While EBF was at work, I explored Bournemouth. I’d spend afternoons down at the park beneath the hot air balloon; with headphones in my ears, people watching, and writing. I’d sit in cafes; sipping on espresso and eating cake, listening to the locals while I tapped away at stories. I’d walk along the boulevard, inhaling the sea air. At night we’d hang out with EBF’s friends, sharing amazing waffles or trying to politely eat a chili dish; one that her flatmate had cooked and was so strong that the spices were singing my nostril hairs while it was still bubbling on the stove, and I was in the lounge.
It was all rather lovely, but it wasn’t getting me anywhere. I couldn’t stay in Bournemouth forever, sharing a queen sized IKEA bed and a fluffy down duvet, with my EBF. I had to make a plan, figure out where to next.
So I freaked out a little… and then I went for a walk.
I joined a volunteer website that I’d found while looking up wwoofing. It had intrigued me, workaway.info. Essentially you are trading services that’re required, for accommodation and meals, while living in another part of the world. I liked that idea, exchanging services and saving a heck of a lot of money while experiencing a new culture. It was worth paying the tiny fee to sign up for two years.
I still had no idea where I was going.
So I freaked out a little bit… and went for another walk.
I looked up the cheapest flights from Bournemouth, to elsewhere in Europe. The top two were to Girona and Murcia, in Spain. I’d never heard of these places. And through my heart palpitations and brain explosions, I booked a one way fare to Murcia. It turns out that it’s just inland on the eastern coast of Spain, about half way down.
It was a Wednesday night. This is important, because by Monday’s sunset, I’d be in Spain.
So I freaked out a tiny bit… and flapped my hands above my keyboard while my leg jiggled uncontrollably. Sometimes you can sh*t done when you’re in a state of self-induced duress; other times it pays to just go for a brisk walk and happen to buy yourself a bunch of red roses that drop on the floor next you, when you’re in the supermarket.
By now I had flowers and a plane ticket.
Within the first day signed up to workaway, I’d had a lot of requests for me to go and stay in various places; Italy, Turkey, and Portugal. But I looked at the host list and found a mother and daughter wanting help around their house, cooking vegetarian meals and cleaning. Their home was within walking distance to the beach and there was a pool casually centred in the complex’s garden. We Skyped in an informal ‘hey I want to come and live with you’ interview. It just so happened that we got along really well and that my loud laugh didn’t turn her off the idea of me coming to stay for two weeks. I was going to arrive in Conil de la Frontera, on Tuesday evening.
This was one of the best decisions that I have ever made.
I freaked out in a happy kind of way… and hugged and wooped and jumped around a little bit with EBF. I then booked cheap accommodation close to the airport and hired a car to drive down to the Southern coast of Spain.
There was a lot of freaking out going on because this journey was really challenging me. I had invited that when I’d decided to just pack up and leave NZ indefinitely. When I’d booked my plane ticket five weeks before I’d left, with a dream of living in Italy in my back pocket. When I’d sold my car and furniture and stored my boxes of essentials and memories.
I knew there were parts that would be hard, emotionally. I knew that I was the kind of person who liked to know what was happening… but then again I was the person that vowed never to travel again after losing Mr T. But here I was, out and about in the world with a suitcase dubbed The Beast, on my own… not quite knowing where I was going.
But the thing is… when you lose yourself, you end up finding yourself; in a better place than you were before. With more knowledge about yourself; of who you are, what you’re capable of, and what you’ve learned.
Just like that I was off to Espana. I won’t cut my Bournemouth blog updates short, there are far more stories to share. Like watching an actual Punch and Judy theatre piece, pulling pranks on a delivery guy, and hanging out with a dog that did explosive diarrhea on an ice cream shop sign.