Sunday 20 August 2017

Thermals, options...and friends

Don't get me wrong, I love it here in Split. Every summer weekend is a joy of friends, beautiful weather, lunch by the sea and living a good life. In the winter, cosy homes and glorious food warms the body and soul. And people. The amazing inhabitants I meet and admire most here are young people building lives, facing the challenging process of settling with their families.

And those people on the other end of the spectrum, the mature retired singles and couples are also entering into a new life. They have their own reasons for being here and they are happy in this overwhelmingly friendly community.

There is no denying that I envy these people a little. Even if they don't actually have a plan, they appear to have one, as well as drive to cultivate a direction. However I'm coming to terms with the fact that putting down roots is an impossible goal for me. It's not that I dislike the thought of permanence; on the contrary, I've actually started to crave it. Maybe because it is just out out reach.

My old life in London initially seemed to give me a sense of purpose and roots started to form. But something happened which checked that growth and so I felt ready to explore change. But still, having a sense of security is important. The few close friendships here and there gives me the stability to go exploring. I've learnt to take emotional strength from these previously unexplored and unexpected sources. My friends. And in return they seem to draw on my swirl of energy and positivity.

The reality, however, is although I might crave something permanent, I have discovered that I thrive on change. It's terrifying, horrible, but alarmingly it's what makes me happy. As someone I met recently said, I need to get out of my box. Again. I need a rethink. Having had a conversation with myself whilst lazily swimming in the ridiculously comfortable water, I've had an epiphany.

I say epiphany but I'm not sure it counts if you just returning to an original plan. Which was a year of travelling.

My accommodation, although fabulous as a stopgap, is less than ideal. I always knew it was temporary because of the uncertainty of funds earlier in the year. Given that I now work from home, it would be nice to have more than one room. When I initially found this job, I was planning to work from an office space but I like the solitude. Now I just long for space and windows!

I'm in the incredibly lucky position of being able to work from wherever there is secure wifi. Working gives me the funds to travel, and as I've discovered previously I have the most memorable times when I'm on the road.

Plans have crystallised over the past week; as love and possibility of love has receded, the hurt has been replaced by hope. The decision to get out of this veliko selo has certainly been helped by the heart. Wanderlust has proven itself a faithful cure in the past and I'll gladly take another course.

London doesn't really count as travelling so I've booked something mildly exotic and a treat of sorts. If I'm going back there for a month, I'm doing it in style. A balcony overlooking my Thames is a perfect antidote to cave living. Work is requiring my physical presence in the UK, but family developments will also demand an emotional one.

I will be meeting my second nephew for the first time, and there is also another little boy who is desperate to see his aunt Clare. Like carers of all young families, my brother is facing his own challenges, so I need to sit down with them and see what assistance I can offer. No matter where you are in the world, familial love and compassion are welcome.

This may have repercussions on future plans. Let's say they are the closest thing to roots and responsibilities I have. But for the moment, when I leave London I'm headed south-east again.

There was an initial plan to head to the Baltic states, but I'm inexplicable drawn back to the Balkans. It's like a magnet. Slovenia is a curious half way house, neither east or west, so in this transition period it seems apt to spend time there. I know some people, and it will be interesting to pause for a moment and explore.

Winter is around the corner. But I have thermals and options, and most importantly friends.

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