Monday, January 7, 2013

I don't want to go to London

One of the few places I never wanted to visit was London and I guess the UK in general. Both when I studied at school and at the university, there was this constant pressure to speak British English and to be involved in conversations about the Queen and the Royal Family, the Big Ben and the whole nine. Naturally, that made me want to stay away from Britain.

It's curious though that in the last year I've come to know many people who adore England and the UK, but me, still not there. Actually, my line of work now is directly involved with a lot of things English and British. England is our biggest product, so to speak. It still hasn't really grown on me, but I think eventually I might get off my ass and actually visit it. I'd be more curious about the countryside, I imagine. Although who knows. You hear all these good things about London, maybe it actually rocks. I've been surprised before, so one can't rule anything out.

I'm curious about Ireland.

I was surprised by Lisbon, it was different from what I thought it would be and I'll admit I didn't completely get it. Porto, I loved, it's somehow a wonderful mix of small town and urban atmosphere. But Lisbon I just didn't get. I was in a weird state when we were there, in fact I'd prefered to stay at home, so maybe that's the reason why I was not too impressed. So yeah, maybe I'll fall in love with London, England, UK.

I also thought of songs that remind me of certain places. When I was in the US, it was Posession by Sarah McLachlan.

That summer in Gettysburg, PA was hot and humid. Perhaps it is typical for that area, but I didn't stay long enough to find out. But mornings were sometimes brisk. In the morning, I would get on my fantastic fixed bike, turn on my iPod (there was a time I had one) and put my Most Played list on. I would light up my cigarette and start pedaling down a completely empty suburban road past American dream-like houses and Sarah McLachlan's refreshing voice would come on. I would pedal straight ahead, shoulders relaxed, until the end of the street, then throw my cigarette butt away, make a left turn and pick up a certain speed. I would enjoy the song for two-three minutes. It was a beautiful start of the day.

Another thought. I wonder what it would be like to go back and live in Berlin again. 2011 was a great year. I originally came to Berlin without knowing what an amazing place it was. I had quit my job and I had originally only planned to stay there for about 4 days. I then simply cancelled my return ticket (okay, I didn't cancel it and actually lost some dough, I just didn't use it) and decided to stay for almost 3 months. The city swept me off my feet right away. I was blown away. Met great people. Enjoyed myself. It was a good time.

My second uh, three-month term there was already different. I already had an established circle of friends and acquaintances. But I re-discovered the city by bike this time, so also a new perspective. Different, but good.

In 2012, I visited three times over the course of 5 months. I still love that place. It feels like home. You are who you are there more than anywhere else. And by you I mean me. But I guess living there would be different now. I wouldn't be happy just to be there and go out and hang out and freelance. A steady job (and a visa to support it) would change things, but yeah, they are close to non-existent. Maybe it's good for Berlin to stay in mind as a place where one rests and doesn't really work. A parental home of sorts to visit over holidays.

Friday, January 4, 2013

2012 in travel

Moscow in January.
Istanbul in January.
Rome, Athens in March.
Istanbul in March.
Sochi in May.
Berlin in June.
St. Petersburg in August.
Switzerland and Berlin in August-September.
Berlin in November.
Rome and Lisbon in December.

2012 turned out to be not my best year. For the first time I can say I'm a bit tired of travelling. Maybe because now it's not as laid back as it used to be or I plan wrong. Today I finish work, pack my bag in the evening and take off at night, spend a week or two elsewhere, arrive at night and go to work in the morning. It felt like I didn't really rest. Although this year was part fun, too.

I'm so glad to have stayed at home now, for the holidays. I'm so relieved not to have to pack and fly somewhere. Just to stay put and do nothing. I missed not doing anything. And while I'm looking forward to getting bored with it, I feel like I'm finally resting for real. There is a certain pleasure in waking up in an empty apartment, having your own routine, drinking whatever tea or coffee you please and constructing your day the way you want to. It's good not to depend on people or rather a person (okay, I'm not really there just yet).

In 2012 I sometimes lost grip with reality in terms of relationships and life and now would be a good time to pick myself up and elbow my way around. It feels like I learned a few things about myself, including discovering my weaknesses, my strengths I guess I was aware of.

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