01 7 / 2013
In 9 hours, I’ll be on a plane heading back to London. I’m sad to be leaving, because it feels as though I’ve only managed to catch a glimpse of this richly layered city.
Time has passed both quickly and slowly here.
Before Barcelona, it had never occurred to me to think of time as multiple entities. But now, it seems so obvious. Time is the thud of a kick drum, a steady and deliberate heartbeat, with the space between each beat just as important as the beat itself. Yet time is also the groundswell of momentum from the toms, the sharp highlights of a snare, the occasional shimmer of the cymbals.
Barcelona has given me so much in such a short period, but it will be this lesson - the rhythms of time - that will stay with me, no matter how long it takes me to return again.
21 6 / 2013
A change of scenery, a change of pace. I feel fortunate to have had several opportunities to return to London, and I hope I have many more to come. Every visit is revealing, about the city but even moreso about myself.
The theme of this trip has already emerged like a familiar song, strong and clear. I am embracing my anonymity amongst a sea of 9 million human beings. Taking pause to observe the details, to introspect, to consider my place in this big wide world.
It has taken some time for me and this city to get along. Between our personas, there is friction, opposition, dualism. Since my first days here, and throughout every return trip from then on, London has always challenged me to consider a different perspective, a different approach to life. Often, I have resisted.
But today, I find myself asking “why not?” instead of “why?”
This is a glimpse into my eternal challenge: paying mind to the necessary tension between the extremes of my personality, so that I can move with the tension rather than against it.
31 5 / 2013
Travelling solo for 10 months has left a massive impression upon me, the lessons from which I am still unpacking, 2.5 years after returning home to Melbourne.
When I left for LA in late 2009, I thought I knew myself pretty well. I think I’ve always been more mature than my age, so I was not foolish enough to think I would learn nothing, grow naught. Right throughout that trip, I’d meet people who would talk about travelling to escape, travelling to run away, travelling to forget the past and start afresh. But I didn’t buy a plane ticket on a whim, hoping to lose something of myself in the old, and find something of myself in the new adventures ahead. I left these shores feeling motivated to travel for the purposes of seeing the world, experiencing different cultures, and expressing my strong sense of independence.
In contrast, I’ve spent much of the last 8 months carefully weighing up the decision that needs to be made about what my future holds after my PhD is over. Or, more accurately, in which direction will I set off after it’s done? To where in the world will I take my next steps? My analytical mind can break down the pros and cons of each choice - the choice to stay, and the choice to go. Yet, I remain undecided. Indecision does not happen upon me regularly, and it makes me uncomfortable to feel directionless.
But then, this indecision is revealing, too. I have so many reasons to travel and live abroad, but then I have just as many compelling reasons to stay right where I am. The life I have here and the people within it make me feel attached to this place like I’ve never felt before.
Which makes me think that maybe, three years ago, I WAS running away. Or if not running away, I was running towards something else: I was chasing a stronger sense of belonging.
I am glad to say that I feel no attraction to that chase today.