I love Berlin, I really do and whilst I know that I don't wish to live there indefinitely, I do very much want to give it a year or two, because I feel as though it's a city with an awful lot to give. However, I think taking a time out and returning to England was healthy for me and sometimes in life, we do need to take a little breather and maybe even a little step back, just so as to gain perspective on certain matters in our lives. My initial intention when I booked the flight, was to stay in England for two weeks, however, after only a few days of being there, I felt as though a fortnight away from Berlin just wasn't going to be sufficient. Well, as is typical, no sooner had I allowed those thoughts to permeate, had another opportunity to travel arisen, hence, here I am, now in France, staying with one of my favourite people.
The last time I was here, in this particular part of France, it was February. The weather at the time was dreadful; awfully cold and rainy and my friend and I mostly stayed indoors, huddled by the fire, watching copious films, whilst her two large dogs snoozed happily on the floor nearby. We also did an awful lot of baking in those few weeks. Cold snaps definitely invoke the need for sugary comforts I find. Being back here now, with it being relatively warm and thankfully quite sunny, it all seems quite surreal. In fact, my entire life, as it stands, feels rather surreal at times. Saying goodbye to Mère at the airport had not left me soggy-eyed, as it had done nine months prior, on my last visit. Walking into the terminal hall did not make my stomach flip with nervous anxiety, as it had the first time I had flown out here on my own, all of eighteen months ago.
In fact, having counted up, I have thus far clocked up seven flights since only January of this year and now, flitting from one country to another, is about as normal to me as hopping on a train from Kent to London. There is absolutely no trepidation whatsoever. Which, is something I am rather thankful for, because, it was not that long ago that there was. In fact, I recall booking a flight to Rome for my twentieth birthday and being adamant that I was going to go off, on my own. I so desperately wanted to. I have lived my life as a complete romantic and at this time of my life, I had many adventurous notions. I constantly wanted to just pack up and flit off to somewhere, quite on my own and explore. However, it seemed as though I didn't quite have the gumption required at the time and so, with the departure day approaching, I ended up panicking and begging a friend to go with me, which thankfully she did.
I think back on that time and to where I am now and it truly amazes me that finally, I am able to just pack a bag, hop on a plane and flit off to where I fancy. Completely alone. Completely without worry or fear. I really appreciate and enjoy it and whilst I do occasionally feel a little homesick and sorrowful at my lack of anchorage, it's at times like this that I realise how fortunate I am. How much freedom I have. Although, this then has the tendency to almost make me break out in hives at the thought of tying myself to a permanent address anywhere, but I think it's unrealistic to think that we can sustain such an imbalanced life for long without suffering. When I think back to when I lived in England and worked a day job, six days a week, I continually craved my freedom and desperately sought escape. Now I am entirely free, but I cannot deny that my freedom comes at a cost; that of a home and my own personal space, amongst other things.
Everything I do now, is to work towards finding a balance in my life. To lay roots, but have the freedom of exploration. I think, the more you learn to find that balance, the less affected you are by the 'grass is always greener' condition. For me personally, prior to traveling, I spent a lot of my life dreaming of a better one and even now, I sometimes have to be reminded to be present and acknowledge how great things are and to be thankful of that. Okay, I can't say that I know where I'm going to be, or what I'll be doing, next month, or even by Christmas, but I can say that I'm finally alright with that. When it comes to life, whilst you may have a direction in mind and an idea of the journey to get there, you simply can't have a plan, because you just don't know what's going to happen and there are always guaranteed to be curve-balls thrown your way. The more you learn to let go and work with what comes up, unexpected or otherwise and go with the eventual detours, the happier you'll be, because constantly pushing against the tide will only serve to wear you out in the end.
So here I am, in France, the sun is shining, it's the middle of October, I'm finishing up my book and enjoying spending time with my friend. What happens after here is currently unknown, but I'm okay with that.
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