The real cost of being ‘free’
After stumbling into London after almost a year’s worth of travel, I very quickly summated my feelings into a blog piece and closed the laptop shut. I had every intention of opening it back up and writing, yet I found myself more drawn to the couch and TV remote. A year without simple pleasures had left me absolutely depleted and while my ‘to do’ list went mostly untouched I did manage to finally reflect upon the whirlwind of events that has been the last 12 months of my life. It had been almost a year since I had set sail and started my blog in the name of pursuing freedom. And while it all looked desirable on paper I quickly realized what the real costs of my ‘freedom’ were.
The year that lead up to my departure from London was one of my toughest yet. It began with the death of my late father in October 2013 and ended with my departure/forced deportation from my home in London some 10 months later in 2014. My life journey to date if it was mapped out as terrain has been mostly harsh and unwelcoming thick with prickles and every imaginable obstacle. Every step could only be taken with the intention of simply surviving. Enjoying the journey was almost a foreign concept. However I had managed to move my journey on to calmer and much more enjoyable terrain by moving myself to London in 2012. For the first time in my life, the terrain was easy to manage and even rather beautiful at times … and it only seemed to be getting more beautiful with every step. For the first time ever I felt like my life had hope, that maybe the hideous terrain that was so familiar to me was far behind and that the journey to come would be fruitful. Unfortunately it didn’t last. In October 2013 almost out of nowhere my path lead me up onto a cliff with a sheer drop into one of the deepest valleys I had ever seen. It wasn’t beautiful or welcoming. It was harsh, wild and overgrown. There was no path. There was nothing. And within the space of 48 hours my life had been swiftly hurtled back down into the valley of thorns I used to know so well, only now having experienced the attractive path it made the comparison so much more terrifying. I now knew what I was missing out on. I was back in the pits of hell where I’d started.
The death of my father, this marked the almost 12 month countdown of my needing to leave London. The date loomed over me like the most horrific and relentless deadline that could ever have been imposed upon myself. As the year quickly passed I was swiftly forced to the leave the country with absolutely no where in the world to be. Having had been not so politely dismissed from my family and without so much as a desire to be anywhere in world, I found myself searching for so much more than myself. I was searching for an inspiration for a new career, a reason to be somewhere and ideally for that reason to be a ‘someone’. I was searching for a home. I had the whole world to choose from and while I tried my very best to spin this into a positive, total freedom … truth was it was the most isolating feeling I have ever felt. The whole world to choose from and not a single reason to be anywhere. Not a single root laid down. The ultimate freedom was more honestly ultimate loneliness.
In my last post (A year without London) I described how the once obsessive love I felt towards the city had seemingly dissipated on my most recent return. That of course surprised no one more than myself. Having now had a month in London to really reflect on why that might be the case, I was shocked to have realized that I had never in fact loved London at all. The city, whilst being an incredible one was not the source of my affection. Instead it was those who resided within London itself. Without even realizing it I had a family in London. This family of mine were the light that shone in the dark unrelenting jungle of my life and were the reason I was able to find my way. In the year that followed my late father’s death they had nurtured me back to an acceptable level of health just in time for me to booted back out into the world alone. When I had given up and simply laid on the ground defeated, they were there to remind me it will get better. When I was lost and confused, they reminded me how far I had come and encouraged me to move forward. And when I showed them my wounds which were deep and in serious need of attention, they gave me the love I needed to heal. I was never devastated about leaving London, I was devastated to leave the only family I had ever known. So to say I have done some ‘soul searching’ in the last 12 months in my time away from my London family is a gross understatement.
So in a more accurate reflection … how do I really feel about my year without London?
A year without London has seen me experience more growth, direction and purpose that any other 12 month period in my life to date. To be welcomed back by my London family feels to me the same way anyone else must feel when they arrive home to those who love them. To be able to share my new found growth and direction with those who support me so whole heartedly was one of the most truly heartwarming experiences I could have ever asked for and of course true to form this London family of mine spoilt me absolutely rotten. I arrived feeling exhausted and left feeling refreshed … and more importantly I left feeling as though I was happy and able to leave. I feel enormous gratitude to my London family, more than I could ever put into words. I know my life will always have strong ties to the city and I will remain a persistent visitor. Not because I continue to be obsessed with the city, but because the family that belong there, are to me everything that entails the feeling of home.
So if you happen to be part of my London family (you all know who you are) and are reading this, know that I love you and am so very grateful for you with every last inch of my heart.