Why Travelling Ruins You.

I’ve been home for two months now.

Two months of being reunited with my loved ones… some of whom I haven’t seen for next to two years. Laughter, tears, endless reminiscing. Beginning to make the plans that were just daydreams before. “See you soon” really means soon. The thousands of miles dissolved into but a line in our story.

It’s been two months of seeking and securing my new job. A job I adore. Where I am doing good, real good, for the people that need it most. I have a purpose. And that means everything to me.

I’ve had two months of slowly and then all at once slipping into a sense of normality. I’ve been in a position where I can start up my yoga practice again, get back into dance and work my way through the pile after pile of books I left at home. It’s the little things, I guess.

But that also means it’s been three months since I spent those final weeks in South Thailand. Four since I travelled through Vietnam with two of my dearest girls. Five since I explored North Thailand, from those humble days in Pai to the electricity of Songkran in Chiang Mai. Six since Bali and Singapore. Seven since I waved goodbye to Australia.

And so on… and on… and on…

Because time goes fast, doesn’t it? It flies past you on the echo of that unforgettable Summer breeze until the warm whisper it left on your skin has faded entirely.

It’s just a memory.

It’s all just a memory

I’ve avoided writing about it. Even in my journal, I didn’t want to draw attention to it. In those occasions I would run back over stories and memories with my travel partners I’d leave feeling slightly emptier. A bit hollow, really.

Because I couldn’t shake that feeling that it was gone. The people, the places, the experiences. I’d let them all go. I’d gone back to the life I left behind and taken myself away from the adventures that had ignited my existence.

And that’s not to say I wasn’t happy. Far from it. Being back with my family was everything. Weekends spent with my best friends were everything. The simple pleasures of my home life were everything. My job… everything!

It was, is, all so wonderful. So heart-wrenchingly, “this is why I’m back” wonderful.

But therein lies the problem. The emotion I couldn’t put into words. The one no one else really understands.

That despite all of that, the pang was still there. Every time I would see a photo or video from my travels, every time a friend who added love and light to my time away would post an update from their new life… I just felt a bit lost.

The finality of it all was like a kick to the chest. How something so important, so beautiful, was no longer a part of me. I would never relive it.

I guess they’re the thoughts of a typically anxious mind. The adjustment from then to now. The fact I can never say goodbye… not to things, places or people. I just wanted to keep all those stories tightly clutched in my hand, never far and always with me.

I mean, how would anything ever beat that? How would my life ever compare?

“Life is long and you are young.”

A heard this said on a Liz Gilbert podcast today. It’s nothing exceptional. Nothing groundbreaking.

But for some reason it helped me break through the mist. The rocks resting in the pit of my stomach melted.

Because this chapter of my life? It’s one of many. Part of a glorious life. A life I am living hard.

And it’s more than a memory. It’s here, every single day.

It’s the wind on my face as I take myself back to the moment that tiny plane door flew open just before my sky dive. It’s the nights spent singing around a campfire whenever I hear Alt-J, Chet Faker or Justin Bieber (guilty!). Anytime water touches my skin, its the countless oceans I floated in; islands dotted around me, sun weighing like a blanket again my body. My Sunday walks are the treks through valleys, rice fields and mountains… exploring the Tuscan countryside…  losing myself in National Parks.

Every time I close my eyes I can feel the warm sand caressing my toes as we watched the sunrise in Mui Ne. When I lie in the sun I’m back in the Florentine heatwave. I’m on the Gili Islands drinking in the 40 degree heat. I’m on the beach… the many, many beaches.

The motorbikes that pass me are the ones we drove from Pai to Mae Hong Son. The unforgettable journey from Hue to Hoi An. Everything we saw. Every jaw dropping landscape that left goosebumps tiptoeing up my arms.

The people I met have left their names etched upon my heart. All of them, for better or worse, have played a vital role in setting that compass in motion.

They helped me find what I was looking for. And even if I never see them again, that connection will never lessen.

I titled this post “Why Travelling Ruins You” because, for a while, it felt like it had. Those unbelievable highs had left me floating on a river of uncertainty. Accepting that they were my past and my present was, well, all the more steady was a concept I wasn’t ready for.

But now I know.

I know I would rather experience these mesmerising highs once than spend my life hearing about them thousands of times.

“The past beats inside me like a second heart.”

…and it does, doesn’t it?

It’s there. It’s always going to be there.

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

 

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