Six months have passed since I arrived home. Six months since the trip that consumed my life ended. I recorded at the time just how deflated I felt in those first few days/weeks. Now I’d like to tell you about the subsequent months.
Once the dust settled, the seeing my most important people for the first time was over, and the reality of being home had not only hit me but had saturated fully in, I saw my life with new eyes. And I loved it. I had this fizz of excitement every day. Every thing looked brighter and had more depth. I smiled so much more; whilst commuting and watching a man smile at his phone or a lady with cool dangling earrings. I cooked so much, and for friends. My new little house in London become the ultimate oasis for me and my little life. I started my job and, thankfully, completely loved it. I felt energised in the day, rushing around the office, using my brain so much more than I even hoped to do. I cycled home through the alive streets, pondering thoughts on life and what the point of it all was and why I was so bloody happy. I got home, collapsed on the sofa and bounced into the kitchen to cook up something quick and easy and healthy and delicious. I ate and chatted rubbish with my lovely housemates before sculking upstairs, doing my skincare, a few stretches, turning on my sunset light and reading my book before sleeping. In a private room with no snorers, no people coming in late, no weird smells and no suspicious moans. So yes, I loved travelling and no, I didn’t feel ready to come home, but now I am home, I am so completely content with being here.
The first moment I realised I was happy exactly were I stood was when I saw a Flix bus rolling around the corner by my office on my walk to work. I looked through the high windows at the travellers folded up in their seats. I thought back to the feeling of arriving into a new city, a new country. Pure excitement, but the requirement to muster all the energy to do that excitement justice. I blinked back to my sight of the office as the bus crawled away. Not one part of me wanted to be on that bus rather than walking to work. It surprised me. Part of me doubted how I could have loved travelling so much if I could live a settled life without longing for it. Part of me knew I always loved everything I did fully, with no space to long for anything different.
Whilst I don’t long to travel right now, travel continues to be a large part of my life. I have met so many people from the places I visited and have been able to connect with them over tales of familiar food or cities. It brings me joy to remember the moments and it seems to bring them joy to discuss their home whilst living so far from it. Many friends I met whilst travelling have passed through London and we’ve gone for lunches or pints or I’ve hosted them for a few days. Having travelled to the same strange place can be an instant shared experience when I meet someone new, and one that often yields the best connection. I’ve also found it to be a huge help in talking with important people at work - it turns out a lot of partners enjoy travel too!
So travel. Travel for the joy it gives you in of itself. But also travel for the foundation it gives you to find more joy in your everyday life.
As happy as I am in my settled life, I still of course plan to travel. Whenever I can, and in whatever form I can. That means eating foreign cuisine in small restaurants in London; watching travel documentaries; reading books on travel; taking opportunities with work to tour the country visiting universities for recruitment; and, to the extent my annual leave allows, travelling again.
I will continue to blog when I can and when the feeling strikes me, on all things travel.