The traveller who landed (maybe temporarily)
The traveller who landed. Yes. That's how it feels right now.
I've been through traveller's hell and I've come back more adult, more grounded, more accepting.
For me, living a seasonal lifestyle in Ibiza goes absolutely perfectly together with travelling in the winters. For me it's kind of been the whole point of living here- the fact that there's time and freedom to go away in the winters, for months on end, like I've always done. The only difference being that I these days have two small children (2 and 4 in April this year). So far, I've managed to drag them along to different places, but when we spent a week in Barcelona over the New Year, while I had a blast, they seemed to genuinely wonder what we were doing there. Pi, the older one, kept asking me "mummy, why are we in Barcelona??" I asked him "isn't it fun?? Isn't it GREAT??" and he was kind of uncertain about it. Missing his home, his room, his father, his friends, his life.
That made me shake a little bit. My foundations were suddenly not so stable. My foundations, based on constant movement and travels, weren't agreeable to my oldest son.
I had plans to take my kids to Bali for two months. And then I narrowed it down to a "few weeks" as their father did not want them to be separated for that long. And still, he was worried about me going all the way to the other side of the planet alone with the kids. "What if something happens" he kept saying.
I found out about beautiful houses to stay, and a recommended kindergarden for kids. I was going to go to yoga classes every day, and then drink green juices and eat amazing healthy food, and in the afternoons we were gonna go to the beach and have fun. It was all picture perfect in my traveller's third eye. Totally child-friendly. I'd get my yearly injection of Asia, I could be calm for another year. I NEED my dose of Asia. That vibrant, crazy, humid, colourfully mismatched mess of a wonderful collection of countries, where I feel so strangely at home.
But the trip to Barcelona made me doubt the whole thing. If they are not enjoying Barcelona, why would I think they would enjoy a tropical island far, far, far away from their life?
Maybe it's just ME that wants to travel... Maybe they are actually happy to stay at home?
In the end I fell for the pressure from the outside and the inside. It just didn't seem right to force this travelling on my small kids and separate them from their dad in this way. They are still very very small. I had the option of going alone, but that was unthinkable to me. What if something happens to my children? It's more than two days to get back home! (Which made me understand their father's worries..)
I spent weeks with travel addiction withdrawal symptoms. I was a bit like a spoilt brat who didn't get her trip to Bali. It took me time and some serious talking to from my logic mind (and a lot of complaining to some poor friend souls) until I finally landed in the decision.
Being a mother not only means sacrificing, it also means thinking about the group- the herd- the greater good, for everyone.
I was upset, like a toddler not getting the candy at the supermarket check out. I was stomping my feet and saying the words "it's so UNFAIR!!!" on the inside. But eventually I landed. I landed right here, in Ibiza, exactly where I am right now.
By the fireplace.
The last few mornings, while making the fire, I've been staring into the flames as they lick the pieces of wood and do their flickering dance. I thought about how pretty the dance is. And how beautiful this life is, here on this island. It's winter, but it's not difficult. It's not THAT cold. It's peaceful. It's safe. It's beautiful. And there is the luxury of time.
I went to the sauna the other day. As I spent 20 minutes in the hammam, steaming away my mind's activity, I observed a very funny thought. It said "wow, the winters here in Ibiza are actually so cozy. I should really plan to enjoy it next year. Like, schedule to enjoy the winter." And then I laughed at myself, at the silliness of that train of thought. Like, doh!! What do you think you are doing right here, right now? Only thing that's missing is that YOU are there, too!! Because you already ARE doing all these cozy winter things. You're making fire, you're cooking soups. You're going to the sauna once a week, you're drinking a glass of red wine, you're watching movies on Netflix. Things you would never have time to even dream of doing during the summer- nor would you want to do them, actually.
So in between the steam room and the fireplace, I landed. Here and now, in Ibiza, in the cozy, quiet, peaceful winter life of a tourist island.
And it might have something to do with the fact that I'm making other plans. Plans that don't necessarily involve flights that go across oceans, but definitely flights that go to other countries in Europe. Can't wait to set these plans in motion; plans that I always thought were for later, for retirement!
One of the things that also really calmed me down, was a phrase I kept telling myself (which is simply reality)
YOUR KIDS ARE VERY SMALL.
And they are. They are not even 2 and 4 yet. They will get older, they will have a choice to go with me. It will be easier to spend a few weeks apart.
Everything has its time. Right now I have this. Two beautiful, small boys who need me, and I need them. Here and now. I'll try to stay right here, for now.