As with any big change that has happened before in my life, I sit here reflective. Where I have been, where I am going. How one door managed to close and another has opened. And like with every single massive thing that I have done in my life, it is a solo journey. After losing so many friends in my youth, time – and the lack of it – became undeniable. Somebody once told me “If you wait around for somebody else to be ready to do with you the things that you want to do, you will never end up doing them”. So I quit my job multiple times, travelled around the world, took all kinds of crazy risks and now here I am – buying a property.
I never thought in my wildest dreams that this would ever be possible. And yet in the midst of all the craziness in the world right now, I learned that the skills that served me travelling were also the skills that served me to do this. It all prepared me for it. In all honesty, I have dreamed of something that is my own for such a long time, I don’t even know how to process it. I remember sitting on buses in Europe and all the way through South America almost meditating on the idea that if I had my own place that I would have a garden with fragrant, fresh vegetables and decorate every room in a way that reflected each different continent. I would have an Asian-style bathroom. African drums and ornaments I accumulated in my black hardwood study. I would cook in a European-style kitchen. I bought fabrics from South America that were bright and vibrant that would fill my living room. It entertained me for hours and hours on end and I felt calm thinking about it. But I never dared tell anyone about it for fear of judgement, laughter. Criticism. Failure.
Well, 56 days ago I bought an apartment, and in 4 days I will get my keys. And I have spent the last 56 days dreaming and organising and planning everything in my own head, exactly how I did on the bus. But this time it is kind of stressful because it isn’t a dream anymore. It is real. And as much as it is scary, I can’t wait to sit alone in my space and to meditate with it and become one with it. For the first time in my life it is mine and not occupied by or belonging to someone else. I am so excited to calmly bond with my new space as I consider every object in my hand and choose where it is to live. For me it is a very romantic and intimate ritual and one I want to not madly rush through. One I want to savour. Because hopefully I will not have to do this again for a very long time. I want it all to be perfect. Exactly how I dreamed about it on the bus. And how I have dreamed about it for the last 56 days.
I don’t have a garden. But I have planned and researched what and how and where I am going to grow a bunch of vegetables throughout my kitchen and my house. I want a giant wall of greenery so that I can pick them as I want to cook with them. I have chosen some beautiful wood furniture that I can sit my drums and clave from Vanuatu on, my ukulele from Nicaragua, the games I played with Dale Danger in the Essaouiran restaurants of Morocco after buying them in the souks and to hang above it on the wall the scratch map that was gifted to me from my A-level students in England as a thank you for teaching them. I will have space to be able to put out every single object that I have accumulated that means something to me, reminds me of a place or a time in my life that was wonderful, without it being too cluttered or overwhelming with things that mean nothing, distracting me from the simplicity and joy of the space. Those functional things can be hidden behind closed doors so that I can look at all of the things that bring me happiness and memories.
I am really looking forward to being able to put proper holes in the wall to hang the artwork that I have collected from around the world. The Batik from Indonesia. The watercolours from south-east Asia. The spray can painting that my sister bought for me for my birthday off the strip in Vegas. I can’t wait to drape the yak wool blankets that I bought in Nepal from the shop owners that I had tea with every single day on the way from the hostel to Thamel and back. Or the Guatemalan blanket that Jess and I spend half an hour laughing with the woman in the market over because she couldn’t understand why we wanted a baby wrap blanket if we had no babies. The bed spread that I bought from the night market in Laos, or the one that my supervising teacher in the Cook Islands made as a gift to me in her women’s club to say thank you for the help and resources.
The truth is, many of the things that remind me of the amazing life I have led has been hidden under the bed for so long because these things felt too special to ruin in an environment that was impermanent and shared. Truth is, I can’t wait to be reacquainted with these things as I move them to their and my new home. I am excited to feel all of the emotions that come up with all these memories and to start something afresh whilst still being able to embrace the past that made me who I am today. And that got me to where I am right now – living my new dream.