I know I promised recaps, but something different was on my heart today. It’s a bit more real than I typically get, but thanks for letting me share with you.
Wasn’t it only yesterday that I cut through clouds stretching from the Pacific to the Atlantic and beyond to be reunited with my friend in London?
While in reality I was simply plucked from one continent to another, I was truly transported to another world not entirely different, but complete with palaces and princes. Its shop-lined cobblestone streets had an element of unfamiliar magic that enveloped me.
As someone who isn’t entirely comfortable being alone in the unknown, this trip was a personal challenge to overcome some fears. Just getting there would be a personal triumph. And boy, did it feel good to be free of those fears. (In full disclosure, however, I basically followed my friend around once I got there.) Before I knew it, the notion of getting lost had left me and the comfort in discovery took its place.
This newfound freedom from fear was partly aided by digital disconnection, save plenty of Instagram sharing. Is it harsh to say that days later I continue to find most social media to be too noisy? And I know what you’re thinking – yes, I did just go to a blogging conference. I’m surprised at myself, too.
Stranger still than an over-sharer with a self-inflicted muzzle, the person who had always let fear dominate her decision-making had learned to feel at home amongst the clouds. At some unknown point she fell in love with London and the idea of exploring the world.
Then on Monday, the day before I was to head home, I traversed the city knowing that this enlightening adventure was nearing its end. My time was measured and a heaviness in my chest began to grow. How could something so great ever end? How was I so inexplicably crushed to be saying goodbye?
For the first time in a long time, maybe ever, home didn’t carry as big of a weight. Its gravitational pull wasn’t nearly as strong. Home didn’t define me as it had before. My life at home seemed smaller and mundane. I felt like a stranger in the familiar, in the life I had made for myself.
Some days I think it’s too late for me; that I have missed out on the limited amount of adventures and opportunities afforded me. My delayed exposure to the “travel bug” has somehow limited experiencing new countries and cultures and allowing them to shape me. A long vacation combined with a milestone-nearing birthday and a delayed root touch-up can do that to a person, I guess. It can make you feel unreasonably old and pessimistic even when you are having the time of your life.
Before going to bed on my last night in London, my friend and I watched the newly released Mumford and Sons Hopeless Wanderer music video. We laughed over the surprise stars and it was a nice moment between friends, even if there was the unexpected weighty sadness that I couldn’t keep from residing in my chest. While I would never have described myself as hopeless or a wanderer, the words sank in and the sadness pulsed.
“I will learn to love the skies I’m under.”