The Very Thought Of You : Aarushi Ganju
I recently got the chance to backpack across the United Kingdom all by myself for one whole month. I started out in London, went up to Edinburgh, spent some time in the Scottish Highlands and Glasgow, and went back to where I started from; London.
I had been looking forward to this trip for over a year and this anticipation made my expectations skyrocket with each passing day. Therefore, like all mildly cynical people, I kept waiting for disappointment to rain down on me like I was sure it would, and it pleases me endlessly to declare that that never happened.
Being by myself for weeks on end, left entirely to my own devices wasn’t so much about liberation as it was about safety, and learning the importance of being self-contained. There were times when I’d wake up feeling lost and alone and times when the grey, dreary weather would dampen my spirits just a little, but my best days originated from points of acute self-awareness.
Perched under my umbrella on the top of a giant cliff, in the middle of a heavy downpour, nearly freezing to death, I was suddenly able to derive a great deal of warmth from the fact that every thought I’ve ever had, every moment of my life and every experience that touched my life was shockingly within reach.
Solitude, resentment, thrill, and every other word that had ever meant anything to me was so personal and so very belonging to me. Everything I had ever lost or misplaced perhaps still lingered around me for my existence is so ridiculously defined; singular. While I was sheltered under my umbrella on my cliff, I almost missed a rainbow that had formed over the entire city, but perhaps the meaning lay in the fact that I caught it a second before its demise. I didn’t know then that I would go on to see three more rainbows over the course of one month, which is more than I’d seen in my short life of seventeen years, and there’s such great wonder in the knowledge of that. I could oscillate between high delight and deep misery or choose not to do so at all because these are the things that are closest to me; they’re what bind my molecules together and maybe they’re meant to be cherished and exploited and even taken for granted.
Life can seem so massive and so meek at times, but my adventures and misadventures made me realize that perhaps that was a dead-end, and that abandoning the pursuit of something that’s always a little out of reach and settling for the view before you can be one of the most courageous and spectacular things you’ll ever do. Maybe that’ll be enough and maybe someday I’ll discover that it won’t, and I, for one, find comfort in knowing that neither will matter.
My beautiful month of May is now long gone, and adjusting to real life is more than a little heartbreaking, and it’ll probably always be. But what makes the night a little more starry is knowing that perhaps I’ll always have a bunch of great days to go back to.
Unlearning the concept of home and finding fragments of it four time zones away, feeling sad over having left the places behind, and missing the several people whose stories melted into mine late at night will perhaps turn into islands to momentarily escape to, and having these islands so deeply embedded in my mind will hopefully make it a little easier to swim against the current.