This is the week after I got back from Harrogate. I wanted to write a little summary of my trip; focusing on the highs and the lows, and more importantly what I want to get up to next and the things I’d like to accomplish in my time off. My so called ‘great escape’ is my first real adventure that I’ve taken myself on. Some people holiday abroad or go travelling much earlier in their lives, but this was the first big, self-initiated trip I had committed to. It was new. It was weird. It was a bit scary. But I survived.
It was the first thing I would be doing after leaving my job, and I had committed to taking some time out from work to allow myself to recharge and have a break. Overall I’m expecting my time out of work to span 2-3 months. It feels a little odd. In my mind taking such a long break seems like a rare luxury and as such it is time I don’t want to feel that I’ve wasted. At the same time I realise it won’t be the last time I take such a break as creating space for freedom to flourish is important to me.
As well as enjoying my first trip, I do have other big goals for my break and also just a general desire to continue creating and skewing my life and habits towards an area that is going to give me a better life. I’m trying to keep Gretchin Rubin’s call to action of “choose the bigger life” in my mind. I've not come back a changed man. I've changed, and I'm still changing and I always will be changing. That's not to say that I didn't learn or reinforce certain things.
What I learned.
You can’t do everything - I think this was one of my bigger learnings of my trip. As I set out I had this intention of being able to keep up with an online writing course, do planning for my book, keep up with my #create365 project and other things too. It quickly became apparent that I had to limit what I wanted to achieve or I would probably fail at all my goals. Travelling and exploring left me tired and took up a lot of my time. It's to be expected but it still surprised me. I don't know if I will ever learn this lesson, but I'm happy to aim high and miss by a few rungs.
I want a nest - I already had an idea of this from my #LifeGoals graphic I made, and the fact that a cottage in the peaks was one of my future dreams. But exploring people’s lovely homes and meeting their dogs did reinforce how much I would love to have a home of my own one day and a dog along with it. The control and decision making that comes from having my own place would really benefit me I think, as I know that I’ve got a particular style of decor that suits me, and lots of idea how to organise everything inside a home. A dog that looks up to only me would also make a great companion. I know these particular dreams are probably a few years away, but it was good to reinforce them (probably 3 years min).
I find it hard to relax - This one is kinda true. I’m not sure what it is but I can sense an under current of tension in me most days (I suspect it is self-inflicted). I definitely noticed that when I was out on my bike and travelling, this tension definitely dissipated once I had gotten familiar with the experience of travelling. It didn’t go away entirely as there were a few times when I got a little concerned about the time I had to write my posts and keep up with my designing. However, for the most part I was able to relax and allow myself to do what I wanted to do and not what I thought I needed to do. I wanna figure out where this tension is originating.
I want bike buddies - I knew this before I left but the trip did sort of reinforce it. As much I would like to grow a small networking or reliable, close friends who like hiking and photography, the bigger loss for me at the moment is that I don’t have any close friends who ride motorbikes. This leaves me feeling a little isolated. It didn’t bother me on my trip because I had my own adventure to complete. But seeing group after group of bikers on what for them may have been a weekend thing reminded me that I don’t have that, but I want it. And I will get it.
I love ice cream - This seems like a fact I only realise when I’m travelling (probably because I’m happy to spend more on good ice cream), but I really love ice cream. Especially when it’s really warm it’s so refreshing.
Getting used to travelling is pretty easy - Initially I was painfully aware that I had left home and was staying in other people’s homes. This bought with it a little bit of tension and anxiety. However after the first 3 days or so this feeling began to go away, and I started feeling much more relaxed. And after a week the feeling of travelling and moving on every so often became a really happy feeling. I feel I've recognised this for a lot of things; I have the capability to acclimatise to new and unfamiliar situations.
Meeting up with friends rocks - Throughout my trip I met up with my friend Jack to hike up Ben Nevis, and later on my way back home I met up with two friends in Edinburgh for the evening and had an absolute blast. It was great to catch up after weeks of solo travelling, and I think the sudden rush of conversation and sharing was particularly stark after a long time with only my thoughts for company.
If things go wrong I can probably survive - From having a lot of new bike parts, to having a brand new tire get a puncture and need a recovery truck to rescue me. Oh, and I lost my phone and wallet on the day of departure and my spare card I brought with me was cancelled on account of a fraud attempt...a few things went wrong admittedly. I brought the good weather but in return I got bad luck. Despite a few mishaps I survived and travelled and explored the way I wanted.
What wasn’t so good.
I didn’t catch up - This goes back to my point above about not being able to do everything. With the busyness of life and work, I was behind on a lot of articles that I follow, I had this image of spending my evenings quaintly reading and catching up on my articles and arriving home feeling like I had gotten ‘level’ with life. There were a lot of small things to get 'level' with. But in hindsight I was never going to manage it, and travelling is not the time to do that even if I do have rest days.
I’d like a life with more companions in it - As mentioned, I’d love to create a broader network of photographers, hikers and bikers so I can enjoy life more. Those are the things I love and want to do more of, but I don’t want to always do them by myself. The bigger life means doing things with others.
I originally planned that I might take a second, smaller trip to do further travelling. I will be going to North-East Yorkshire with some friends next week, so I guess that counts. One of my main goals for my break was to write a book, so in the coming weeks I will be focusing on planning that and then writing.
My plan is to write the book in a sprint format. Working for a set number of hours or until a certain word count is reached for 10-14 days. For me I want to finally start and write a story cover to cover. I’m not concerned about trying to get the book published, I want to write it for me. I know that with writing the editing and refining is such a big part of it. That is something I can revisit when the time is right but my goal is to complete a story. I'm excited to plan and execute this writing sprint because that method will naturally bring with it structure.
One of the most special things about writing is creating worlds and creating characters to inhabit those worlds. Sometimes when I think to the future I imagine myself surrounded by worlds and stories I’ve created. Whether I need to take that to the next level...I’m not really sure yet. From where I am at the moment (at the bottom of book mountain) it feels like I'm just happy with creating.
Back on the subject of travelling. One of my main desires is to just enjoy the the life I have rather than relegating adventure to just a few weeks a year. My goal is to allow adventure to flourish all year round. So that links in with aligning my life with the things I love, trimming the fat and creating a network of explorers and adventurers.
There's a bunch more other stuff I want to work on; but I'll save those for another post. I should focus on what's currently in sight. I'm also going to make my next few posts a little more practical now that my adventures are behind me.
Hope you've had a great week, Dan