It was late-September of 2019, I had this desire to do an overnight hike at a location I had only since dreamt of visiting. It was a place that continued to avoid me, due to poor weather and inconsistent planning on my part. I knew of many people who had made the trek up this mountain out in the middle of nowhere. It was a place I had only ever experienced through the screen of my cellular device, as I looked upon the images of photographers who had been to it. I wanted to go, so very badly. But the weather was always poor on the weekends, and that was the only time that my fellow hiking friends could take the time off from work to go hiking. Therefore, the only option was for me to go hiking alone in the middle of the week.
February 2020. Somewhere in New Mexico. Right off I-40 West, heading towards Route 66. I take the exit towards America's Mother road and cross train tracks, passing a beaten down and abandoned gas station. My tired jeep pulls to a stop and I look ahead. A brown road that stretches across the enchanting desert. The yellow line that divides the concrete sides starts to fade in the distant. I catch my breath. I had found it.
While I'm not alone, by "before COVID-19" story is a little bit different. Just one day before England (my home country) went into lockdown, I was in Indonesia.
In April 2019, my life was falling apart. College was stressing me out. I was embarrassed by some of the decisions I made. I was tired of giving. Tired of being kind. I felt worthless. I was not motivated or interested in anything I was doing. And all I wanted was for someone to show up for me. It felt like a dark period of my life, and one week before my Easter break, I made the abrupt decision of escaping to a place where no one knew me. Taking the tough decision of breaking into my savings, I bought plane tickets and flew across the country to San Diego, California for a week.
Whew! I’m here. Like, I’m actually in Paris, France. OK, it’s the airport and I haven’t clear customs yet but none the less I am in a foreign country. So after customs and picking up my bag it was now a question on how to get to my hostel. Like any airport they can be situated within the city or outside. Paris CDG, named after the French General Charles De Gaul sits about 30 min outside Paris. There were a plethora of transport options to take. I chose the train as it was a good way to see the country for its first glimpse and that is how I was getting around most of the time while in Paris. The Paris Metro is old but quite distinguished and beautiful. With its unique Art Nouveau architecture, classic trains and stations with names like Oprea (named after the famous Paris Opera) to Pierre Et Marie Curie(famous scientists) and Robespierre (the famous French Revolutionist who made beheading quite popular), there was always a piece of history to see and learn about. So, 80 Euros later I had a ticket and found my way to the station where I could get on an inbound train to the city.
Travelling solo, lost in the wanderlust is something we all contemplate at some point. Be it before we commit to those years of college, or just before we see ourselves settling down and starting a family-we all want to be out there, putting the contentment of our adventures in the hands of the maps that navigate us.
When I was a journalism student, I was made aware of the term "slow news day". It became a phrase I would dread. Essentially, this meant that your day would be painfully slow, too. It meant you'd have to cover meaningless stories, like one on a swan walking down a road (yes, this once genuinely happened).
Life in lockdown has a way of allowing your mind to roam free in a space that is different to any you've ever known. It's a space of imagination but this time it has an edge. Never before have we felt this sense of longing for everything and yet nothing, both at the same time.
Although my astrological sign is an earth sign, I've always gravitated to the calmness of the water. During this quarantine, I've realized that I've been taking advantage of the California weather and beaches. There is nothing like watching the sunset after a long day of work, feeling the coolness come off the water, brushing across your face or your feet being submerged deep in the sand. It can be a place to bring clarity to your problems or a place to forget your questions I've noticed being near water gives me a chance to bring calm to my anxiety and meditate on the next phases of my life. I chose Tulum, Mexico, as my destination of choice. Tulum provides the perfect mixture of water, sand, and green landscape that provides the perfect escapism.
Okay so I dropped out of college when I was 19... I left sophomore year. Never fit in with anyone...hated studying for my classes...always looked at a different ways to make money.. Till I was fed up with it all..