They say that every place you visit becomes a part of you.
Then so many places are a part of me.
My heart must be shattered into a million pieces. Not in the broken kind of way. But in a way where I unintentionally broke bits off and left a small part here and a small part there.
And, before I know it, I’m no longer only British. I’m Arab, I’m Caribbean, I’m Dutch. But most of all, I’m no longer living inside the proverbial box.
I guess this can be counted as my greatest achievement of 2018 without too much consideration.
This year it’s been 37 flights and 14 countries across 3 different continents, making 2018 my most nomadic year yet. One with no address, no commitments and no real plan. At least for a large part of the year.
And, of course, one with a few new realisations.
“If you’re patient, you can create your own destiny”
I sometimes wonder how I ended up here. The answer is clear. If you want something enough then you make it work.
I should be over all the butterflies by now. Something that was once anxiety has blossomed into an excitement, a passion to keep discovering, a desire to hold onto the freedom and simplicity I’ve created.
“Pushing to achieve a dream is the ultimate challenge”
‘Everest, they call you,
I call you my impossible dream.
I see you,
I see your impossible peak.
I’m trying to get to you,
I’m trying to save myself from falling,
But I can’t breathe.’
Something I wrote in my notebook as altitude sickness was starting to take a hold on my body during my Everest Base Camp trek. This trip meant so much to me on many personal levels.
“Feeling homesick doesn’t have to mean HOMEsick”
‘If I’m grieving for you, does that mean you’re gone?’
2018 has been my first year in quite a few years that I’ve spent so little time in the Middle East. I miss the fragrant air and warm, stuffy winter evenings. I miss the haze of the sun and sight of the crescent moon hanging brightly in the velvet sky.
I returned to Nepal, a place whose beautiful chaos silences my own irrational chaos. A country that makes me feel alive and plays on every single sense I have open.
Sometimes I’m homesick, but not for home.
“Travel is not a cure for an unsettled mind”
Running away is not the answer. Travel has a way of making you more aware. Of changing your perception on the world. You learn to see the bigger picture, to appreciate your own country and you learn quickly that to travel is a privilege. Something you should do with your eyes wide open, and for all the right reasons.
Travel gives you the opportunity to reflect on life, on beliefs, on hopes and dreams. But it is not a solution to a deeper problem. It will simply set you free and allow you the space to heal if you let it.
The cliché journey to finding yourself is not a myth.
“My roots are branches floating in the wind”
As the sun sets on 2018 I remember a life before I travelled. The longing and the curiosity that was eating away at me. The sadness and sorrow that enveloped me.
I remember this year. 2018 and it’s endless summer. The mountains that I spoke to, the people that captured my heart and the little hands I held. The sun beating down on me, and the frost that bit my toes. I remember those multicoloured birds singing to me on a morning and the wagging tales of baby goats. I remember the light smell of jasmine and the heavy taste of daily daal bhat. All the tall sparkly buildings and overly chlorinated water on my tongue. I remember the skies dancing in ways I never thought possible.
But most of all I remember finding myself and losing the loneliness that I had been brushing aside for so long.
“Will travel always be my first love?”
I’m yet to have an answer to this question. It’s true that each year that goes by, I see the world in a new light and from a different perspective. Each year is different to the next, and each perception is altered from the year before. What I do know is that I plan to hold on tight to the life I fought to design.
Dreams and goals mean everything. Of that I am certain.
Whether it’s travelling the world or sharing a sofa with someone you love.
This year I learned there is no wrong answer.