This life, it doesn’t feel real. It feels so separate, so different from my life ‘back home’. There are no commonalities, nothing to anchor it in reality. I feel like I’m living a story; a book I’m reading or a very long and vivid dream. Maybe I’ll wake up back in my bed in Bristol, ready for another day in the office, another evening in the pub, another night sleeping on the same mattress.
Life here is so different. Gone are the colourful painted walls of Bristol, the hubbub of the city, the noise of the traffic, the taste of cider on my tongue, the familiarity of old friends and the comfort of my life. Instead the colours are from the trees and rivers, the quiet of the wilderness, the feel of mud beneath my boots, the flavours of fresh vegetables from the garden, the uncertainty and excitement of new friends, and the refreshment of a new life.
But at some point this adventure has to come to an end. The wanderings become old and the finances become low. The need for stable friendships increases, and the longing for being able to unpack becomes greater. But this new person doesn’t fit into that old life. So what to do? Do I force the fit, shaving off much of the learnings and changes of the last year? Or do I stay, forgetting that old life and building a new one from this fresh perspective? Or do I search for a place, a space that will let me incorporate both, a hunt which could be wondrous, or an elusive search for a place that doesn’t exist.
And so I reach the crux of the matter. What are the things I can compromise on, and what is a need, something I cannot imagine being without. Which of these things can be found in my old life, and which require something new and fresh. Can I go back to the hustle and bustle of city life? Will I thrive once more among the busyness and creativity that it brings, or will I yearn for the stillness of the riverbanks and the solace of the mountains? Will I be a city dweller that escapes to the country, or a country dweller that adventures to the city? Where will my soul seek its home? Among the trees and valleys, or the alleyways and rooftops? Does my heart yearn for the quirky corner of the city or the peaceful nooks of the countryside.
I feel I’m at a tipping point. One leap forwards and I could be forever lost to this life, living in the countryside and quite possibly never having a stable job. Or one step back and I could easily fall into the life I left behind, this trip turning into nothing more than anecdotal stories of a place I once visited. Moving forwards means cutting some ties to my old life, but stepping backwards feels like denying the person I’ve become. This is the answer I’m looking for...