On one side, the Bangalley Headlands stood starkly against the fire stained sky, their claw like trees weaving paths across the palette of orange and indigo.
On the other, the cool blue ocean spread its cape into the abyss, all-encompassing and eerily calm.
I lay myself down on the flat cliff edge (the one I would return to time and time again… the one with the jaw-dropping view of not one but three glorious beaches) and breathed in deeply.
I waited as my heart rate returned to normal. As my fingertips began to relax against the cold ground.
I could hear nothing but the waves throwing themselves against the rocks below, whilst their brothers lapped gently in the distance. My heartbeat, thick against my chest. The echo of a breeze tip-toeing the edges of my skin.
There had been nothing. No change in my day, no sudden news that left me shaken. Nothing had been said to tarnish my happiness, my positivity. Everything was moving in the right direction.
But as I finished work for the final time, I suddenly felt so very alone.
Because that’s the thing about travel. It is lonely.
And actually? I’ve been lucky.
When I lived in Italy, I immediately walked into a ready made group of friends who quickly became my family. They got me and I got them. We were all totally in the same boat (aka – expats obsessed with the beauty and culture of Firenze) and instantly moulded into a ritual that made daily life all together brighter.
I guess I thought it would always be like that.
Here I spend most of my time alone. Sat in a cafe with my laptop, taking a walk down the beach or diving into the waves, exploring every corner I can with just my feet to guide me.
There’s no one to talk to when I feel myself dip. No one to share my discoveries with. No one to go out with for a glass of vino, you know, just because.
I can feel myself losing my confidence, just from being away from those that give me energy. My humour (my strange, strange humour) doesn’t quite fit in with the standards.
They said it would be like this. They said that whilst I stayed in one place, so far from the city, I would struggle to meet people. That this would be the time to focus on myself, my writing and saving as much money as possible so I could begin my journey across the country. Across its neighbouring countries. Across any damn place I wanted to go.
And I’d be lying if I said it hadn’t paid off. The second I accepted that this chunk of my life wasn’t going to be spent non stop in the company of friends, where I could gain part of my joy purely from them, things just started happening. The moment I begun a relationship with myself rather than desperately seeking the approval of others, I found myself in a position I thought would take years for me to reach. A position where, come Monday, I will officially start working full-time with my business: a business where I am able to work with exciting clients from the UK, Italy, America and here in Australia.
Mostly? That is enough. That is more than enough. I mean, I am writing for a living in a place that is pretty much paradise! And god do I feel selfish for wanting more.
But that little part of me that keeps niggling away does crave more. It craves the social interaction. It craves having someone to share the laughter, to share the achievements. Who knows every single part of me, rather than the subdued version I present here. Who I can be a total nerd with. Who I don’t have to pretend around.
Yet for those who choose this lifestyle, it’s something you have to deal with. And it’s the side you don’t see on Instagram. It’s the aspect that isn’t so perfect.
You just have to decide… is it worth it? Can you make that sacrifice in order to gain everything else you’ve ever wanted? Can you commit to a quieter life so that you can carry out your passion, to live amongst heart stopping beauty, to connect to a braver version of yourself?
I know the answer. I think I’ve always known the answer.