I’ve always been a traveler. The kind of person who packs her life into a suitcase and disappears for weeks, months and sometimes even years at a time. The more I traveled, the more I loved to travel. The more I emerged myself in new cultures and experiences, the more I yearned for them. I wandered through the hilltop temples of Nepalese refugee villages in the Himalayas in India, I rowed through the Mekong Delta, I ate in alleyway eateries in little towns in the valleys of France. For many years it was only when I was somewhere new that I truly felt alive. Every time I came home I did so with the romantic ideals that homesickness brings and within a few days I was desperate to get out again… and so when I had saved enough money – I’d leave. The city. The state. The country. And I’d go as for as my courage would take me.
But the more I traveled the more I learned that if I stayed in a place long enough I could access a part of myself in that stillness that was otherwise lost in the noise of my mainstream life. I could access the part of myself where creativity lived, the silence in my mind where I could truly consider the world and my place in it – where I could hear the voices in my mind that would otherwise have been lost in the noisy cluttered thoughts that life brings when there is a push to succeed, to learn, to be something other than just simply myself.
Since I became a parent, the freedom to disappear into the horizon is the thing I’ve missed most. But there is something that I’ve learned from putting roots down into the ground where we stand. I’ve discovered the art of exploring the place that we live. The art of being awed by the beauty of the place that I grew up, the world that for so many years in my early twenties I ached to be free from. I’ve had to learn to find that place in my mind, that stillness, whilst still juggling the pressures of a life that is no longer just my own.
The secret is still in the escape, but it’s simpler now. A day or two off from the world. From work and from social media. From connectivity. A few days is now all it takes, to reconnect to nature and to that part of myself that I’d otherwise have lost. It doesn’t have to be something new, in fact, I find these days it’s almost better if it’s something familiar… somewhere we can just be us, in relative silence. Somewhere quiet and still and free of pressures; where our minds can be free to wander.
This week Bo and I took a last minute trip north of Perth, to one of my favourite parts of Western Australia. A place where the desert meets the dunes. Where sand goes from red to yellow to white in a matter of just a few kilometers. Just a few hours north of Perth lays the spectacular strip of coastline from Lancelin to Cervantes, home of white sand dunes, dense Australian scrub, turquoise lagoons and the spectacular golden Pinnacles desert. We loaded up the Kuga after work on Wednesday and drove out of town as the sun went down.
With many hours of driving ahead of me I was not only grateful for the comfort and reliability of the Kuga loan (thanks Ford) but we also reaped the benefits of the EcoBoost engine: with great fuel economy, increased power output and reduced emissions. Cheaper to drive, better for the environment and smooth reliable travel meant an easy getaway that just wouldn’t have been possible in the 20 year old bomb that we usually traipse around in.
A getaway where we could find stillness to consolidate life on the cusp of another change of season.
The thing I love most about traveling to the beach house in winter is that you are forced to slow down. Days of rain mean long days of naps and board games, books and chats, punctuated by cold windy hikes where the sky rumbles and threatens to soak us through at any moment.
Life with a three year old isn’t always simple but kids do simple better than any of us – especially when we (the adults) stop trying to control everything so much and we find the courage to just let go. We drove up north in the Kuga from the beachside town where we were holed up in a friends holiday house to the spectacular Pinnacles. I lay on the golden sand and watched the clouds roll across the sky, allowing myself to be lost in the world of my own mind – working out and cataloguing thoughts, remembering friends, telling stories to myself about the world in which we live. Bo found a set of statuesque stones in the shape of the ruins of a castle and there she played kings and dragons for hours. Laughing and running and playing in a world of her own creation.
Both of us lost in the landscape of our own minds… whilst connected with the earth in the golden light of a winter sunset in the desert.
Being still brings us back. It’s the greatest gift we can give to ourselves. A pause. A rest. Space for our imagination to breathe. Space for our creativity to find its way back to the surface.
The time that we spend moving slowly, bringing stillness back into our lives is always time well spent.
The time that we take making a conscious effort to reconnect with ourselves, each other and with the natural world in which we live is what re-energises us to come back to the world with the power to make changes and grow new ideas. There is something in me that yearns for that silence and stillness that I used to find. Back when I travelled far away and lived with no pressure to be anything other than present. I don’t necessarily have that freedom anymore. To disappear and disconnect completely from the world.
But that doesn’t seem to matter so much these days.
I’ve found that simply by stepping back within this world that I know so well, I can somehow see the world more clearly.
Sometimes disconnecting truly is the best way to reconnect. With our world. With ourselves and with each other.
This is my final instalment of the #FordThinking Challenge as part of Kidspot’s Voices of 2015. You can read my other posts here and here. Bo and I have had such a great time cruising around in the very comfortably Ford Kuga MKII going places that our old bomb can’t go… From the south to the north we have traveled thanks to the Ford Australia and Voices of 2015 teams and we are incredibly grateful.