LIZ HARROD

Stop, Breathe – 14 March

In Photo, Portugal, Travel 2011, WWOOF on March 19, 2011 at 1:11 pm

I have officially been traveling (for lack of a better word at this time) for one month.

Though I agree with the sentiment that it shouldn’t be necessary to retreat from everyday life in order to commune with yourself and reflect on different ideas and beliefs, I do think that it occasionally helps the process to spend some time of your own, leaning back toward your basic instincts and ways of life as a way to grasp your most basic needs, wants, beliefs, ideas, and all the other things that make you you.

To say that I have retreated from my everyday life is becoming more and more of an understatement.

Deciding to leave Australia, as I have probably mentioned before, was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made in my so far short life – a decision that meant giving up the first lifestyle that I had built all for myself: my job, my apartment, my bank accounts, my Sydney restaurants and days at beaches, my nights at the Golden Sheaf and Sunday brunches at Baffi and Mo’s. Leaving my friends, my family there was even harder – knowing I will see them again, but not knowing when. My first voyage into this post-college adult life – calling it that but not really knowing what that means – cut abruptly short by my own hand.

Admittedly, everything since then has moved quickly. The holiday season whipped past, starting with a bit of jet lag and ending as each of my friends headed back to work – a friendly reminder that I was unemployed. January was consumed by a bit of work with a few friends and faded into February, with my birthday and finally my departure.

As anyone who has actually read bits of this blog from the beginning knows, I zipped through Dublin, Edinburgh, and London in under a month – a testament to my usual way of life: fast paced, goal driven, and with a checklist. For the first time since I left, I have had to slow down.

This place, this absolute haven in the middle of Portugal uses everything around me and everything inside me to make me stop. I stop so I don’t slide down a terrace or trip over a stone. I stop because the tree covered hill in front of me has changed colors yet again, and I can’t help but pause to look. I stop because a simple task, such as planting a tree or pulling weeds or cutting small trees away from a terrace has brought a latent thought or a new idea to the front of my mind.

I pause, and I try to take it in, breathing deeply and spreading my arms, as if physically stretching myself bigger will allow me to take in even more.

One attempt to capture the world around me:

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  1. miss you 🙂

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