I hope you enjoyed the break I took last week. Or perhaps I should be posting more now that the only thing anyone has to do is be on social media. It’s finally my time to thrive. So if you’re new, I’ve got loads of posts dating back a year. Eat your heart out.
I’m back in Oregon. I do appreciate that only two or so weeks ago, I was declaring my decision to stay in England.
For those of you asking why I changed my mind, I woke up one morning to Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister of the UK, stating that the country wouldn’t be back to normal for six more months.
While I was prepared to stay in Brighton for about three months, four if I really had to, I certainly had no intention of staying in Brighton for six months. I’d spend all my savings just being alive there and then have to come back to the States when we were given the all-clear because I couldn’t afford to travel anymore.
With the help of friends and family, I got a ticket for the 10th of April, direct from London to Seattle and Seattle to Eugene. Before I was even sent the receipt for the trip, the flight from Seattle to Eugene was cancelled. I let that sit for a couple days, but as time went on, all other public transit started shutting down throughout the UK.
National Rail Service as well as Coach Service were shut down on the fifth. We were given a few days warning, and that’s what spooked me into moving my flight up to the 6th. I was in Brighton, an uber away from the train, an hour train ride to London, and another Uber to the airport. I needed to get to the airport before everything shut down.
So earlier than expected, and certainly earlier than I wanted, I left Brighton on the 6th. I couldn’t rebook Seattle to Eugene, apparently those flights are rare and unreliable. So I’d drive down to Eugene. Which in and of itself made me a touch uncomfortable. I hadn’t seriously driven in over two years, would just be off a 10 hour flight from a country where they drove on the other side of the road, and it would be dark. Just casual stress around it.
The train was bizarre. I came in on that train and the whole town was packed. Now it was Ghost World. More people working than riding on the train, I had a whole car nearly to myself. I arrived in London just around noon and it was deserted. An Uber picked me up and we drove passed the row of museums. It was completely empty.
This driver couldn’t believe we were seeing this in our lifetimes, though, everyone lives through something chaotic, don’t they? Hopefully this is our time, and the only time we have to suffer through at this scale.
Only a handful of people were at the airport. It took a total of 30 minutes to walk into the airport, and then be at my gate. I wandered, but everything was closed except the snack stores. No one was at the airport. The screens showed all the flights for that day, about 10 in total, dropping each one as the time came and went.
The plane, too, was completely empty. About 11 people in total on the flight, and we got to spread out how we chose (except into First Class, because poor people are still poor people). It was a ten hour flight and relatively painless (not literally painless. It doesn’t matter if you have one seat, or a whole row of seats, it’s just uncomfortable to sleep on a plane). I looked out the window at one point to see just ice all around us. For as far as I could see, just white, cracked ice. We were flying over the topmost part of Northeast Canada and where the water came through the ice it was dark black.
There’s a lot of the world. All of it’s cool. Maybe this isn’t the end of my travels. It would be nice to know what was coming next, to know if I could just get back on a plane and resume in two months time. Half of me thinks everything will be different. Businesses have gone under, people are out of jobs, it’s going to be a totally different world when we’re scrambling to survive society again. The other half of me trusts in the vanity of humankind. We can’t go backwards, we’re too hard headed to go backwards. When this is all over, the world will be just as vicious as before, and so will I. I’ll get on a plane and put this all behind me.
We landed and I got stopped for having a couple oranges in my backpack. Said oranges were taken into custody. They did take our temperature before we left the tunnel exiting our plane. I was a cool 97 degrees. I was out of the airport in no time at all. I took the bus to the car lot and rented a car.
I accidentally waived insurance without knowing it. Because I kinda forgot all the hoops involving car insurance and I’m not sure I’ll ever own a car again. What a pain in the ass. I sat in the car in the lot for about ten minutes reminding myself that though it’s been a minute, I’ve actually driven for fifteen years of my life. I know how to do this, and it’s going to be fine.
I got on the road and I hate driving. It’s terrifying. But all went well. I made an attempt to nap at a rest stop but also forgot that rest stops in America are the scariest places in the world. So I just plowed through and arrived at my AirBnb in Eugene, Oregon around 11pm after nearly 24 hours awake and traveling.
I was certainly happy to be out of the car, to be over with the travel, and to know that I’d be safe for as long as this thing was happening. Comforts.
I am sad to be back in Oregon. Something about it feels like failure. Obviously not on my part. I clung to my life until I simply couldn’t hang on anymore. But I am afraid to be here. I was supposed to be traveling for another 8 months. Now, who knows what I’ll be doing in 8 months. Who knows how long this will last.
While everyone is waiting to get back to their jobs and their gyms and their friends, I didn’t have any of that. I was already alone out there, wandering and exploring different parts of me. Will I get to just go back and do that? Hopefully. What happens if not?
Now I get to reevaluate. Maybe I don’t get to just get back on a plane in a few months, but I’ve got loads of things I’ve wanted to do. Road trip the U.S. again, go back to school, move to a state I’ve never lived in, take up Muay Thai again. Sure, I wished I was still out there doing the backpack thing. But I’m not. So what can I do instead?
The positive in my life is that I’m a curious person. Moments like these, moments where time slows down (or up, I’ve been on the phone for like five hours a day now, it’s so time consuming having friends) is an opportunity to readjust. I loved traveling and I have every intention of going again, but it won’t be the same as it was. It’s weird that it’s already over. I kept thinking about what I’d be like after month seven, after month ten. But it was only four months before I came home.
I love moments like these. My little brain is brewing over.
Or I’ll be living with my parents until I die. Shrug.
It definitely opens up some time to just do more weird projects for JACLAND! So buckle in, we could be here a while, and I’m bored af so we’re getting into it.
This week I’ll be learning how to draw. I gave it a try some months ago and didn’t succeed. Now I’ve got all the time in the world and I’ve already started yoga and jogging, cooking, reading, writing, dying my hair, etc. etc. etc.
Do you have tips or tricks for drawing? Wanna do a video chat draw session? Do you want me to draw you? Leave a comment or follow me on Instagram for the weirds. I’d love to include your isolation drawings next Monday in my post! (Okay, real talk, I’m not in as positive a mood as all my exclamation marks make it seem. Like, this is hard and I feel numb and there’s def a void and it’s deep because where is life? So, if you’re also miserable, just know exclamation marks make things seem less miserable).
Next Monday will be my last day in this AirBnb before I move back in with my parents. What a wild ride.
Love you. Miss you. Stay indoors.
Wish me luck this week and dig out those coloured pencils. We’re doing this.