November 16, 2017
I think if anyone asked why I'm here, I would find it a lot harder to explain than during my other trips. It's kinda just what I do now. I have this ticking in my chest and when it starts chiming too quickly, I buy a plane ticket or hop in my car and get going.
Travelling doesn't feel quite the same as it used to. I really need to get out of these places that feel so comfortable now and make a conscious effort to push myself. I know the lay of this land and have habits and systems and ways of doing things that work for me. It’s like making a cup of coffee in the morning. Eventually, you get an idea of how you like it.
I'm so much more confident on the road and so much confident in myself too. When I first came to Europe in 2014, everything was so new. The landscape of my life had changed so intensely and quickly and my reflection with it too that I felt new in my being and then—there was this big new world that I had always dreamed of. A new world for my new eyes. I was both running from myself and to myself. As we often do.
There was such an immense sense of discovery. Now it's more like I am learning new words but speaking the same language.
It's still not easy, but I am more assured in the unease. Some days suck. Some days are magic. Sometimes I spend too much on vegan waffles and forget to message people back on time and worry about if I should bus or try hitchhiking. Sometimes I don't check departure locations and books trips from places that I can't possibly get to and lose 10€.
This travelling thing has become so much a part of my identity and that worries me too. Have I swapped my sense of wonder for the satisfaction of checking places off my list as if I'm pacing the aisles of a grocery store in my hometown and not wandering through the other side of the globe? Is it even possible to be swept off your feet at all times? I don't think so.
Travelling is a relationship. It's a romance with the world.
And as anyone who has ever been in a long term relationship can tell you, it's not always fireworks and rose petals, but there's something beautiful about the familiarity of freckles and the comfort of skin you know so well it might as well be your own. I am proud of this life I’ve built because I’ve built it. I learned how to put it together. I have seen its crannies and joints and sloping floors and things anyone would try to cover up. I know what’s under the rug because I made the dust.
I am still making dust. I make it by walking—by moving. Here I go—to keep moving. Keep making dust and memories.
Self portraits in Brussels. November 2017.