Very suggestive wall-art, no? :-)
So I've arrived back in England for my birthday to surprise my Mother and already there's something to moan about; the weather rather predictably!
Despite it being the middle of May, it's honestly rained on both of the two days I've been back. Unless you've experienced extended time away, that might sound a little melodramatic and difficult for some of you to understand but believe me when I say that just two days of continuous rain is a profoundly depressing feeling. To put into perspective, you should know that it rained no more than five times in the four months of 2016 that I've been away for.
Tell me, when was the last time you were able to self-acknowledge feeling great within yourself? For those lucky enough to feel this frequently, lucky you. In my former life attaining this 'mental high' was rare and something I struggled in achieving for many years previously. A variety of reasons will have contributed to this including a lack of self-fulfilment, recognition and generally being misunderstood and undervalued at work.
Previously I only ever felt ordinary and unexceptional - just another rodent in the all-consuming rat race. Travel has improved, strengthened and educated me in so many ways. Sadly though I'm expecting many of the changes I feel to go unnoticed by the majority as these changes will be subtle so unless you're tuned into the frequency, there's a chance you'll miss the broadcast.
Thanks to the amazingly wonderful positive comments you've shared, I know that my creative writing and photography hasn't gone unnoticed; two things that both you and I never really knew existed before. In saying that, my mini holiday blog years back on Resteghini.com confirms that my creative, ambitious side has always been present - just heavily suppressed in the professional background I've been swallowed up by this last decade!
I feel so thankful that travelling really has mentally set me free and it has allowed me to invoke this creative side that remained dormant for so, so long. Low and behold I've produced for us this travel diary which is easily the most challenging, disciplined collection of work I've ever produced and may ever produce. 20 short of 200 blog posts in just one year still doesn't do that statistic justice. Unlike 99% of the travel blogs I subscribe to, I know categorically that I put in more content, more emotion, more personality and a darn site more effort than others do - then consider they're all getting paid from advertisers and whoever else! And my photographs are pretty decent too I think you'll agree.
That aside, presently I continue to feel stronger, calmer, happier, worldly and a lot more culturally aware. I feel more self-assured and mentally stronger too which is about the only area I wasn't really lacking before. A lot of what I would have previously considered challenging I now look upon as considerably less challenging. I walk with my head level, not down, and I try to walk with a warm, welcoming smile on my face - when the sun is shining of course :--)
When I look upon the unchanged sights of my home town and surrounding area, I discovered I've been looking at them differently. Everything looked and felt so
much more smaller and so much simpler by comparison. Sadly already I've found conversation falls into this category too. It really know that it won't be long before I'm craving the level of conversation I have been stimulated by since my travels begun. What a difference a year of travel makes...
A notable difference these days for me can come in somewhere as random as a coffee shop. If for example YOU were to hear the Barista talk with an accent, you'll likely default to one of two thoughts: You'll either think nothing of it or you'll wonder where he or she is from. For me I'll immediately be curious to know where this person is from and then more likely than not, I'll initiate a conversation with genuine interest in knowing the answer that will follow. You'd be amazed at just how receptive and talkative people become once you can share a little familiarity with them such as something half interesting (or surprising) in relation to their country, for example. That's a big difference to the year previously.
Currently then I feel a lot more relaxed and relatively stress free with a supremely positive mental attitude enabling me to genuinely look forward to whatever the future brings - as oppose to fearing it. In short, I feel really good right now and do not fear worrying what I will do with my life (despite quite honestly not having a clue). I'm a believer in fate, karma and generally things working out for the best. I can only hope that one day this proves to be the case...
How long this level of positivity will last I really don't know and so I'm a little apprehensive about this as of course I want it to last forever. My fear then is that society will suck me back into the existence I've manage to escape for so long and I just can't allow this to happen otherwise what has been the point of this epic journey of self-discovery.
In the meantime, I will look forward to time with family and friends as I continue to firmly believe there is nothing bigger in life than family or travel.
Sixty-two and fabulous, hey Mother.
Until the next time readers, until the next time...