Oh hello 2017!
What an interesting year 2016 was. Even though it had been all sorts of bizarre on the global politics level, I don’t really want to get into that (I’m sure you’ve heard enough Brexit/Trump rants over the past twelve+ months). 2016 was a year of losing a dear friend, a year of making new friends, a year of unexpected travels and discoveries, a year of great success and growth, a year of hard anxiety battles, a year of an amazing fundraising campaign and last but not least a year or adventures, fun and laughter. And even though I am not much of a New Year, New Me type of a person, it does feel good starting fresh again. I don’t really have any new year’s resolutions as I probably wouldn’t stick to them anyway. I try to live a healthy sustainable life as it is (with the occasional YouTube binge watching session including a bottle of wine, chocolate and crisps). I try to keep active and have no significant bad habits I’d need to try giving up. So the only potential resolution of mine is to be more creative.
Working in a creative field one would have thought the last thing you need is more creativity. You do though. There is never enough creativity in life. And I don’t mean come-home-from-work-and-paint-an-entire-mural type of creativity, but just general little life hacks that make your days a bit more exciting. Creativity in cooking, dressing, giving presents or travelling. My favourite yet very neglected creative outlet is this little online space of mine. I have never really thought much about the “power” of putting thoughts out on the Interweb up until recently. Casually playing a game of pool with a very dear friend of mine, I listened to a story of how she met her bae, whom she’s about to go travel the world with. Believe it or not, they started talking after she shared my blog post on her Facebook wall and he reacted to it and started a conversation on the topic. It made me oh so happy that just a silly little semi-depressed ramble of mine could spark conversations and connect people. Crazy! So here I am – determined to make a lot more effort with sharing thoughts, travels, pictures, jokes and memories (exciting travels and fun times planned starting in February, yeew!). So here we go!
Starting off with something I have been thinking about a lot lately. The definition of home. Just after Christmas I took off to visit a place that is quite possibly the closest to my heart. Perhaps it’s the combination of the sentiment of it being the first place I’ve ever surfed, the place I escaped to when I had no idea what I wanted to do in life yet everybody else seemed to have an idea. The place that had hosted me for three years and where I met people who have been so dear to me ever since. The place that takes your breath away no matter how many times you’ve seen it and where things stay exactly the same no matter how much time has passed. You guessed it right… I was on my way to Woolacombe, Devon. And even though I paid a quick visit to Wooly over the summer as a cheeky little stop-over on a work trip, I was still excited as ever. Even sat in the taxi on my way to the airport I had this funny feeling in my stomach – the feeling of going home. It felt just like back in 2011 when I would go see my family over Christmas and fly back to England just in time for New Year’s Eve party.
Long story short, it was just as wonderful as I expected. I brought a “South West newbie” with me and Devon put on quite a spectacular show. We spent hours and hours surfing every day (oh hello 6mm wetsuits, gloves and hoods), the sun was shining, the waves were dreamy, the coastline looked even more beautiful than I remembered. I got to see my lovely friends whom I missed like crazy (the thing you don’t realise until you’re chatting away for hours as if none of those years have passed), danced the night away on New Year’s Eve, walked my favourite walks (I missed you dearly Baggy Point!) and we even took a trip down to Cornwall to see Luke, the wonderful man who was there with me that critical morning in India and paid a cheeky trip to Bali and Prague in the following years (4 countries and counting Luke!). We stayed in the most beautiful house down in St Austell (the movie About Time might be a hint), made delicious pizzas from scratch and walked Kernow’s pretty beaches. Saying goodbye to the South West is never easy (and always teary) and it always makes me question the whole concept of feeling at home.
What exactly is home? Is it the house you grew up in? Is it your own place, the one you properly furbish and decorate yourself? Is it where you store your belongings? Is it your belongings? Is it a feeling you get in certain situations? Is it a person? Could it be all of the above?
I can’t seem to define home. My old beaten suitcase had been my home for years and years, travelling the world with me. My worn out Vans had been my home when climbing volcanos, crossing rivers and walking hundreds of miles on cobblestones in. Waking up in my childhood bed to my favourite breakfast prepared by my mum. Strong vegetable soup and plenty of blankets to wrap myself in when I am suffering through a sinus infection. Reading a book in the gardens of my sister’s summer house surrounded by the whole family. Climbing the mountains I grew up in. Lighting my favourite scented candle and practicing yoga in my flat in Prague. The hours and hours spent laughing and goofing about in the office every day. Driving down Jl Pantai Berawa to check out the waves first thing in the morning. Sunset coconuts on the beach after a surf session with all the Canggu gang. Surfing Combesgate until late hours of the evening and having a barbecue on Barricane beach right after. Walking down the beach to Putsborough in the midst of English winter to grab a hot chocolate with way too much whipped cream for the walk back. The menu in my favourite little cafe that hasn’t changed a bit in the past 6 years just like the genuine heartfelt smile of the owner hasn’t. Rock pool exploring and seal-spotting along the coast. Having deep conversations and laughing at the silliest and grossest of jokes at the same time with a special someone. General presence of a special someone. All of the above makes me feel at home. People, places, scents, sounds. Could home be a feeling? Does home have a heartbeat?
But then… is home a temporary thing or is it eternal? What if the house you grew up in is no longer standing? What if that tropical little island of quiet and peace turned into a tourist trap throughout the years of your absence? What if that special someone who once made you feel eternally at home no longer does that for you? What if the feelings that once felt like home turned into memories? Is it safe to make a home in them?
Perhaps, there is no need for a definition of home. Perhaps it doesn’t need a geotag, it doesn’t need an address. Places change, feelings change, people come and go. Sometimes the departures are fatal and unfair. Sometimes the goodbyes are sensible, yet terrifying. Sometimes they’re healthy. Always, at all times, feeling at home should be a state of mind. A state of mind you feel happy and safe in. A state of mind that can sometimes be found in the safety of the known and familiar. Sometimes we find it in an escape. Sometimes we find it in ourselves and sometimes we find it in each other…
Here is to 2017, being creative, travelling, working hard, having fun, exploring, adventures and feeling at home.
love always, Pets
(Poems and quotes are by Beau Taplin and Dr Seuss, two crazy inspiring authors I always love coming back to. Photos are from our winter holiday to Devon. I doodled over them in an attempt to learn something new. Excuse the silliness.)