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Curing Wanderlust


I can't believe it's been a year since we returned from our adventures in the van. So much has changed in that time - Ross and I have moved house twice and I've had two jobs! We've now finally settled and we're living happily in Cambridge.

It's been very strange to go from moving every day, not paying rent, going to the loo outside and not having an oven, to being able to have a bath when I please, to be able to be in a different room from Ross (even the smallest of houses feels like oodles of space) and having a routine everyday. I've been very lucky with my job, which allows me to have flexible work times, so I can't say I do the proper '9 to 5' because sometimes it's '7:15 to 3:15' or '9:30 till 6' depending on how the day goes, but it's still taken a bit of getting used to.

However, I've got to the point where I've realised that I need to add something extra into the mix because I have been a bit 'travelsick'. In that I feel the exact opposite of homesick. On the one hand, some parts of me love being back in the UK. I feel successful in my job and have created a cosy little home with Ross, and having long sleeps in a bed that doesn't move is a huge bonus! I am definitely happy with how everything has turned out... But I also miss travelling and Victor the van (who is on a summer vacay in Lincolnshire and off the road because we can't afford her yet). I even miss the sleeping on a slope, showering outside in the cold and the mosquito bites! Crazy, right?

I definitely feel like my life is much less exciting now that I have a full-time job and am based in one place. Updating my blog was much easier when we were travelling because I felt like I always had so much to write about. I didn't start this blog as a travelling diary though - it started when I was at university in Nottingham, having a little bit of an identity crisis and having a full-on mental health crisis. I needed a place to share my thoughts and it did really help me at the time.

So I have been wondering if I'm having a second identity crisis and if that's subsequently been causing my writing block. I changed so so much while I was away and became much more confident and competent and, if I'm being honest, a bit of a hippy. Then I came home and had to pick up some parts of me that I'd left behind - the super organised, easily stressed, home-loving parts, which love lists and plans and the sofa. I needed these 'older' traits to survive in a house again and have a start a successful career. While I suppose these traits never really left me, they're now grappling for space with the newer parts of me that I found and grew while travelling. It turns out that confidence does not like sharing with stress, and creature-comforts do not like living next to independence and freedom.

I think it's going to take a while to figure out the perfect synergy for these conflicting parts of my brain, and although the last year has gone quickly, it's not been long enough for me to sort out this lost feeling. I need to work harder to ensure that my life here reflects these new parts of myself that I found in our little home on wheels.

I've been trying to think of ways that I need to change in order to achieve this. I'm thinking: spontaneous adventures to the pub, exploring the meandering alleyways and paths around my village, ambles through the local parks, trips into the town centre to try new things and see new places. I need to harness this wanderlust into something productive here in Cambridge, rather than using it to mope. Missing the old adventures is fine but not at the detriment of making new ones.

One of our lovely friends that we met in Germany, said to us that we all need to work to make sure that we never lose our sense of adventure and wonder, even if we are staying in the same place. Use your travellers' eyes, she said. I'm going to work to get mine back.

Photo: Lilac-breasted African roller, taken in Chobe National Park, Botswana.

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