“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.” – Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic
This post is going to be briefer than most but as it is serving as the intro to my next grouping of travel tales, I think this is appropriate.
I wasn’t quite sure how to start this particular piece so I started where I always do when my access to the creative recesses of my mind is blocked: I started going through my quote book and my journal to see if anything sparks inspiration.
In flipping through both tomes, I came across both the quote that began this blog (side note: if you see yourself as a creative, or aspire to be a creative, or are curious about the untapped potential of your own creativity, do yourself a favour and read that brilliant book) as well as a couple of journal entries from the months leading up to this trip. As per usual, I was immediately struck at how well these two sources fit together – it really feels as if some unknown force is guiding me towards the exact inspiration I need to read sometimes.
I realize I said this post would be shorter than most so I’ll cut right to the chase without too much waxy poetry. I had written a while back about battling anxiety this past year, especially in relation to my last job (which I left in June). I always thought this battle had really come to a head in the last year or so but reading these journal entries from way back in the fall of 2015, apparently this wasn’t the case. In some of these entries, I wrote about feeling lost and ungrateful considering the opportunities I had been given and how little I had come to appreciate them. I wrote about needing to find my drive, my purpose, and not knowing how or where to start.
In hindsight, however, I knew exactly where to start: I needed to write. Around that time, in September of 2015, I not only started writing more faithfully in a journal but I also returned to my now woefully neglected novel and even started teasing out some new blog posts. Instinctively, I returned to the one thing that no matter what else was going on in my mind always brought everything right back into focus. I returned to that strange jewel buried in me before I was even born; the one that I keep losing track of even though I found it for the first time when I was only five years old: My Creativity.
Luckily, this rediscovery of my own best-kept secret coincided with a new adventure. This time. Dad and I had planned a two week trip to France during which we planned to visit as many WWI and WWII sites as possible within such a short time frame, with a few less emotionally fraught stops sprinkled in for the sake of our mental health. As I had already started writing regularly again come September, by the time we left for France at the beginning of November, my pen was well and truly poised to capture all of the sights, sounds and emotions of what promised to be an extraordinary trip.
My preparation, it appears, was well worth it as I have a good number of pages of first-hand observations from this time already written out in a notebook given to me by my wonderful family who has never once doubted my ability or affinity for writing. As such, I hope that the next dozen or so posts will be a wee bit more regular since half the work is already done for me by my past self. Then again, writing is a process and, often, a challenge. I have no idea where this next creative journey will take me, but I’m excited to find out. I hope you’ll bear with me as I make my way through these four-year-old memories of what proved to be a very emotional and profound trip which came at the perfect time in my life – when I felt most lost.
I can’t promise every post will be brilliant, but I can promise that each and every one will be heartfelt and honest.
Stay tuned for the launch of my next travel series, brought to you by my own personal, oft-misplaced, jewel. I’ll do my best not to let you, or the universe, down by dropping the ball on this writing thing again. Wish me luck.
And remember, whether you have found your own unique gift yet or not, life is beautiful.