12 Essays 2019, Journal of a dreamer, Travel, writing

The Story of Recharging

The Story of Recharging – July Essay

Summer. Holiday. Summer holiday. As summer spent in the smouldering city when even the asphalt is melting under your shoes, is so not a way I dream of living this season. Summer is hard on some, who would want to aestivate, you know – those people who’d rather wear five to six layers of clothes and frost on their eyebrows, sip hot coffees all day long and indulge in hot-spicy comfort food. Those people who gladly shop for winter boots, scarves and comfy sweaters than bathing suits. I am part of those people.
Give me mountains, give me snow, give me rain and mist and fog and gloom all day long. I am not complaining. I’ll probably be smiling from ear to ear.
However, summer is unavoidable in Bucharest. And in the city summer is definitely more unbearable than anywhere else. Everything is hot and burning. Nights are especially painful, as you wait for that chill, for that possibility of taking deep breaths, of not throwing your covers off.
So, we take a strategic approach and make time to get away. For as long as possible. And as often as possible.  We just run like we’ve been chased by wild bears. Away from the heat, away from the maddening crowd. We do not do city breaks in summer; we do forest breaks, and mountain breaks and fishing trips and camping and (sometimes rarely and shortly) seaside rendezvous.
Fortunately, this summer has not been all pain and sweat, as we had some respiro with 20 something temperatures and that was truly glorious.
And yet, we long to get out of the city. The mountains are calling and we have to answer. Forests, alpine meadows, icy-cold creeks, sleeping under a tree, watching the clouds above your head, plaid shirts, hiking boots, rain/wind jackets, and a glorious, colourful scarf.
Tomorrow we’re out of the city. We’ll be taking a much-needed time off from asphalt streets, from crowded metro and buses, from deadlines and work. And will try to find our souls. Hopefully, they’re there, where we left them when we found them last time.
City nomads. This is what we have made ourselves into. We carry our lives in big bags, all around the city, and we become visitors in our homes. Leave earliest in the morning, and come when the sun has already set, tired and spent, weary and hollow, crossing things on our to-do lists. We gather all we might need during the day in empty pockets of the backpacks, laptops, keys, agendas, water bottles, wet wipes, snacks, external batteries, cosmetics, fruits, chopped carrots, juices, even a sandwich from time to time, a spare of clothes, and so on, as we would leave on a road-trip with no intention to return anytime soon. When did this happen? How did we let this happen? I see women wearing beautiful dresses, heels and a lovely shoulder bag matching her lovely shoes, and then they turn around and I see the massive backpack carrying all their lives inside. I see men in suits on bikes with sports shoes on and on their backs, yes; you know it, that big ugly backpack carrying laptops, sometimes 2, office shoes, a tie and maybe a t-shirt. I see kids taken to kindergarten, going to school with these colourful (yet huge) backpacks, filled with books, and notebooks and snacks and other things, every single day, growing wearier with every day of the week, turning themselves into city nomads as their parents were turned into at the same age.
And we’re counting days till the weekend. We’re counting days till holiday. Every single moment we’re counting down to something. A day, a minute, a deadline, a weekend, a meeting, a month, a birthday… a special moment. When we’ll leave the nasty backpacks at home and straighten our backs and lift our eyes to see the sky.
We run to Mother Nature, who is welcoming us every single time like long-lost sons and daughters, and who allows us to recharge.
Time off. Time out. Out of time. Somehow, we exist out of time during vacations. We arrange daily schedules around sleep and meals. The rest of the day remains un-programmed. Free. Welcoming adventure. We become bold, wild, free, brave, open. We smile more. We get ideas. We create. We dream. We live more intensely. We break free from the proverbial box and usual patterns. We make time for ourselves. We make time for others. We let go of all expectations. We embrace the crazy weather, the chaotic bus schedule, the midday breakfast. We enjoy that extra cup of coffee or that desert; we walk the extra mile; we read the extra chapter; we follow our passions; we do the extra thing because we can. Because we have the time. And allow ourselves to be free from the literal backpack filled with dire and worry and stress and grim.
We recharge for several days, weeks, -if we’re lucky, for an entire year. Is that enough? How could that be enough?
How could that be enough for your soul? For your mind? For your entire being? And for the others around you? Getting from a city nomad to a free spirit takes time. It takes time to transition from the cement to the forest path; it takes time to break from the cage, to grow wings and to learn (yet again) how to fly. And it is getting harder and harder with each year as we grow wearier and more worn out, incapable of keeping our eyes open to the good.
Questions I’m left with after this half-essay.
1.How do you balance work-time off?
2.How do you recharge?
3.How do you make it last?
4.What is the best way to transition from a city nomad to a free spirit?
5.How do you do it?
P.S. This post contains 1000 words in full, as per WordPress’ count and as I promised.
Go recharge; it would do good to your soul,
Roxana
12 Essays 2019, Bits of wisdom, Inspirational, Journal of a dreamer, Travel, writing

The Story of Travelling

The Story of Travelling – March Essay

Well, you see, when you ask someone what would they do if they had money, most people would say, without even thinking- Travel.
We, as humans are born with such a desire to know, to see, to explore, that had us climb mountains, cross seas and oceans, dive deep and fly high in search of something to soothe our souls. In this search of ours to know, we have encountered billions of stories and seen millions of people living their lives and sometimes, we had even imagined ourselves to be a part of that local universe.
We travel to belong. To find our place in this (still) undiscovered world, and think of the different lives we would have lived if we were just been born someplace else. People from the valleys imagine living on top of the mountains. People from the mountains daydream of the sea and people from the tiny and remote villages wish to be in a bustling and vibrant metropolis.
It is perhaps that we are born on this planet, but we don’t quite belong here? Have you ever wondered why are you here? Well, that is a really good question.
Setting aside the travelling to say we’ve been there and saw that and taking pictures to prove it to our friends, there is the other kind of travelling, when we just go in search of ourselves.
And when during those quiet moments on a plane, train, car, boat, whatever means of transportation is available, including one’s own feet, you space out and imagine you are not a traveller, but a local.
Travelling means being part of the everyday lives of other people. We catch a glimpse on how other people live, how their lives are, what their normal looks like. And we marvel at it while sitting in a local pub and eat hot sweet potato chilly soup with warm bread and butter and sip a glass of white wine, listening to the locals’ chatter and their laughter. And our lives get richer, our imagination awakens and we find ourselves believing for a moment we are also one of them. That is the magic of travel. That fleeting moment of belonging.
We lose ourselves in forests, foreign alleys, take the less beaten path and see the new world with wonder eyes. We see new faces, new customs, we taste new dishes, new wines, we hear different languages and even different realities than ours, and we marvel some more. How is it that people are so different?
And then, you find yourself in a book shop reaching for the same dear-old-book as a stranger, and you both smile. Or you take the wrong coffee cup at the local brewery and after taking the first sip, you realize it is the same as you have ordered. Perhaps sweeter than you would have liked, but it is the same, universal latte. And you and the real owner, both smile, like before, sharing something. Or when the friendly dog of a local comes to you with the ball, pleading eyes and wiggling tail to invite you to play with him. And you throw the dirty ball a couple of times, while the owner of the dog watches you amused and bursts into laughter when the dog – at some point – seems confused. Or that moment when you are so caught up in your writing that you do not hear the stranger asking to share your table, but he sits down anyway, while you scribble furiously an idea that just came to you in your rugged notebook. And when you finally get out of your head you see the stranger next to you drawing with a passion in his own tiny notebook filled with colours and stains, always on the rush, always with a fear of not being able to capture the entire feeling. And you smile. Or when you go to a church to clear your head and rest your tired body, and the person greeting you says they’re having an organ concert that evening, would you be staying? It seems that there is an emeritus organ teacher playing, such an amazing feat for that small village of theirs. And you start nodding so furiously that they smile. And you listen to the wordless emotions, the grave and vibrant tones of the instrument, and you get transposed into another realm, without borders, without another language than the universal one of emotion. And at the end of it, you turn to leave and you see an old man coming down from the choir helped by a younger boy, and you get introduced to the emeritus professor, who moved out there from the big city after his retirement, bought an organ, repaired it and now is teaching the village children music, including his own nephew. And you know you still have tears in your eyes, and the old man puts his thin and parchment white fingers on your forearm and thanks you. And you think to yourself- shouldn’t be the other way around? Or when you find yourself giving directions to others, because they took you for a local, and you just happen to know the way as you just came from that place. And they thank you, smiling and pocketing their maps, and follow your instructions. Or when you are staying in line to get some ice cream and one local comes to ask the ice cream lady if they have brought some pear and rosemary or mulberry and thyme to take home, and you end up thanking him for the recommendation afterwards.
These are just tiny bits of things that may happen when one travels. Near or far.
Travelling does not need to be thousands of miles away, on the other side of the globe, in order to be called travel. The simple idea of removing yourself from the usual known and extremely beaten path is travel.
And then you may find tiny stories like the ones above.
Much love,
Roxana