Well, here we are, it's the 25th July 2014 & one whole year has passed since I listed my life on eBay, packed a bag, closed the door to my house for the very last time, having said goodbye to Mr Pig, my beloved Frenchie & tearfully hopped on a plane, rather clueless as to where I would end up.
Never did I imagine that twelve months would pass & I would find myself living in Berlin. Paris yes, but Berlin had really never even crossed my mind as an ending point. In all honestly though, I left England in a bit of a rush & with nothing more than a couple of flights booked, I didn't much know what I would be doing in a month's time, let alone twelve of the buggers. The fact that I'm still in one piece, with a couple of pennies still in my bank account, is really a bit of a miracle!
It certainly has been the best of times & the worst of times! I like to compare it to the sensation of being pulled through a hedge, backwards. I left England feeling numb, completely adrift & entirely dependent on those around me. I had become inherently needy, disgustingly insecure & unappreciative of everything that was on offer to me. Essentially, I was useless & wasting my life away.
The past year has seen me lose everything I didn't know I didn't need, in order to gain a world of riches, that money simply cannot buy. Through twelve months, five countries, twenty four towns & cities, two islands, numerous meltdowns & fits of hysteria, I am proud to say I have finally found peace, perspective, some amazing new friends & been fortunate enough to have had the most wonderful experience.
In one year, I have - stood in Sicilian fields, beating carob out of trees with bamboo canes, whilst bare faced & sweaty in dirt covered denim dungarees & leather sandals, faint from the thirty five degree heat. Sailed on a yacht, in the Mediterranean, feeling a combination of awestruck & deathly nauseous. Over-indulged on daily servings of sickly sweet gelato & mountainous portions of pasta, later resulting in some sauna self-loathing. Had the joy of hand picking olives & seeing them go from press to bottle, all in the same day. Learnt firsthand how to make fresh ravioli. Experienced the warmth of the Italian hospitality. Done sixteen hours on a bus from the sunny west side of Sicily to the dank cold of Rome. Spent two hours a day meditating & finding my inner balance in a Buddhist monastery, in an Italian forest. Learnt to communicate in hand gestures & basic conversational Italian. Realised that my French language skills are now non-existent. Fallen in love & then rapidly back out again. Met some people, who have become like family to me & others who were simply passing on by. Been to places that sucked me in & made me terrifically sad to leave & others that I am satisfied to never visit again. Gotten lost more times than I can count. Nearly ended up in dire straights, after making the fatal error of accepting a lift from a stranger, an early mistake I'd hasten to add. Accrued more maps than I know what to do with. Had some of my money pinched from my wallet & spent more than I care to think of. Been crap at keeping in touch with everyone & entirely failed at sending a postcard from every destination. Missed my friends more than I could express in words & missed mère & Mr Pig more than my heart could take at times. Been elated & hopelessly bereft, all in equal measures.
I have stored up thousands upon thousands of other little experiences & tales that I have still yet to share & may never find the time to. Maybe one day.
Overall, I may have never learnt to pack light, I still get ridiculously stressed before having to take a flight/train/bus & I never did end up living in Paris, or finding my brown-eyed bearded husband, but, I think I did alright. So here's to the next twelve months!
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