Daily prompt 27 (but seriously, who’s counting?) Tell us about a journey – whether a physical trip you took, or an emotional one.
I haven’t been able to write in a while – the reasons for doing so were suddenly lost to me – and so I wished to write something now, before another month goes by.
Most of us suffer from emotional journeys all the time. I say “suffer” because no matter the outcome, the journey is rarely good. I want to take you back five whole years where I started a journey – both emotional and physical.
It was early 2009. I’d just about hit half way through my first year at uni when someone suggested that studying abroad is pretty good, and I thought “why the hell not?” So I applied, just to prove to myself more than anything, that I had what it takes to “apply” for an adventure. Actually going on one? No, I hadn’t even thought that far ahead.
When the time came to board a plane for the first time on my own, I was looking forward to it. Generally favouring solitary-ness anyway, spending more than 28 hours travelling on my own sounded okay. I looked forward to the inflight movie selection, spending time writing, reading books and most importantly, eating the inflight meals (I don’t know, whenever food is involved there doesn’t need to be any logic behind it).
After hours of cramped leg space (long legs have their drawbacks) and being disappointed yet again by the tiniest pie, mash and carrot in the world (“veg” usually came out as one single carrot or a cabbage leaf. Yum!) I had to admit I was ready to have my feet back on solid ground.
When I landed in Australia, it took me three days to get my appetite back and a week until I stopped napping during the day. But that’s all it took, really. I recovered from an enjoyable – yet uncomfortable – journey so quickly, that come a few months later when I left for the Christmas holidays, I was yet again looking forward to reading and writing and tiny, tiny midget meals in hot tin foil that smelt like mashed potato, even if we wouldn’t be having any mash.
I’ve often had unpleasant journey’s that felt like they passed like a lifetime – sweltering hot train carriages that had no AC in the middle of a boiling summer’s day; a long bus journey sat next to a person smelling of vomit and urine; a queue with hundreds of people leaving the same gig; the pedestrian pathways leading to the entrance at Download festival – and yet after each time, the feeling of that discomfort dissipates quickly and my body, my mind, no longer really remembers why I felt so bad in the first place.
Emotional journey’s are not so easy. Rarely do we realise we are on one, rarely do we fully recover from them. The physical endurance you feel leaves you, and all that is left is the pressure and pain and that same discomfort, left for you to plant it somewhere in your mind and save for later, when you’re feeling bad about yourself or you’re having a hard day.
When I step on a plane, or a hot train, or even when I drive, I don’t cast my mind back to those awful times I had unpleasant journeys. Those journeys already happened, were already experienced and were already forgotten as soon as the journey ended.
But someway or another, our emotional journeys never really end. You can never really stop growing or stop learning about yourself. But unlike a physical journey, emotional ones aren’t straight-forward. We don’t know when our next stop is, so that we may get some kind of relief. We just have to endure it the best we can, no matter the pain or discomfort – emotional journeys are not about when the plane will land, but what you do before it does. And also maybe asking the one important question of all:
Why do the inflight meals always smell like mashed potato, even when there’s no fricking mash?!
Catch you later,