Making Peace with Winter and Leaving Wanderlust Behind?
I’ve seen the sunrise over the Dead Sea, jumped 25ft into a waterfall from a rope swing and waved down a passing fisherman for a lift on the Brazillian coastline. I’ve danced at an impromptu rave in an abandoned Buenos Aires mansion, been annihilated by Costa Rican waves and walked California’s redwood forests. I travelled across the world in search of new experiences; to challenge myself, grow and see as much of this beautiful planet as I could.
This weekend, six of us took a boat, a little Dory, out on the Helford from Gweek. We motored around, swam, relaxed on hidden coves and headed back to bbq the fish that we’d caught. That night, by firelight, eating, laughing and debating, I reflected that everywhere I’d been, I’d gravitated towards recreating the same thing; over and over; this exact feeling that I was experiencing right there.
And it wasn’t the incredible landscapes I’d seen that I’d fallen in love with. I’d loved how free I’d felt, the people I’d become friends with and the closeness I’d felt with my own existence on this planet, free of belongings, schedules and commitments.
There’s a quote in the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance; An Enquiry Into Values by Robert. M. Pirsig;
“The truth knocks on the door and you say, “Go away, I’m looking for the truth,” and so it goes away. Puzzling.”
A novel reflection of the familiar idea that you can endlessly search for the answer to something, only to find that the answer is much closer than you’d imagined.
After my Dad died, it took me a while to admit to myself that I wanted to move back home. It’s been a similarly long process for me to realise that at this stage of my life, travel doesn’t mean what it used to. I needed to give myself permission to stop searching for something that isn’t there anymore.
In my 20’s, travelling on my own was liberating in a way I don’t think I can replicate now I’m older and married. With no responsibilities, my priorities then were completely different. Although it’s something I’m so glad I did at the time, it was of the time.
A few months ago at an event, I listened to a man telling a Hindu parable.
Lord Shiva and his consort Ma Parvati have two sons, Ganesha and Kartikeya. They love both sons equally. One day, they give their sons a single fruit, telling them that whoever ate it would get supreme knowledge and immortality. Both brothers wanted to eat the fruit, so they began to argue.
To solve the argument, Lord Shiva and Ma Parvati set the brothers a challenge. Whoever could circle the world three times and return first, will get the fruit.
Kartikeya, God of War sets off on his Peacock immediately. He knows he is the fastest, and will surely finish the race first. Ganesha, the God of Wisdom stops, and thinks. After a little while, he begins to circle Shiva and Parvati. Shiva asks him why he’s doing this.
Ganesh replies ‘I am circling the dearest thing in my life. Within you is my world and the universe entire.’
I don’t feel a burning need to travel the world any more. I can’t imagine wanting to stop going on holiday forever, but as far as long term travel goes, I’m not chasing it for the same reasons.
For the first time, I don’t even mind that we’re at the end of the summer. There are no flights I’m eyeing up to get myself through it (yet). I’m changing my perspective that winter is a long slog of dark days. It’s an opportunity to bring the world to me. To gather friends, stuff them with food and try not to talk over them all evening!