When I finally wrapped things up with my position at my last company at the end of August, I left for a three week journey in search of fresh perspective. I started with a week in Brooklyn visiting pals from college, sweet old friends from Scotland, and making new friends with strangers in coffee shops and book stores. Brooklyn was beautiful but hard. It was the first time in a long time that I wasn't going 100 mph, and was forced to slow down and be with my own thoughts for a prolonged time. I'd spend all day walking around by myself in the infamously thick, warm heat of summertime New York, wandering from coffee shops to parks, to book stores, and galleries. In the evening, I'd meet up with my darling friends for dinner and we'd laugh about all the inside jokes from seasons past that new friends can't understand, and finally caught up on what we struggle with and what we love about our current days. Remembering the old things, drawing pictures of the new things.
After a week of the sticky heat of Brooklyn, I flew off to Paris and joined up with 5 of my close friends to begin two weeks of shenanigans between Paris, San Sebastian, Versailles, Biarritz, and Barcelona. The best part was that we were together. The next best part was that we were there. We wandered, we marveled, we swam, we learned, we hooped, we hollered, we ate gelato, we read, we sang, we danced, we drank, we discovered, and we dreamt. But mostly we laughed. We laughed and laughed and laughed.
I've been back for almost two weeks now, and I'm already nostalgic about it all. But that's the thing, you leave these places but you never leave behind the things you see, the things you smell and feel, what it all sounds like, and how it changes you. All of those things become you in some way, and you become them.
I'm writing this now, from back home, sitting on the street in this dear neighborhood, North Park. A car passed by three minutes ago, with the goofiest puppy hanging it's head out the window. It smiled at me with its tongue hanging out, blissful as could be. Every ten minutes, the tree across the street is shedding its leaves. The bus is about to drive by and my ears are bracing themselves for the rambunctious chaos that'll bring. It's not Gaudi, and it's not Le Sacre Couer, but it's home, and it's better now, with all those things humming inside of me.
Most of all, I've been refreshed on how to be an explorer of the world; to look at it with hungry eyes, curious and unknowing. Being in new places, seeing different things, becomings friends with strangers, learning a different language and respecting a new culture, those things fill my being with wonder for the puppy, the tree, and the city bus in this current scene. Enchanted seeking even amidst home's familiarity.
Here are some of the things that moved me, the people that I'll share these memories with forever, and the places that now live inside of me...
Images from myself, Brittany Buchanan, Deborah Eriksson Perrin, Adam Finck & Dan Jones.