Six months ago, I sat tucked up in my warm bed at my mother’s house, writing The Next Chapter and feeling torn. Unsettled. Excited, but scared. So wanting to leave, but so wanting to stay. It was the night before I was flying to Mallorca, where I was going to spend six months working as part of my degree.
Fast forward six months and here I am: Palma airport, waiting to board my flight back to Scotland. Feeling… exactly the same. Feeling torn. Unsettled. Excited, but scared. So wanting to leave, but so wanting to stay.
This, Bon, is the price you pay for living a life of adventure.
Let me explain
I’ve travelled a fair bit in my 23 years, and I used to always think that I was done. That I’d learned everything about myself. That I’d made a little box back home that would wait patiently for my return, always ready for me to fit back into.
But every time that I leave, be it by plane or by train, for a weekend or for six months, I learn something new. I learn a little more about myself. I grow. I evolve. I change.
And I learn that the box doesn’t fit me anymore. Or maybe that I don’t want to fit back into it. I learn that my little box back home is too small for me now.
And I’m learning that that’s okay.
The time I spent out here changed me, as it always does. As it always should.
Just when I think “I’m done, I know myself now”, I discover something else. Sometimes it’s not clear straightaway. Sometimes it takes time for me to realise what changed, but I do change. Sometimes it’s not until months later, when I’m sitting in a café that the realisation hits me. But it does hit me.
I always found this unsettling, because I want to know myself. I want to be complete, to be whole. And a part of me asks well, how can I be whole if I’m made up of so many tiny pieces, from different countries and people and experiences and memories? How can I be whole if I’m always changing?
But I sit here and I realise, this is bullshit.
I have always been whole, of course I have. But what a beautiful thing that I’m not “done”. What a beautiful thing that I never will be. I shouldn’t feel unsettled, but excited. How much more of myself do I have left to discover? How much more of myself do I have to love?
I wrote in The Next Chapter that the pieces of me were not found by staying in one place with the same people, doing the same job and living the same life, as comfortable and easy as that may be. I found them in corners of the earth which I’d never tread before.
And again, when I thought I was complete, I’ve found new pieces here. In afternoons at the beach staring at the clouds and listening to the ocean. In evenings on the back of a moped watching the sun set over the mountains. In late night walks along the waterfront with the warm breeze on my skin. On ice cream dates and long conversations with people I’d met only weeks ago, but was sure I’d known forever.
I realise that all of these tiny pieces which make me, do not make me incomplete. They make me more whole than I ever could have dreamed to be.
But it’s hard: to be made up of places where you no longer are, and of people you can no longer see. You feel like you’re always missing something, always searching for something.
And so my heart is heavy today, as it often is.
Heavy with love, with memories, with adventure and inspiration and goodbyes.
When you live like I do: when you breathe in the morning air, when you stop to listen to the birds, when you lose your breath getting caught in the smell of the grass or the fresh bread drifting down your street, you can’t help but fall in love. And when it comes time to leave, and when you come home and you lie in your bed, you will feel unsettled, because you’ll find that amongst the pieces of you that you found and packed up, you left a piece of your heart behind. Of course that hurts, of course that’s not easy.
But it’s only a piece. A beautiful fragment left behind forever in that little corner of the world.
And the bigger part of you heart lives here, inside. Always. Do not forget this.
I’m coming home, with more motivation and inspiration than ever before, ready to finish my last year of university and go chase my dreams.
Though I may feel unsettled, I know exciting times are ahead.
And it’s good to be home.