Home > diary, glasgow, personal, travel > Personal update / diary : Balancing travelling with staying still

Personal update / diary : Balancing travelling with staying still

I look at a map, I spin my globe, I hear about other’s travels and oh my, those feet get itchy. I love traveling a kinda ridiculous amount. Feel so free and content and happy and where I’m meant to be when I’m on the move. And so I have made travel a part of my life. I don’t want to have a big once-in-a-lifetime round the world and then settle down. And I want to be able to contribute meaningfully to those places I have privilege of going. So, 11 years ago I began my nurse training, and last year I did a Diploma in Tropical Nursing (DTN), and now I have the qualifications, and some of the experience and skills (and anyway that’s an ongoing project) and so the world is my oyster more than ever before.

Here is my 2015, past and plans:

  • Jan – last month in London, completing DTN
  • Feb – month in South India travelling and visiting friends there.
  • March – arrived back to Glasgow mid March (after London – India – London). Went to bangface festival
  • April – Passover, including hosting a seder. 3 day hackathan. Three friends staying for 5-7 days each (not at same time)
  • May – mostly quieter, apart from long weekend camping trip.
  • June to mid July – longterm lover from India/USA came to visit for 6 weeks. During this time also went to Edinburgh for a weekend AFed meeting, camping with another old friend for a few days on side of Ben Lomond, went to Barncamp in South Wales for a few days with couple days either side visiting folks in the area.
  • End of July – Manchester/peak district for AFed meeting and summer camp.
  • August – 11 day trip including epic train journey Glasgow to Berlin for £67. Then back via Oslo. End of August friend’s wedding near Manchester
  • September – Cycling Land’s End to John O’ Groats for whole month (yeah I know people can do it quicker, but I think this pace will be nicer and more interesting and *enjoyable*!)
  • October – London Anarchist Bookfair. Wilderness first aid training for 3 days (also in South England)
  • November – had been planning on going away again for 4-6 months

And that’s just the big stuff. In between have been plentiful day trips and discussion groups and online courses. I’ve learned python and been part of a small group migrating an organisation to a new server. I’ve socialised, maintained multiple relationships (sexual/romantic as well as platonic and familial – sorry to those I’ve not spent as much time with as I’d like) and worked as a nurse to fund it all.

And I’m happy with my life! I feel blessed that it is so full and interesting and full of amazing people and love and glitter and spices and music and mountains and adventure and learning and meaningful action and fun.

But every decision to do something is a decision not to do something else. And what I want right now is some more time doing things that my very footloose lifestyle makes more difficult, especially learning and doing and nurturing relationships (especially the platonic ones which can easily get elbowed out in polylife). So I decided not to go away in November. I’m still going to go away for 4-6 weeks this winter – I really don’t like the grey – but probably not til January.

And this gives me the space for other projects. I’m excited about building a robot. And doing more wilderness first aid courses. I’m looking forward to spending more time with people I adore. And sorting my flat out so that its a better nest to enable me to do other things. I want to do some winter camping too.

I also need some way of topping up finances whilst I’m away. It might be that I can get my first aid and nursing qualifications and skills to a point where I can get paid. At the moment, because I feel uncomfortable in debt, that makes travelling less pleasurable – needing to constantly look at my budget and feel pressure to have best ever time as my bank balance only ever goes down whilst I’m away.

When I started looking to travel every year, it was breaking free from the stay in one place anchors that required energy in. Inertia and commitments and fears and finances. But I needed to – I felt trapped and my life seemed lacking and the rest of the world was so unexplored and inviting and yet so far away. And now I need to find that other balance. I know that for me I also need to spend time in one place, doing the things that are best done with a more rooted home. Whilst I can do some on the road, I am not great at that yet. It might be that my travelling style is not optimal for me yet – maybe I’m moving around too frequently, still in the once-in-a-lifetime mentality of needing to cram it all in, and so not doing those other things that I want in my life which are doable on the road. For example I can do online courses whilst I travel, but these would be easier if I’m somewhere for at least a week. And actually I really like that more in-depth feeling for a place you get from some familiarity.

But right now I’m happy with my decision to be a bit more in Glasgow for the next 10 months. I am going to apply to MSF to go away in September 2016. And as I said, I’ll probably have a 6 week trip Jan-Feb – maybe to South East Asia, maybe to East Africa. But rebalancing for now means more time on the aspects of my life that scratching my itchy feet meant I have been neglecting for past couple of years, and want back :)

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