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?