Its a cold December morning in North England. Again. As I’m stood blearily stirring my cup of tea, I happen to glance at my fridge which is covered in magnets. Looking at it warms me, clears my thoughts and makes me smile.
As some of you may know, I’ve recently spent three months sauntering about South East Asia. Whenever I go away, my go-to souvenir is a fridge magnet. One from each place I visit. The tackier the better. I also like to try and get something arty to put on walls but that mission is less successful. Anyway, I came back to the UK a few weeks ago and I’m all settled. I anticipated feeling blue at some point when I returned, funny thing is, I’ve never felt better.
Booking flights home was done very reluctantly at the time, crying over a walnut cake I couldn’t eat in a cafe in Osaka, Japan. The reason was my wisdom teeth were kicking my ass and needed out. This on a journey where I was soon going to land in Vietnam and find a teaching job. Flash forward a few months and here I am, currently minus one wisdom tooth with another to go. Looking at the magnets on the fridge.
Being away for so long liberates one from certain habits. If you are constantly shifting your environment every few days, its hard to maintain any kind of patterns short of the essential ones. Brushing your teeth, showering, you know, the essentials.
The rest of it all just, evaporates. Do you wake up grinding your teeth about something? Instead you wake up in a room that you don’t recognise, not knowing where the fuck you are. Instead of fear, you feel a wash of relief that you aren’t in the same place you were. Excitement fills the body as you imagine the magical places you are about to go explore.
Then you go home. Get back into whatever routine you had. You wake up maybe grinding a little. But then you see the magnets and the feeling comes flooding back.
That’s not to say you need to go travel for ages to get this. Or travel at all really. The message is about shaking up ones habits. If you can change it up, just in small things, autopilot begins to fade. A neon green post it note stuck on the wall to remind you to smell your coffee, deeply, before you drink it.
It’s important to stay present and not wish ones life away. Having small totems and reminders of good experiences dotted about to remind you of good times is helpful. What isn’t helpful is to get caught up in the reminiscence so much that you forget where you are right now. Being away in the sun experiencing new and sometimes scary things makes you the best version of yourself. Bring that person home and keep them.