I need to stop worrying that I’ve not seen enough, not done enough on this trip; that I’m not travelling longer. I need to remember that before I set out this time I’d never done this before: never backpacked on my own, never seen much of Europe at all. This trip has been about an introduction to the continent, about learning how this is done alone, about gaining confidence. I’ve learned about more than history and seeing sights – I’ve learned that I can do this, and that’s both harder and easier than I thought.
I have done on this trip exactly what I could and should have done. It has lead me to the right places and to the right people, and has whetted my appetite for more, and showed me the means to get better. It’s also put my goals in the context of reality, so I can stop romanticizing this travelling life and start really living it.
I find myself alternately smiling like a fool, light as dandelion seeds, and crinkle-forehead heavy, chest clenched in a bit of fear. I’m happy of the freedom to be anywhere tomorrow, but also growing weary of it. Each day is a series of decisions: do I go or stay? where do I go next? how do I get there? what’s the cheapest way? I’ve no one to ask for their opinion, which means I have to always trust my own. I’m not complaining. I’ve gotten just what I asked for, which can be both the best and the worst thing.
The moments where I stop and stand in awe of a place and how I came to be there exist between periods of stress and frustration, but that makes them all the more worthwhile.
So here I sit, perhaps too long in this place but maybe just the right amount of time after all, at a cafe on the sea in mostly my pyjamas and with a book and a cold second cup of coffee and the sun on the water and a week left to travel – but also a lifetime left to travel. A lifetime.
(The view from my cafe table)