This is my last post based on my journaling or diarying or whatever it was I was doing while I was in the United Kingdom. Either way, I had a lot of thoughts and experiences that really encouraged me and I just wanted to share. If you’ve read any of it, thanks.
Even though our flights on on the 14th, the trip home actually starts on the night of the 13th as we sit in the hotel lobby charging phones and allowing ourselves to finally feel like we didn’t have to be somewhere right then and there. There’s an odd feeling of traveling exhaustion when parts of your trip feel as though they were two months ago, yet you also still can’t believe you’re already about to head home.
Home. There’s a fatigue I feel when I’m away from my muddy broken home for too long. I tend to lose my charge when I haven’t heard a “y’all” in a while. This trip didn’t have that, however. Not to the same extent, at least. I felt more at home here in London and Edinburgh than I have with other places I’ve been, even if I was rushed. Things started rushed, and since we’re trying to see as much of these countries as we can in only a week time, it has felt like a bit of a blur. Two months of living crammed into seven days.
I want to be home. I’m looking forward to it. But I also know that it means returning to exhausting responsibility. And maybe this place was only an escape from that, but it was an escape where I felt at home. Which means that there must be some change when I return home. I’m sure that on some level, Zach feels the same way. I mean, he’s happily married and has things more together than I do, but even when things are good, don’t we still enjoy a brief escape from the everyday routine?
While everything on the flight to the UK went wrong, the return was about as smooth as travel could be. There were no problems getting our bags through security. The flights were on time for the most part. There was some bumpy headwind, but the movie selection on was pretty good. Atlanta was pretty easy to navigate. It was almost peaceful, or at least less stressful than most traveling situations, which seemed to fit the tone. The excitement of the trip was coming to a close. This was now time for some calm reflection, basking in the exhaustion we were now feeling from all we had seen and done.
On that night of the 13th, I had a moment to sit alone in a pub by our hotel while Zach went back to get a few things. The pub was named after the clan my family comes from, and I took the time to sip on a favorite whiskey and slow everything down. This was my last moment to sit here, away from my normal life, and think things through. To realize what might have changed for me while I was here.
I do feel like a different person now, or more likely I feel more like myself again. There’s energy that I haven’t felt in some time. There’s motivation I haven’t known in a while. There’s a general excitement that has been absent. I just don’t quite know where to channel it. I know now the things and people that I care about deeply. I just don’t quite know what to do with any of it. I can write thousands of words about all of this stuff, but I still don’t have any answers. And all I couldn’t write, I could at least say it all my life through words and actions if I couldn’t get any of this at all.
Change. Something has to change deep in my sometimes impossible soul. I can’t keep on in the same way they have been, because it would be insanity to go through the things I’ve been through and not emerge changed. What could it be? A job change? Location or living situation change? Relational change? I’ve become cynical due to life situations but that can all change too. And maybe that’s what should change first.
Because there’s no way I can go through the things I’ve been through and not emerge changed. There’s no way I can go on this trip and not emerge changed. I had to go somewhere else, far away from the normal, to escape for a time and become refreshed. And now I’ve stood in the Scottish Highlands, chatted with locals, learned about my family history, seen the English Channel, eaten a kabab with an old friend, and seen more historical artifacts than I could even imagine existed. How could I not emerge changed?
I wanted to run. I had to go somewhere, away from the norm. And when I did? When I was the most removed I could possibly have been from everything I knew? I knew how badly I wanted to share these things with everyone in my life. I had to get away from my norm in order to grow more.
Isn’t that why travel is important? Or diversity, or sports, or culture, or history, or love? These are all things that allow us to live outside of just ourselves. If we are engaged with any of these things, we become less concerned with ourselves and our own gain and more concerned with how we can be the gain for other people.
How could anyone travel this wonderful, broken world, and not emerge a changed man?
When I get home, life will keep moving. It has to go somewhere, and it will continue to move regardless of how quickly I want it to. And that’s fine. Because I have chances and opportunities to capitalize on all of that if I’m aware of the movement. If I’m aware of the movement, it doesn’t matter what the destination is. The destination isn’t always the point. Life is going somewhere, and I’m just here, riding along, doing my part to be the gain for those around me. When I return, things can continue to change.
Return. It’s about time to return. Zach and I stand up from our seats in the hotel lobby, phones charged enough to last us during our sleeper train to London. The long journey begins now.
We look at each other. “Well, here goes nothing,” and with that, it’s time for us to go.
Go. Traveling. Returning and changing. It’s all movement, and in this wonderful, broken world, it’s always going. It’s always going, and we have to go with it.
We have to get somewhere.