Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Homeward Bound

Turns out, hobo, the one thing I've been calling myself my one year away from home actually means homeward bound. So while I was wearing low-crotched flower-printed hippy pants, letting my hair go to dred locks, sleeping in cars and constantly looking out for cheap-deals to get me to the next town thousands of kilometres and oceans away - well all of that means I was on my way home. To here, where I've been for almost 2 months already.

Back to university and work, Sydney traffic, 45 minute train rides into the city and $85 tanks of petrol. But home has its good bits too. There's something comforting about routine, the constancy of a schedule that includes dates with friends to go on food safaris wedged between work that isn't so bad and classes you actually like. While last year was undoubtedly the most adventurous, selfish and exciting year of my life, I was often idle, directionless and sometimes a bit restless (First World Problems, I know!). How can you be restless when your life consists of planning road trips to Portugal and ferries to Morocco or post-uni trips to Malta? Easily. You take things for granted because life is a constant high, it’s so high it’s unsustainable and the lulls inbetween are longer and slower and drag out more each time.

So, upon my return to my life After Spain I was adamant I was going to be productive, I was going to learn, I was going to knuckle down. And I have. I’ve swapped reading Murakami books in Spanish for
readings on Neo-liberalism, swapped barely attended Painting and Drawing classes for Genocide Studies I and Global Politics from Above and Below. I’ve given up lethargic naps and tapas-crawls for office-work and uni workshops. 

And I’ve been talking incessantly about Everything. About recurrent relationship problems in ‘Our Generation’, about corporate life and the underlying solipsism, of working overseas, vocations and post-grad work, internships with NGOs, 5-year-plans, mortgages and marriages, cross-continental dating and post-travel/overseas-depression. It’s been an eternal catch-up with people over pad thais, chai-lattes and vegan Vietnamese food in Cabramatta – all of which you could not get in Spain.

Things are different, now. I want different things and I see them clearer. I know what I don’t want anymore, which includes a lot of what I used to want (re: 10 pairs of heels, drunken amnesia, that really cute guy who's really an asshole not for me). I know who my friends are (amazing, independent, hilarious and so damn smart) and who my friends are not. I know more personally my many and varied faults (see: bratty, judgmental etc.), yet thanks to my ever generous friends and family (and the myerr-briggs personality test) a bit of my strengths too. This insistent clarity I owe to Spain in all its glorious adventures, close-calls, epic mess ups and to its unpredictability as much as to its constant sunshine and perfectly foamed coffees.

And while I feel 60% less attractive here in Australia than I ever did in Spain, I have the confidence that comes from having your worst fears realised and your biggest dream come true. Worst fears being alone, homeless, moneyless, passportless in a country Lonely Planet doesn't cover well (also being almost mugged on my 21st birthday, missing multiple international flights etc.) and biggest dreams well - that one is self-explanatory (see: LIVING IN SPAIN). After that, the rest is cake – right?

From a good place to be, Malaga, Spain.

1 comment:

  1. I feel the same way after spending the year in Australia and having to come back home to the States. I'm like "Now what?" Excellent writing, keep up the good work.