Thursday, May 29, 2008

Norwich makes my socks squelch

I sit on the top floor of a three-story house full of creative writing Masters students in an incense-laden room with a tiger poster on the wall and a skateboard for a shoe rack.

Trees line streets and the rain follows the cobblestones. It's Victoria without the hanging flower baskets and with a few hundred year old stone churches (insert hyphens where you will).

They have yoga and vegetarians and a farm outside the city.

I don't know where I'll work and maybe I won't but maybe I'll stop awhile and see.

It's the first day of the rest of my life, and what do you do with a cliche but peg it as such?

continuing on to someplace semi-permanent: Norwich, anyone?

Yes, here I am.

I disappeared for a bit, read emails and sometimes replied, signed on to Facebook to upload photos, but otherwise dissolved into being somewhere else besides in front of a computer screen.
Someone told me about an article on bloggers who became famous for their writings and then suffered mental and emotional breakdowns under the pressure to be consistently interesting. Maybe I didn't want to suffer a similar fate.
I reunited in London with my laptop and my suitcase full of clothes that belong to someone else, or rather an old part of myself, I think. I'm not sure what to do with the high heels and tight pants, but I'll lug them around a bit to see if they'll fit again once I settle. But I wonder how long you hold onto things until you discard them altogether, and resign to finding something new when it suits me to do so.
Too many metaphysics for a blog post, perhaps. The specifics of time and place for you: from Malaga in Spain to Manilva, where I met my Stone Knight Diego, a kindred spirit and later travel companion. Then I went to Canos de Meca, a sleepy beach town where I spent my time weeding in a garden and lazing on the sand next to the Atlantic ocean. Up to Cadiz, the oldest city in Europe...something about Phoenicians. Then a quick trip down to Tarifa, a surfer stop that reminded me of Byron Bay: full of organic veg restaurants and Billabong shops. I met up with Diego and we road-tripped to Portugal, stopping in Abufeira of the touristy English bars and restaurants (do not go there, ever) and then on to Lagos, a backpacker town of choice. A day trip out to Sagres, the edge (or end, I could never be sure, but both apply) of the world, the farthest tip on the Portuguese coast. I waved to North America. I spent my last days in the continent doing yoga in Lagos, exploring the grottoes in kayak and on foot, and trying my high kick at capoeira, a Portuguese dance/martial art combination. I also met a yogini named Amber who hailed from Norwich, England, and the way she spoke about her city interested me.
I flew back to London and connected with the Couch Surfing community here. I sat at Somerset House for Pangea Day, an intercontinental event with stages and screens in Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro, Mumbai, Sydney, and other cities across the globe. A live video feed put us all in touch with one another as we watched four hours of films, musical performances, and conversations between ex-soldiers, activists, and environmental activists. I caught up with old friends, met new ones, and then jetted to Austin, Texas.
My new CouchSurfer picked me up from the airport (thank you, universe and CouchSurfing!), and I stayed with her and her roommate while popping out to attend wedding festivities of Miss Lindsay King, an old old friend from my junior high days in Jakarta. I also saw the Alamo in San Antonio, played croquet in the Texas sun, and hung out in the downtown live music scene of Austin.
I contemplated sticking around North America, but a cheap one-way flight back to London cemented my decision to hop back across the pond. Now I am back in London, shaking the Dalai Lama's hand by proxy, getting rained on, and feeling like I want to get back to a bit of nature, but I'm not sure what that means.
I thought I only needed a break, a few months of globetrotting and then back to reality, a job and a flat and income on the front burner. Now, after being in London a little over a week, I want to try something completely different. I want to live with people who think about how we can contribute to each other's lives, not only in our immediate vicinity but all over. I don't want to join the Peace Corps or build houses in Africa (well, not right now), but I'd like to work in a community where money is not the first factor when considering what, when, or how to do something. I'm not sure if I can find a place where I can continue to live in the moment, every moment, that I can continue to cultivate a life of meeting new people and new ideas, and maintain my idealism in the generosity inherent in all of us, but I would like to try.
So I am going to Norwich, because I really enjoyed the company of the girl in Lagos who mentioned it to me. I have no real expectations of the place in the way I do about Edinburgh (another consideration about where to settle), and no real reason to go, except that it occurred to me, and it makes my heart light and my shoulder relax when I think about going there. I want to continue making decisions the way I've learned to in the past few months, I don't want to change just because I am going to stop moving for awhile. The shoulds and the ego and the societal belief that there is a set way of doing things is still present, but I realize I have a choice to listen to these things.
I want to follow something else for awhile, even if I have no idea where it goes. Namaste.