Sometimes, especially during a long-haul trip, I get tired of travelling. I get tired of hostels and tired of the clothes I packed and tired of eating different food and tired of moving on. It’s just a slump and only tends to last a few days but bloody hell, those are hard days. Those are the days I just want to stay in my pyjamas, curl up with my laptop and catch up on Tv programmes from home. Sadly hostels weren’t built for duvet days so I have no choice but to drag my grumpy self out into the world.
When I feel myself getting like this I do two things; firstly I say screw the budget and book myself into a private room for a night. It doesn’t even have to be in a hotel, just having those 24 hours to have your own space and recharge your batteries without anyone interrupting you can do wonders.
The second thing I do is to find a church. Not a big touristy church, I’m not going there to fight through camera lenses or tick one more site off my bucket list, but a ‘real’ church. A people’s church; one that members of the community could attend for a service if they wanted to. A church where you don’t have to pay or wait in line to go in. The type of church is irrelevant; I have no desire to speak to any higher power. I go because I find churches incredibly welcoming and comforting places.
I am in no way religious and do not come from a particularly religious family, so it’s not as if being in a church conjures fond memories or reminds me of home. I believe I go because I take comfort in the fact that others have gone there in times of need or sorrow and found solace there. I find a sense of security in knowing that I can sit somewhere and be quiet, without any expectations or pressures to be seeing or doing anything. I use that time (sometimes as little as ten minutes is all I need) to think, to breathe, to centre myself and just get back to me.
Being alone with your own thoughts is something that lacks value in modern life, as does the notion of just sitting and being. When I’m travelling I find myself getting caught up in the must see and do everything mentality which can be dangerous as this is hardly ever my motivation for taking the trip. I’m a traveller because I want to learn things about the world and my place in it, to have my eyes opened and to have new ideas, thoughts and feelings born of my experiences. To process all this, I need space and time and calm. A place to reflect.
I’ve asked a couple friends if they have Reflection Places and their answers surprised me. One said they begin to feel immediately calmer as soon as they can see and hear the ocean, another that they seek out a shopping mall!
Which got me thinking – What other Reflection Places are out there?
If you have a special place you go to seek calm and comfort while travelling, comment on this post!