Finding Familiarity Across the World (And Why You Can't "Do" Somewhere)
The part of my brain that I don't often admit to is always looking for somewhere, a different country that I can tick off this arbitrary and problematic tick list that we have created for the world. The need to "do" new places, even though you cannot possibly "do" a country no matter how long you spent there, is something I fall prey to. It possesses an arrogance that implies that a country is simply there for our consumption. I have to remind myself to remove it from my vocabulary, opting instead for experience, visit, adore.
Yet I felt a deep sense of contentment as I sat underneath Galle's iconic lighthouse, sipping coconut water and reading. Wandering through the streets had felt like being embraced by an old friend, even though I had only spent mere days in the town in January. I have not seen, even after this second visit, all that Galle has to offer by any means, but I adored the familiarity of the streets as I wandered throughout the old fort. It felt comforting, particularly in a time of my life marked by great uncertainty.
It is bizarre to stand in a place far away from home and be struck by memories of people now spread out across the globe. This is something I am reconciling with as I find myself as one of the last of my school friends left in our hometown as I search for a job. A quick trip to Edinburgh with my childhood best friend was a taste of something new, but all too soon I returned home, to a place that looks and sounds the same but feels fundamentally different. The same, too, will happen with Abu Dhabi: many of whom I know where have already flown off on new adventures – aren't I supposed to be one of them?
Hopefully this uncertainty will not last much longer. I have just submitted an application for a job that I desperately want, for it aligns so wonderfully with what I have become deeply passionate about – young people support. I am taking the same approach to job hunting as I took with university. Search for the one that makes you really excited about your future, and give it all you've got. It worked last time, and if it doesn't work for this then I shall pick myself off and try to find other things that make me want to up sticks and move half away across the country (or world). There will certainly be new adventures to come – did I mention I was going to Guatemala? – but first I get to be the luckiest girl in the world, reuniting with my best friend (the beloved) in NYC. Another place that feels like home, with a person who has become family.
I find life most satisfying when I am balancing the two, forming an exhilarating mix of new and old. It is the familiar that gives me the courage to leap into new things, I suppose. And so I look ahead with nervousness and excitement, ready for whatever the world has to offer me next. But one things for sure, I'm never "doing" somewhere ever again.