It has been over a month since I’ve come back home and ever since I have been trying to write a ‘I’m back’ blog post but I’ve always failed.
I couldn’t write about my journey. I couldn’t even talk about it. When friends asked me how it was, I could only answer ‘Great. I loved it,’ before hastening to add ‘What about you? What have you been up to?’. People wouldn’t pry much after that. They were as little interested as I was and it suited me fine.
In some regards, I felt a similar way than I did when I came back from cycle touring in Scotland and the Orkney Islands back in September 2014. There was something too personal about the experience that held me back from finding words to share it. So I preferred not to speak to avoid uttering bland generalities that would ring untrue.
I remained quiet and went about my life. I updated my CV, caught up with friends, wrote job applications, visited Bristol, and little by little I transitioned to a new life off the bike. It was different from what I expected. I thought I would hate living in London with it noise and pollution but I have not felt any resentment against the city. I thought I would find it difficult to be still but I relished being home surrounded by my stuff. It all seemed very normal. But it wasn’t and I knew it. My eyes would fill up with tears every time I tried to talk about the future. I didn’t want to admit it, but I was standing on shifting sands. By quitting my job to go cycling in Spain and Portugal I had forsaken my old life. By stopping my wandering life on the bike, I had closed another chapter. But I didn’t want to admit this so I fought and pretended all was fine.
Last week, I was standing on the terrace of a Warm Showers host in Bristol, watching the light of the city dissolve into the countryside. Everything was quiet but for the murmur of a television program and the dull whistle of a distant road. I felt still and happy, part of a city but not trapped by it. And as I rested my glass of wine on the table, I let myself be swallowed whole by the sand. I have no grip on what’s to come and that is okay. The past is gone and I don’t have to hold on to it. I’ll fall onto steady ground soon enough.