"A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions."- Oliver Wendell Holmes
Holding my suitcase and closing the door behind me. This is the moment I begin my journey, letting go of everything and exploring. All of these emotions flutter through my body; excitement, nervousness, sadness, adrenaline..... escaping. For me it is the entrance to happiness, whether it is the English countryside, or abroad. I love to escape, to get lost, smell the air of a different place and to feel the warmth of The Sun coming down on my skin.
In the past few years I've been going away more than I have ever done before in my entire life. My biggest obstacle has always been flying. Not quite a fear but an anxiousness of the unknown, of not being in control, and to be honest that is probably always going to be there. I'll admit that's the worst part of any journey that I take. When I look through the tiny window of the plane and everything that looked like a tiny toy town just a minute ago, is now gradually getting bigger and coming closer, such a sense of relief washes over me, the plane beginning its descent and landing back safe on the ground. The past few years of my life have been difficult, and going away has been a kind of escape. I come back home feeling more in love, happier, as if my body has been recharged and recalibrated. Everything that I've missed being away is coming closer to me and I'm longing to see it. Going away is my off switch. Where there are no appointments, work, and very little stress. I find that the things other people might find stressful to me are relaxing. Those massively delayed trains, planes and boats a perfect chance to relax and forget what's happening in my life.
There's so much going on in life and with no respite. We're constantly being fed information and making choices. Phones always vibrating with an update of something going on in The World. When you stop dead on the train tracks you're forced to take stock of things with no distractions. Nothing to do but sit and wait.
I'm a pretty simple person by and large. I have my routines and my habits. I watch my favourite shows on Netflix. I have a favourite cup to drink from and a favourite pair of jogging bottoms I lounge about the house in. Three alarms every morning to start my day off and a long list of others. But my biggest comfort is my home and there is a big part of me that is afraid of letting this go. Of not being familiar with my surrounding and having a present nostalgia, with all of my memories close by. But there is also a part of me that longs for a sense of freedom and isolation that being away from my home gives to me. I dream of those long, hazy, stretched out days where I forget to look at the time, content with it passing by. Going away is a taste of what life would be like in a different place, a second identity (like The Italians and their love of masks), a magical universe where you never want it to end. I really love being in that world; walking, exploring and hearing the flutter of languages around me, like music echoing in the streets. The sound of sea water in the night, waves hitting against rocks, or flapping clothes hanging on washing lines between the apartments outside.
Walking around and seeing a different part of the world is such a beautiful experience. I feel so vulnerable and insignificant without having the familiarity of somewhere. Like I've just been dropped in to see another section of such a massive world. The taste of the water, the smell of the food, the different faces walking past you. Everything like a fragment of something bigger, just a taste. All the faces in my vision I might never see again, the children, the young and the old.
Walking around a new surrounding, getting lost, finding new paths, tracks, and trails. I feel like I'm in a movie and nothing feels real. Leaving the map on my hotel bed and finding the hidden gems of a city. Places to eat where the locals like to wine and dine, long dreamy exhausted walks, dipping my feet into warm water and watching the world go to sleep from an open window. Those are the precious moments and the ones I look back on, remember and smile.
At the end of a trip, as I pack away my final bits (the hurricane of mess i've made in a matter of days!) to make my way back home, I realise that my journey has been exactly how it was meant to be. A spontaneous discovering, a medium to feel free, on a beautiful adventure and a new part of your travels. Leaving always comes with mixed emotions. The overwhelming feeling of sadness to be going home coupled with the excitement of seeing my family. Like being pushed and pulled at the same time. I know I can't wait to escape and learn more, to see every nook and cranny of the world...... slowly..... bit by bit.....but always coming home.