Hiraeth – a Welsh word with no analogue English equivalent, is a concept akin to the longing of homesickness and the deep desire to be home, coupled with both sadness and the joy of remembering. Hiraeth is an emotion that has haunted me throughout the time I have been living away from Wales – over twenty years. Each time I go back, I feel the wellspring of energy from the mountains fill me up, and when I have to leave again, I feel it draining from me and in its place is hiraeth.
Tomorrow, I’m starting a journey – a journey home. At this moment I am full of many conflicting sensations and emotions, not least that of the heightening of hiraeth which happens when I’m going home. I feel a little anxious. I feel excited. I feel joyous. By Wednesday when I cross the border from England to Wales, I am pretty sure I’ll be flying. The purpose of the journey is to attend a conference and to do field work in connection with my PhD project. I’ll be interviewing folk far and wide, and writing lots too.
Next Sunday morning I’ll be reading from my writing on Hiraeth to the annual conference of AWWE (The Association of Welsh Writing in English) at Gregynog Hall, near Newtown in Powys.
You can follow my journey on my Instagram and on Twitter feed by following @writingwalking on either. I’ll be attempting to update this blog each day during my journey, wifi willing.