Week 3 of August Break photo challenge, with Susannah Conway.
I decided these two prompts deserved their own post…

Day 18: One Regret and Day 20: I Love

Carnival masks in Venice

I love to travel – I have done since the first time I went abroad by myself, at the age of 15, to stay with my German penfriend’s family for a month. I was so far outside my comfort zone when I arrived. I could have gone to the moon, and it wouldn’t have been more scary. But I adapted over time – and even thrived.

That experience literally opened up a gateway to a new world for me.

When I was 18, I decided I wanted to be a journalist. I had in mind travelling the globe, taking photographs, and writing for National Geographic magazine. But I was put off the idea of being a journalist by a careers lady who told me: “That’s far too competitive. Choose something else.”

I don’t really do regrets. We make our choices in life, and although we imagine that things might have been better if we had made different choices, we don’t know that for certain – and I’m happy with the choices I’ve made.

But if I did have one regret… it would probably be that I listened to that careers lady, and got thrown off course – and that I’m still listening to her.

There’s nothing to stop me from writing about my travels – but I keep putting obstacles in the way: most of my travelling was done over 20 years ago, so is it still relevant today; my photographs are all transparencies / slides, so how much will it cost to get them digitally scanned…

But there’s a sense of something unfinished – something I’ve been skirting around for a long time. Something my soul won’t allow me to let go of.

Yesterday I visited a church for an art exhibition that hasn’t started yet. I was feeling tired, so I sat down for a while on one of the stackable chairs to recoup my energy for the journey home, and to enjoy the sanctity of quiet after enduring the bustle of a Saturday afternoon in Kingston.

As I sat there, looking up at the carved angels in the clerestory, I said quietly: “I want to be a travel writer.”

Instantly, tears pricked my eyes, as though my soul were saying “AT LAST!”

Perhaps my travel stories have been waiting to be heard. These are the stories of my life, of how I interact with the world. Stories that have formed my philosophy on life.

Perhaps it’s time to let them take flight.

6 thoughts on “August Break 2017 – One Regret + I Love

  1. I love traveling and writing. I think we could be good friends. 🙂

    I’m so jealous of your month long trip to Germany to live with your pen pal. I realize it was scary then, but I know you probably gained so much from that experience. 🙂 I mean – obviously! You are still talking about it today and how it changed your life!

    With Love,

  2. Julia Barnickle

    Ha ha – definitely, Mandy!! 🙂 I love your blog too, by the way.

    Maybe if you ever make it to London, we could meet up and share travel stories…

    My trip to Germany as a teenager was incredible. I can’t imagine how narrow my life might have been without it.

  3. Oh Julia, the damage that can be done to young hearts and minds by mindless “professionals”. This was word for word what my own careers advisor at school said to me when I said I too wanted to be a journalist. Isn’t it marvellous that all these years later, changes in digital technology and social media has allowed us to tell our stories in ways we could never have imagined back in our school days.

  4. Julia Barnickle

    Oh, that’s so true, Marie – on both counts. I’m so glad that we both decided to ignore the “advice” and do what’s in our hearts – and that the technology is there to support us! 🙂

  5. It’s funny (or not funny) how one comment from a teacher or careers adviser sends us off in a particular direction. I recall my English teacher saying I should do A Level English, so I didn’t end up being a boring scientist with my planned science A Levels. I did science anyway, and just strived to not be boring. Abandoning my creative spirit for 20 years until I found a home for it a few years ago.

  6. Julia Barnickle

    I’m glad your creative spirit has found a home again, Nina! That’s the wonderful thing about the creative spirit – it can’t be held down forever. 🙂

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