visit with family.

“To second homes.” Wherever they may be.