Where Have I Been?

I’ve been a little absent from my blog recently, and I thought it was time for a catch up. I’ve been tweeting and Instagramming, checking my notifications, occasionally scribbling in one of my notebooks, but every time I go to click that big blue ‘Write’ button on my blog dashboard I shrink away from the command and turn to something less daunting. This post is more personal than I would usually get on my blog, but it’s been brewing in my head for weeks and maybe it’s the thing I need to write to get my mojo back…so here goes.

The simple answer to the question is, Cuba. I’ve been in Cuba. I went on a two-week backpacking trip with one of my old school friends and the escape from my normal life could not have come at a better time. I got lost in crumbling maze-like streets, cruised between cities squashed next to strangers in classic cars, and drank mojitos that were basically just tall glasses of rum with a splash of soda and a mint leaf. I’ve always felt that travel is a therapeutic experience for me, giving me the distance to assess my life from the outside, and while the trip around Cuba was messy and chaotic and full of surprises it somehow made my head feel a lot more organised.

The second answer is that being in Cuba meant I was also absent in a digital sense. It is possible to get internet in Cuba but outside of the all inclusive resorts it’s inconvenient, expensive and I’m assuming of questionable quality, so my friend and I decided to forego it and rely on our hosts and a Lonely Plant guide for all the information we needed. I thought I’d miss being able to check my Twitter or post a smug photo on Instagram whenever I wanted, but in fact I hardly even noticed. We actually found it incredibly freeing to have a break from the constant onslaught of news and information that we’re battered with on an hourly basis in our normal lives.

View from hilltop, El Nicho Waterfalls, Cuba

And then there’s the most complicated answer. The answer that involves a huge shift in my life, the departure of a significant person in a development that I would best describe as inevitable in the long term but unexpected in its immediacy. So I’m now going through that process that almost everyone has experienced at least once in their lives – the process of filling in the empty space, distracting myself from the strange absence that sits there like the gap left by a tooth that you try to ignore but can’t resist prodding with your tongue.

In January I wrote about choosing my word of the year; one of them was ‘change’, and while I wasn’t wrong the changes haven’t been the positive ones I hoped for. The first part of this year has been tough for multiple reasons, and I can’t escape the feeling that 2017 has been sent to test me. Right now my life feels a lot like this photo – I’m standing alone on the edge of a precipice, looking out into a vast unknown and questioning which path I should be taking. But then I remember that I’m good at being alone, that I’m always surprised by my own courage, and that trusting my own instincts has never led me astray.

My second word of the year was ‘purpose’, and above all things I have faith that when the clouds eventually clear I’ll be able to see my way forward.

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