This morning I saw an Instagram shot of The End store in Yucca Valley, California. It was one of the best stores I've ever been to and I could have spent days there chatting to the owner and going through her divine clothing and jewellery store in the desert. This photo gave me the first sense of post travel blues, the come down from not being on holidays anymore, tinged with a fair bit of exhilaration from the memory of that day.
There is a disconnect between me being in a place and me feeling the pleasure of actually being there. I try and force myself to think about my surroundings, the smells, the weather. The sun, a scent, a view I don't recognize. Just something to try to get my mind to connect to the moment. I need to do this, to try and store these away because I just don't get that excited in the moment. None of the feelings I should be feeling are there right at that time.
When I was younger I would get the strongest sensation in my tummy, call it butterflies, there was just something unmistakable there. In the moment, the excitement would sometimes feel too much. Nowadays it just doesn't happen to me then and there. I get a bit excited when I'm anticipating something, obsessively planning and organising. Is it because of my tendency to be controlling? My virgo nature? That I have planned too much and the novelty of where I am going seems old hat by the time I get there? My lack of ability to relax and forget the small possibility that things could go wrong? Maybe I'm too aware of the moment and I'm just not letting myself feel.
The biggest joy I get these days is after the fact. Sometimes long after. It might be something little like seeing an instagram post (and aren't there instagram posts of everything) that gives me the sense of de ja vu that I've experienced this before. THAT'S when the payoff happens. This morning was months after being in the Yucca Valley and the first time I've been aware of the budding excitement and the start of the really, really feel good memories.
Forgotten are the hours sitting in airports, laying wide awake at 3am from crippling jet lag, feeling like you've been ripped off with the dollar or by an enterprising stall holder. What remains is the content, a feeling of accomplishment, of having done something. That's the beauty of travel for me. That's why I spend the money, do the planning, take the risks.
I am really conscious of trying to not succumb to the grass being greener syndrome. When we had Marcel I'd madly pin travel links, mainly New York, and I'd yearn to revisit or to just go. But not ever having any intention of going and leaving him. Maybe it was the feeling of being tied down that my soul recognized but my mind hadn't yet. When we lost Marcel travel was the last thing on my mind. I just wanted my weekends to end on the couch cuddled up to him and I couldn't have cared less where that happened.
This memory is hopefully the beginning of coming full circle, of being content enough to just be. Of having done what we did and of