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Posts Tagged ‘travel’

away

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I went away for a week. One week of relaxing by the pool and playing by the beach.

It’s funny how away can describe a place, and also, at least for me, a state of mind. I was away for a week, physically and also mentally.

I left my phone at home and had no access to email or the Internet. I could have had access if I wanted to but I had absolutely no desire to know what was going on while I was away.

I sat by the pool, read an amazing book and only thought the thoughts that happened to drift through my head. I didn’t take them out and examine them from every angle, as I normally would. I just thought them and left it at that. Some particularly important or meaningful thoughts I tucked in my pocket, to think again when I was no longer away.

There were no grocery stores, no errands, no laundry, no cooking. There were no to-do lists or to-buy lists and no calendars on the wall, filled up with activities. Instead there was the pool, the beach and everything we needed for the day in my little bag. As long as there was sunscreen, a book, a hat, a deck of Uno cards and goggles, we were happy and content and had all we needed.

When we got hungry, we ate, when we got thirsty, we drank, and when we got hot we dipped ourselves in the cool blue water and sighed the deep, contented sighs of being away.

My hair puffed up to twice its regular size and my nose went from white to pink to peeling in three days flat but I didn’t care. There was no one to impress when I was away.

There were moments of simple beauty and the time to appreciate them. Little wet footprints on the bathroom floor, the feeling of toes digging in the soft, golden sand, cold, wiggly bodies wrapped up in huge, fluffy towels, whispers in the dark, birds singing in the morning, and watermelon juice dripping off our chins.

And now I’m back; now I am here instead of away.  And while I have tried and tried, I can’t seem to regain that away mentality when I’m here.  When I’m here there are too many things to do and not enough time to do them.  There is stuff upon stuff upon stuff and things upon things upon things.  I have to cook here and do laundry here and clean here.  And here all those thoughts that I decided not to think when I was away are all creeping up on me, only now I don’ t have any more room in my pockets to hide them away for later.

For one blissful week I was away, but now I’m here.

I wish I could figure out a way to be here and away, all at the same time.

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Ottawa

I’ve tried to explain it to people, the connection I feel to this place , but I can never find the right words.

“I love it here,” I say to them, but it doesn’t encompass it, doesn’t even begin to wrap itself around the feeling I get when I’m here.
I fell in love here; I’m sure that’s part of it. I met the man who would become my family here. Around every corner there are memories, places we visited, conversations we had. I found love, understanding, friendship here, but I also found so much more.

I found myself here.

I found out who I was away from everything I knew. I figured out how to be me, apart from all of them.

I made choices based on my own opinions, nothing else. I discovered I was stronger than I thought, but also more fragile. I realized it was okay to lean on others, to ask for help, and to accept it. I learned that being independent is important but so too is knowing that together we are so much stronger.

I went where I wanted to go, when I wanted to go. I discovered that getting lost was half the fun. I learned that with a bus pass and a map, the city opened up in front of me like a treasure chest.

I have lived in places that I loved, before and since, but no other place has ever felt like home in the same way. It become a part of me, a part of my story, writing its words and painting its pictures on the pages of my life.

When I feel sad and alone, it is the place I dream of going. It somehow fills the cracks left by everyday life, makes them smooth again. After every visit, no matter how short, I feel invigorated, as though I have found something I didn’t know was missing.

I am drawn to its streets, long-lost memories flooding my brain. I want to turn to the person next to me and tell them stories, all of the things that happened here, the minutia of time well spent.

I remember who I was here. I remember the girl with the dreams, the hopes, the belief that things were possible. And her imagination rubs off on me, the woman she has become, too often jaded and disheartened by the intervening years.

She makes me start to believe again, she makes me want to live up to all the expectations she had for us.

And so as the car speeds down the highway and I have to once again say goodbye, I am not sad. I know I will come again, and when I do I know it will be here waiting to welcome me back.

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