Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Small time bus dreamer

I don't frequent the London bus system much these days but when I do I often find myself lost with my head in the clouds. There is no place quite like it for dreaming. 
Perhaps the most eclectic mix of people; rich, poor, black, white, young and old,  each seat a vastly different life, an exceptional journey and that's just inside the bus. 
As soon as my ear phones slot into position and the tracks start rolling my gaze invariably shifts to the window and the streets of this beloved city. I find myself one moment imagining what it would be to live in a penthouse apartment in Chelsea and the next how fortunate I am to own a car and some semblance of a privileged upbringing.
Zone one is the bus safari of this urban wilderness. Ride on the top and you'll quickly spot the big five amidst screams of unruly children and the banter of boisterous youth.

So ride the bus, chart this veritable landscape and dare to dream while you're at it.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Blindsided by love

I have recently attended a plethora of singles events. Quarter life crisis? Possible. To say that the events which ensued were comical would be an understatement of epic proportions. So here follows a detailed account of one of my dealings in the socially constructed and very manufactured world of single mingling.

1. Speed dating

I have always wanted to go speed dating. Following a graduate level education in romantic comedies I was totally prepared for Mr Right to glide over to my table, ask me all the right questions and for those three minutes to be the start of a new life. Obviously that didn't happen and I was left with a large glass of Pinot Grigio attempting to dull the awkwardness of what felt like a dating enema. The worst part of the whole thing was that the smorgasbord of individuals present were actually buying into it! Clipboard in hand, questions at the ready and pen poised. I found myself making up all sorts of untruths just to pass time in an amusing way. Why of course I ran marathons, saved orphans and ran a small interior design company. What normal person didn't?!

The whole experience was so clinical, so structured, so inorganic; I found myself struggling to believe that real love could spark in such an environment. Don't get my wrong, I know many people who have genuinely found happiness in such a setting but I felt grieved that my romantic sensibilities had lead me to that point.

To me love is organic, it is sudden and it's usually not at all what we expect. It doesn't live in checklists, clipboards or artificially constructed environments and It most certainly has a will and a way of it's own.

So as much as I would like to say that I walked away with a small black book filled with numbers and possibilities I left with a heavy heart and a questioning spirit. I feel that the whole experience has made me more determined than ever to be blindsided by love.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Soundtrack's of choice, passports and postcards

Seated in the middle of my bedroom floor, surrounded by clothing, passports and postcards; I feel the distinctive pull of the post travelling blues. It is only too easy to play that new found holiday soundtrack and become enveloped in a cool sea of memories. I feel this way almost every time I return. For me to travel is to breathe, to see anew again, to touch base with life. I am so enamored with the journey and the destination that there is little which can compare to its felicity.

Sometimes when I return I struggle to breathe again, it's almost as though I have to switch tempos and slot into the very different rhythm which life pounds out day by day. It won't be long until this happens but for a short period of time I am lost in an unnavigable wasteland of where I want to be and where I am; backpacks, short eats and lonely planets as opposed to lap tops, early morning alarms and M4 traffic jams.

So permit me this; allow me to share with you some of my holiday highlights. Come swimming with me in that cool sea of memories. Monday will come and so will my 7am alarm call but until that time I shall remain firmly seated on my bedroom floor surrounded by soundtracks of choice, passports and postcards.

Photo: Sunset scooter #srilanka #sri2014 #arugum

1. Somewhere between Arugum Bay (Eastern Province Sri Lanka) and Whiskey Point

This was a great day. To say the heat in Sri Lanka was oppressive would be a small understatement. This English Rose probably sweated enough to water a small garden. My cheeks were in a permanent state of flush and my body a mini radiator. According to one of the local men my face looked like that of one of the local mountain woman i.e. one with a red face; I tried to take this as a compliment. To feel the wind freely blowing through my hair was therefore no small indulgence. Combine this with breathtaking views, speed and uncharted territory and let's just say I was in a very happy place. We stopped and took this picture in the middle of two fields that were filled with wild peacocks.

2. Train from Kandy to Ella

Right from the start of the trip this train ride had always been high on my agenda. I had heard a lot about it and was keen to see what all the fuss was about. Honestly, I don't think that this picture or my words could do it justice.

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3. The people

Travelling companions can either make or break a trip. I have always said that it doesn't matter where you are in the world, it's the people you're with that make the journey worthwhile. These 4 are gold. Thanks for the laughs guys and for putting up with my 2-5pm dip in froth levels.

Friday, 28 February 2014

In the midst of it all

Somehow over the last year, I feel like my irresponsible days of being a student have faded away and, amidst the craziness that is life, I have unmistakably entered the realm that is the adult world. I cant quite pin point the exact moment of transition. Perhaps it was when the entirety of my first pay check went towards covering a root canal treatment and a new car? Or it may have even been when I had to forfeit a last minute vacation due to 'work commitments'. Whenever it happened it did and I find myself slowly transforming into something which I am very unfamiliar with; an adult. Now I know what many of you are thinking; grow up, get a life, enjoy the freedom. Indeed, indeed, yes to all of these things. However, in my mind, adulthood is unequivocally linked with; mundane routine, the inability to roam free and quite possibly the entire weight of the world on your shoulders. Extreme? Yes. I can see the metaphorical scales tipping way over to one side as I become accustomed to this new way of life. I know that in time things will equalize and this too will become normality. However, the suitcase in the corner of my room is a daily reminder that its never too late to get up and go and whether far or near adventure is always to be found. Don't get me wrong, I am thoroughly enjoying travelling this new road. I think it may just take me a little time to be doing it the way I want to. So, don't get lost in the midst of it all. Remember what makes you tick, what makes you feel alive.

In an effort to share something of what I have found I am going to attempt to bring a little joie de vivre to my blog. Every Friday I will post a few of the sweet things that make this girl and her suitcase tick. I hope you enjoy...

Monday, 3 September 2012

Like a local

A friend of mine once wrote;

"See this world with your very own eyes, breath in its air with your very own lungs. Let your God given hands touch the earth and feel its pulse, its landscapes, its people. Let your face feel the temperatures and climates."

As the girl with the suitcase travel is like breathing to me. It comes so naturally and yet it still exhilarates me, the experience never loses its charm. The majority of this year has passed in a blur of papers, presentations, part-time positions and plausible felicity. An uphill road which lead me to Reading station at 7am on the 25 August 2012. I had been there so many times, suitcase in hand, but this time it was different. 3 months, 3 months of clinical placement in a new culture, a new climate. I don't think I really had time to fully appreciate the gravity of what I had signed up for. 3 countries in 3 days meant that the time immediately preceding this trip was a blur of clothes, banks and oddly enough my genius of a hairdresser. I think it was only when I landed, in possibly the smallest airport I have ever seen, that I suddenly started to comprehend what I had done. It was one of those surreal moments, the moments when you feel so alone, so conflicted; exhilarated by the prospects, terrified by the challenges and everything inside of you is screaming, 'What are you doing?!' I think I was mentally talking my way through each step; 'collect bag'; 'proceed to passport control'; 'call for a taxi'. I went through the motions, doing my best not to look like a tourist (words to live by). It was at this moment in time that Stings, 'Legal Alien' conveniently came to mind.    

Well, a week has passed and with each day I have come to feel less and less alien like. An inspirational vocabulary of 3 Swedish words, a bicycle and a bus card and I'm practically human again! I know I still have much to learn but I feel as though I am finally starting to embrace this adventure. As I said, travelling is like breathing to me, an exhilarating experience which I embrace at every opportunity, but this has been so much more than travelling. Bills, classes, bus schedules and supermarket shelves have made this experience a unique one. I feel like a pioneer, a stranger in a new land. Over-dramatic? Possibly, but even though my suitcase will remain in my cupboard for the majority of the next three months and I will spend more time counting pennies and reading scientific papers, I will, eventually, ride the bus like a local.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Fewer lemons from the sky...

I used to be a girl who dreamed of the world and who genuinely believed I could conquer it.
I was never one for facing up to reality, and in general I frowned upon people who did.
Life, for me at least, was on the sunny side of the street.

These days I find this childlike belief has been replaced by an ever too present realism. I have, unfortunately, come to realise that this journey of life is full of so many valleys and that sometimes, bad things happen to good people.

I feel constantly surrounded by a cloud of pessimism and even the small joys of life appear to be painted grey. Those of you who have ever felt like this will know what I am talking about. Its almost as though you just found out father Christmas is not real, somehow the world just seems that much less of a magical place. I know this too shall pass but for now I would just like a little more lemonade and fewer lemons from the big man in the sky.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

This day, this road

All of life is an adventure.
Some days are long and hard, and sometimes it feels as if the sun will never set. Others are sweeter than anything we could ever imagine and time seems to elude us as we are lost in the wonder of living. When I stop and ponder the many paths I have travelled, I am amazed and inspired for the mountains and valleys which lie ahead.

Over the last few weeks I have had the privilege of walking a rather delightful road. I found myself drinking each moment in, lost in reverie. The distance travelled and the company kept was sweet. Each day brought a new adventure and in between the business, moments of contemplative solitude revived my soul. Cultural delights were ubiquitous and I found myself lost in the wander of travelling.

And so once more this girl returns with a suitcase, a smile and a few more pages in her journal. Here's to the adventure of life and the people that make it.