No Place As Home
Contact Daniel: noplaceashome at yahoo.co.uk
General Musings (2)
Guide to this site
At home in the world
Not very heroic
Small town West Bengal
An ending approaches
Sights, frights and memories
Everyone's cup of tea
Introduction to Gari
In the hate period
Don't take this too seriously
Making the bag
Things which make me angry
October 13, 2004
Not very heroic
It's noticable how little London is clinging to me. There's been no collapse into depression (yet), I'm quite enjoying being here - but with no sense I should stay. I just don't know what I would do in London. I walk among the streets and shops happy, interested, but essentially untouched.
In a way, that is the best result I could have hoped for. My ticket out is now booked, so I am spending my time (fairly) contentedly, meandering in the city and meeting old friends.
There have, unquestionably, been some difficult moments. The next section is an attempt to describe the negative aspects of coming home - it is unfortunately quite disjointed and poorly put together, but I wrote it while feeling very down and uncertain, and since then haven't been able to work out how to improve it. Anyway, here it is...
It's hard to feel heroic in England. I've been in a world of such freedom, such empowerment, such comparative wealth; now having returned home, I feel very struck down to earth. It certainly took several months to get into the travelling properly, but looking back, in particular on the eleventh to fourteenth month part of the trip, it was a time of feeling incredibly liberated; so many lifestyles seemed possible. Just one idea: saving up money by teaching English somewhere lucrative and then renting a cheap flat in Marrakech (a fascinating, beautiful city, where a boy once offered to buy my shoes in exchange for an eagle) - spend a year maybe talking to people, writing, videofilming, teaching street children English, studying French. Other plans involved saving money then buying some kind of flat in England or Australia to rent out.
But in London, my plans and sense of freedom seem fragile. Life feels more institutionalised here. My sense of peace about wherever my life is heading is hard to convey as anything other than laziness or a facade concealing desperation.
I've had periods of deep doubt since coming back. What am I going to do with myself, am I really the demigod I felt I was when world jaunting, perhaps my expectations need to get more realistic...? There is the sense here in London of salvation through external things - put our faith in our career and employer, our money, our property. To steal one of my friend Gari's lines, few of us seem to place much faith in ourselves. "I know things will be fine, one way or another", "I can look after myself", "I can start again" - these are hard things to live by. I feel through travelling I had gained enormous faith in myself, faith that I could explore new things and do them well, faith that I could begin again and again. That faith is under a bit of challenge at the moment, but right now I'm clinging on.
That low point came about four or five days after I got back - since then my own beliefs about how I want to live my life have reasserted themselves somewhat. Plus, I have some great friends here in London. Over coffees, 8% Belgian beers or apple rasberry juices, I've been catching up with people. So feeling better, enjoying my last days in England, although getting rather nervous whether I will have enough money to get set up and find a job in Australia.
Posted by Daniel on October 13, 2004 07:33 PM
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