Three weeks ago I found myself staring at the walls, feeling trapped and overwhelmed.
Waking up for an early work shift, to be met with black skies and concrete, creates a pretty dreary pattern. The London rat race: holding out for pay day, spending the majority of earnings on bills and transport; drawing comparisons on who is earning or doing more, is a far cry from real quality of life. London has plenty to offer sure, but it’s fast-paced, crowded and expensive. Not many people my age can afford to solely rent a place, let alone buy, which is just one of my common generational problems. Throw some family disputes, heartaches and health scares into the mix, and you’re in for a pretty shit time.
I have this constant need to control everything so that my life feels orderly. When a curve ball is thrown, I find myself wanting to hold on and solve the problem, even if I know I can’t. Thinking too much about the past and future is typically a waste of thought; I was struggling just to stay present.
Two weeks ago I went on the adventure of a lifetime. My cousin and I (and a couple of friends) visited Rio De Janeiro, a HUGE tick off the bucket list. Before the trip, I’d been contemplating whether to go for therapy: ten days under the sun will have you feeling like a whole new woman.
Black and white swirl-designed pavements, blue skies; sandy beaches and tall trees introduced themselves to us as Copacabana. The vibrant locals, sitting outside our apartment playing indigenous music, welcomed us with vibrancy the moment we left our taxi. That feeling of aliveness – despite politically corrupt and tense undercurrents – followed wherever we went. I was jolted back into the present moment.
Just imagine a built up, spacious, wondrous city, thriving in the middle of the mountains. Everything about it captured me. From the industrialised buildings on the ground floor to the rawness of the favelas, colourfully layering their way up toward the sky. Everywhere I looked I saw a different world, with its own beauty and its own struggles. My inner turmoil was finally gagged, as I observed my new surroundings like a curious guest.
Being amidst nature was like a homecoming: traipsing across soil typically hidden beneath concrete slabs and foreign objects, hiking through forests; swimming the ocean and laying beneath a blazing sun brought me right back to myself: a person of great privilege.
I don’t want to bore you too much with my holiday tales, I just want to share one, inexpensive moment. It was our last night in Rio and we’d rented bikes to ride up and down the posts of Copacabana. I had music in my ears, the wide streets were lit up with trees on either side; the sky and ocean followed as we rode. It was this moment, where nothing else mattered. I remembered myself as a six year old, when I’d learned to ride a bike for the first time and realised if I didn’t want to fall, I’d need to remain balanced. And that’s just life isn’t it? We can endure the highs and lows so long as there is balance. We can’t control things around us but we can control our own speed and choose our own routes and I suppose that’s something.
Returning to London, the first thing I did after fifteen hours of traveling was rearrange my bedroom. It sounds crazy but I needed the shift in energy. It was a new chapter. This post will resonate with anyone who loves to travel ’cause the truth is, we’re humans, not robots. We need time out to reflect, to learn and reset. Despite living in a chaotic world there is so much beauty to behold and once exposed to it…I guess the bitterness of life becomes a tiny bit sweeter.