Our lives are changing with the seasons, the pages of our story curled and tattered, preparing for new growth like the autumn leaves that swirl and dance on the breeze as we drive past. Outside our car the air is crisp, perfumed with pine and wild mint. Inside, the radio chatters and hums, transmitting words we don’t understand yet.
We timed it perfectly, our arrival in this new land. The jewel coloured hillsides will soon stand stark and grey, but for this brief and beautiful period of time everything is ablaze, a world on fire. Burnt umber, ochre, gold and burgundy, majestic against a crystal clear azure above.
And yet this was never in our plan. Isn’t that always the way? We dreamed big dreams that we turned to reality, and in doing so birthed a newness that was so much more than either one of us could have predicted. Our dream became an entity in and of itself. No longer a distant object on the horizon, it took on a new form, a realness I could almost touch, like a soulmate we are indelibly connected to. We don’t control it, we simply listen and follow.
It happened whilst living in India. Lee had a job in the jungle as a canyoning guide. He excelled, and was asked to return the following October. That is now, but we are not in India. Despite this, it is to India that we owe our new direction, and to Lee’s colleagues who became firm friends, all of them French. It was with them, over muted conversations and “what ifs” at our favourite restaurants that something took hold. A seed was planted that grew and blossomed with wild abandon, drawing our focus until all we could think about was the place at its very root.
I battled it at first, balking at the thought of being so close to our home in the UK. Where’s the adventure in that? But deep inside I felt a hunger abated with every plan made, every prior decision rebuked. This past year held so many lessons. A life lived freely in the world is such a blessing, but one that needs to be handled differently for everyone embarking on it. I learned that is not about finding what works, but simply about finding what works for us. Both highly creative, and in our thirties, this means taking life at a pace that allows us to make room for the things that bring us joy. Writing, making art, reading, and building our design business, not changing location every few days and forever searching in the depths of our backpacks.
I am not a person who can have it all; something always suffers. When I have adventure and movement, I also have exhaustion and angst. Books go unread, emails unanswered, and my creativity ebbs. As I reminded myself that we have the ability to control the pace at which we travel, everything took on a different light. I am excited by finding a new place I love enough to get to know beyond the peripheral guidebook recommendations. A place to unpack, where everything has its place, including me. I have transitioned beyond the need for transition. For now, I just want to belong to one place for a while. To know it, to stretch out and fill it with every part of myself. To be creative, wash dishes and fold my clothes away in a drawer. To luxuriate in simple pleasures, dictated only by my own truth, not any outward expectation.
We registered with two house-sitting agencies, and as though mapped out by some celestial cartographer, were led to the most delightful temporary abode, so perfect I am still in disbelief. But whether I believe it or not, on Saturday we arrive at out new home for the next six months, nestled a peaceful 6km from the nearest village, amid rolling hills and footpaths I am longing to tread. There is a huge table soon to be spread with my sketchpad and pastels, a sofa stands idle, waiting for the stories we will share. There are cupboards to be filled with the contents of our backpacks, and a crockery set vying to hold our next café au lait.
Slowly, but surely, we are finding our way.