Saturday, 11 January 2014

Recharging for a week

I love traveling, to the extent that I hardly miss anything from home when wandering around the globe. There is so much to discover, you feel young, curious and, to abuse the cliché, alive. When I travel a lot, however a main issue is often the feeling of having no centre, or a lack of roots. I sometimes like this feeling, but in periods of insecurity or hardship it can be nice to hold on tight to something which feels old and familiar.

In the last week I have satisfied a few things:

1. After an abstinence from cats for 4 months, I was able to come home and see my two lovely moggies. During the summer I was briefly volunteering in a cat sanctuary in Italy, but seeing these two feline friends did make me very happy. Apparently the older cat has been less neurotic since my return, has refrained from her recent binge eating practices and is less needy. The other has started sleeping on my bed and sending the most affectionate looks my way. Another plus, they keep me warm when I am battling against the atrocious insulation in this house. It feels colder inside than outside. Top notch, British design...


2. I have used many combinations of spices, been more experimental cooking and had really good coffee at home. In Grenoble I was restricted to herbes de Provence as I promised myself not to buy too many ingredients as I knew I would have to give away a lot at the end. Here there everything, there is cumin, tarragon, cardamom, cinnamon, oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, saffron, paprika, chilli power, coriander, you name it! Since being home I have made dahl and tofu rogan josh curry, black bean noodles, vegan bourbon tiramisu, many carrot, apple and ginger juices, felafel wraps, coconut chocolate mousse, porridge brulé, bread, soup and more! I have also been able to eat a much more varied diet, with fewer fears of having a lot to wash up (here we have a dishwasher, no need to clean pans and plates in my shower...).

3. Solitude. I love social interaction, but sometimes between transitional periods I do need some personal time for reflection. I wouldn't like this to go on forever, but it is necessary every so often. It is also good for training my mind, I have been putting quite a bit of effort into language maintenance and acquisition in the last week. I have also got back into yoga, something which I haven't been practicing for the last two months, and feel better because of it.

Mi fa pensare alla poesia "Alla Luna" di Giacomo Leopardi

4. Big widescreen television and a long list of movies and series to watch. I have finally started to catch up with the craze for Breaking Bad, besides watching the Doctor Who Christmas special and a few good movies.

5. Having an ex-flat mate stay over for a night, going to Aberdeen with her, walking in the mountains and having a very good chat. It was also a sort of goodbye/see you one day rendez-vous, as she will be graduating this year and heading back to Malaysia.

6. Remembering I have a room and parents and some material items. I actually really embrace the feeling of none-attachment when traveling, buying only that which is necessary and avoiding the accumulation of useless crap. Looking around my room, there is so much I don't need. That said, the double bed and electric blanket is pretty comfortable, and there is a certain comfort of things. I keep telling myself that when I get a moment, I will pack a load of it into a box and give it to charity shops, sell it, or just take it to the recycling centre. This moment never comes... I have managed to catch up with my parents a little too, watching movies with them, trying and failing to see the Northern lights on Thursday, going for a few walks in the Cairngorms.


So, it's been nice having a week of solitude and catching up with my parents for a week, watching movies, snuggling up to the sofa with a herbal tea and a blanket. It's time to start wandering again though. After having had severe chillblains from a walk in the mountains today I am more than ready for a week of 35 degrees heat in the Gambia and Senegal. Heading to Edinburgh tomorrow for the day, flying to Gatwick tomorrow night (haven't been to England for 4 years), then on Monday morning flying to Banjul.

I will pack after catching a few more episodes of Breaking Bad

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