back to real life
Hello to my 3 faithful readers, and hello to the inboxes of the rest of you! No hard feelings, I just purged the 97 unread newsletters in my newsletters folder. That is the way of newsletters.
I am back from the previously mentioned events: my parents’ visit followed by a week in Newfoundland. My routine is shattered. My parents tend to spend almost all their time with me when they visit, so we had tea, went for walks, let the kids skip school for some fun stuff, and listened to my eldest’s final choir concert. Then I had one day to switch gears and prep for my first vacation in years – maybe five? And the last time I got a whole week away from my family was probably nine years ago now. It was incredibly therapeutic and wonderful. I feel actually rested, and Newfoundland is a beautiful place. Also my friends there are delightful.
Solo travel is one of my favourite things. That’s not unique, I know, but my reasons might be a little different. They’re inspiration-finding missions. Airports, as we already know, are outside real life, where you can have a beer at 9am, take a nap on the floor, meals are whenever you decide they are, anxiety is high but so is not giving a fuck. Someone is sprinting to a connection. Someone is repeatedly calling one person for their flight to Paris that was supposed to leave ten minutes ago. The Starbucks line moves as though it’s the DMV in Zootopia, while the restaurants bring your order in ten minutes.
When I was in university, I took a course on spiritual disciplines. One of the most valuable things I got out of that course was the way there are two sides to the coin of spiritual practice – one is the regular routine: meditation, prayer, journalling, reading. Consistency is the key to the transformative properties. The other side is disruption – fasting, celebration, pilgrimage. Perpetual routine gets stifling. A dramatic break brings inspiration, new ideas, freshness, and a renewed appreciation for the routine. I know you know how good it feels to get back to your own bed and your own morning routine after making do with, for example, hotel tea made with coffee carafe non-boiling water. I approach travel like a chance for a mini pilgrimage where the goal is the shakeup and the new ideas that comes from it.
On this particular trip, I brought my laptop out of optimism and then didn’t crack it once. I did no writing at all. I brought my journal and didn’t touch that either. But I did explain my novel to my friends, who are both writers themselves and have been my official and unofficial writing buddies for a very long time, and that is always an awesome chance to refine my ideas. I got to talk literature with them into the wee hours, just like we used to in dorm. I read six books in seven days. My soul is singing from the feeling of getting to inhabit that part of myself so fully.
Now I’m back, and I know it will take two weeks to feel settled back in. I find it takes an equal amount of time to readjust as the disruption. That’s okay. I know my routine was pretty well established before, so it won’t be hard to bring it back. I definitely won’t be finished my first draft by May 31, but I definitely will be done by June 30. This time of year is full of events and routine-busters, and it will be what it is. I’m grateful for the life experience that keeps me from freaking out about it. And now I’m going to have another cup of real tea.
Currently reading: The books I read while travelling were:
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruis Zafón
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna
Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree
Bloodlust and Bonnets by Emily McGovern
The Once and Future Witches by Alix Harrow
I recommend them all.
Currently listening: nothing? I haven’t listened to music really for the past two weeks.
Currently eating: normal food, but I had fish and chips in Newfoundland. I miss it already.