I do have a return ticket, so technically my eight months away may not ring with the same permanence as a one-way ticket. This I know is true, I would rather go now and find out for sure, than to spend the rest of my life wondering what-if.
Rain has been relentless this weekend, yet somehow I managed to drag myself out of hibernation and socialise. I also finally emptied my storage unit, which really just means that all ‘my stuff’ is now in my parents’ garage. Does it mean that after almost two years, I’ve officially moved back in? Useful things I’ve found in my plastic bins include: Thick and wooly socks, a scarf, two reams of blank A4 paper and the instruction manual to my GoPro Hero4. The real work starts when I start sorting them out - wish me luck!
By the way, have you watched the movie, Call Me By Your Name, from the book by André Aciman? I need to read the book, but what a beautiful story. At the core of the storyline is a love story, though maybe not in the way you would assume it to play out. It didn’t end with a ‘happy ending’ for the lovers, and I would have been disappointed if it did. You see, even though the main character was left rejected and heartbroken, I admired him for being able to talk about how he felt. Ironically, even as a writer, telling someone how I feel about them while they’re still in my life isn’t easy. Talking in front of a large crowd won’t phase me, but each time I stared into their eyes, words escape me.
Embracing the solitude
When I was 12 years old, I couldn’t imagine what life would be like in my thirties. Growing up is this thing we all have to do physically, yet how we get there mentally was both a mystery and the adventure. Life is incredible like that - one day your brain is full of questions, then in the blink of eye you’re finding your way in world.
My travel philosophy has always been to do enough research for my Mum, but not too much that I over pack my suitcase (and head) with what-if scenarios.
South America has been calling me for years, maybe even as far back as my early twenties. It always seemed too expensive to go there for a holiday, so I knew going there would be a change in lifestyle when I did say yes eventually.
I’ve been talking to friends who’ve migrated from overseas - what made them decide to pack up their life? Most say that it was for the sense of adventure, maybe to start a new chapter, and for some, even just to say they’ve lived outside of their home country. Whatever their reasons, I haven't met anyone who have regretted it. Sure they miss home, but with technology these days, that sense of disconnection with distance isn't as big as it used to be.
A few months back, my sister and I had a conversation about learning to embrace the solitude. That being single was a self-imposed negative stigma, and the loneliness I felt was temporary. It was then I realised that I had never lived by myself, or at least lived with other people that wasn’t my family or a partner. It was only natural to feel the need to overcome that uneasiness in all that was uncertain.
Who are you?
I’m only 35 years old, so for me, my twenties were my biggest formative years when it came to my identity as a woman. I met and began to date my ex-husband when I was just 22, so it’s only natural that being with him has helped shape me to become who I am today. When you grow up together, your life, your tastes, your hopes and dreams - there will be a big part of them in you.
Now that we’re no longer together, each day I look at myself in the mirror wonder who I am, what part is him and which was ‘us’. It isn’t from a sense of longing or hope that we’ll get back together, though I see now that by trying to purge myself of him, I was also denying all that was good in me. I want to remember the lessons, and also keep the good, because there was already a lot of good in me back then.
There’s a saying that situations stay in our lives until we learn what need to and move on. That sense of loneliness lingered because I struggled with who I was. Here I am, standing at the door of a new chapter, tentatively reaching, waiting to turn the knob. Everything that I’ve lived through, loved and experienced in the last two years has forced me to take the good and use that as the foundation to build the new.
That was my lesson, and today I finally felt that release. As I removed the lock to my storage unit for the last time, I felt free of him, of us.
I wanted to move to Peru to help me get away from the memory of him, of us, the life we lived in this town. Truth. Now that I’ve made peace with that, owned it, I know that I can truly move on. To discover more of what is good in me, have more adventures and as cheesy as it sounds, to begin living again.
This is the last paragraph I will write about him and us, so I’m going to make it a good one. I want to write this with love, because that is the good in me, I know I have an incredible capacity to love. To my ex...we were younger once, and now that we’re older, we have learned that it’s not selfish to want to be happy. Together or apart, we are happy.
Be free, because finally, I am too.
Why I'm Moving To Peru is an extract from my second book to be released circa 2019, and the sequel to STUCK - Friends, Lovers & The Obscurity of In Between (May 2017).