Hostels. They help you save money, give you an excuse to make new friends, and introduce you to new smells. That experience was exactly what I was heading to while on the train from Newcastle to Scotland.
Many people say they would love to travel, if only they had the money. Truth is, even with a lot of money, most of them would never make it out of the country. That’s what fear does to you. It helps you create excuses so as not to do something. For me, my fear was the exact opposite. My fear last year was going home for the holidays.
The moment I got off the train into Scotland, I was greeted with many vibes, all at once. The tourists were happily strolling, most of them with lovers, taking photos of… well, who knows what half the time. There were also locals, entertainers, and some homeless people on the streets.
I found myself on a main street, looking up at a gothic style church. What an amazing construction! I only saw these in art history books, and fell in love the moment I took a step back into time and felt the passion that went into these. I took out my little notebook and pen, and began drawing (or, my version of drawing, anyways).
It was always the details. Details fascinated me. I carefully marked each corner and found my mind creating stories for each line that went into it. Not even stories that made sense, just little random adventures.
Suddenly, the guns started going off. The little bird looked down, frantic and desperate, but determined. There! On the edge of the corner was the little music manuscript he had dropped. He slid down the roof, then carefully plucked his beak into each crevice to balance his way down the side. His wing was causing blinding pain and was still bleeding, but he made it. Once he secured the manuscript in his claw, he started searching for the easiest route back to the bagpipe player. With the booms of the guns lighting up the sky, he knew it wasn’t going to be easy…
“Sorry, are you drawing?” I looked up to find a woman trying to peak at what I was doing.
“Yes,” I said. But I wasn’t drawing, not really. I was telling a story. Drawing implies artistic talent. I suppose it would make sense if I were artistic, considering I was a fine arts student, but I just never quite got the hang of it. I guess I liked being ironic in the same way that mom liked being sadistic.
Mom loved Christmas. She loved it because that’s when the family all got together. The family also always drove her mad every year, hence her sadism. This particular Christmas, however, she wouldn’t be there. She passed away within the first week of the New Year. What was it going to be like without her? I didn’t want to know, so I ran away—at least for the holidays.
I swore when she was on her deathbed that I would live with no regrets, and thus far, I’ve done just that. But now I was finding myself one semester away from graduating with a degree that didn’t make sense for me.
Just walking through the streets of Edinburgh, full of history, of morbid ends and vengeful beginnings, full of stories that made listeners laugh or inspired them to try harder or just simply to be thankful that their bodies will probably never be dug up from a grave and sold off for research and money—it made me realize the mistake I made and was in denial about. I wasn’t an artist of paints or vector lines. I was an artist of verbal imagery. What sense did it make for me to be following someone else’s dream instead of my own?
The thing about fear is even though you may have amazing experiences because of it, you may also miss some important things in life.
A couple of days after I got back into the states, I got a phone call. Papaw, my mom’s dad, passed away on the same day that she did last year. Time’s unpredictability is a hard lesson to learn. Of all the days that went into a year, how was that even possible?
While mom was sick, she kept saying how once she got better she was going to do what she always wanted to. No more excuses.
I grew up always saying I wanted to be an author, but was too afraid to pursue it.
No more excuses.
Once the shock of the most recent loss wore off, I finally sat down with a pencil and paper. Hostels, I thought, now that’s a funny story.
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