back

Yesterday morning, I got dressed for work. I put on jeans, a shirt, a pair of ballerina flats, and checked my bag for my notebook, pens, travel card, office pass, wallet, keys, and mobile phone. I looked up my bus schedule before I left the house. I sent an email while walking to the bus stop. Only the small scars on my hands, the dry, roughed skin on my palms, and my disconcerting tan (even with sunblock) remain as physical reminders of my extraordinary time out at sea last week.

Coming back is more than putting on a different skin. I forgot what bird song sounded like. I forgot what traffic and dust felt like. I’m making more typos than usual as I try to get my work affairs back in order. My appetite is adjusting to city life again – I’m eating less and craving less carbs and heavy foods. I’m starting to sleep in even after the sun comes up.

It feels nice back in the comfort of home, the company of friends and family. But a part of me will always be longing for the simplicity of life on a dive boat. We rise, dive, eat, rest, dive, rest, eat, dive, rest, eat, dive, eat, rest, sleep. And the next day is exactly the same. Life centers around conversation with fellow divers, strangers from all over the world. It's surprisingly old-fashioned, for such a technical activity. We gather around a meal or a drink and share experiences of what we have seen, where we come from, and how we found ourselves on the same boat 11 hours away from the nearest port. We talk about currents, diving against currents, reefs, the weather, how not to spook a turtle, how to keep our gear in good shape, good enough to last a decade at least.

There’s something wonderfully real and tangible about all this - my day-to-day life is filled with fretting over the unknown: am I doing this right, am I doing enough, am I doing too little, should I start thinking about this, I need to cut down on that. Reducing my daily concerns to resting, eating, and diving well is such joy. I felt the same way when I climbed mountains years ago - life was simply finding the best spot to pitch a tent, starting a fire, a cold refreshing drink from a spring.

I will be holding on to the clarity, the fullness, the satisfaction of days like this. I'm back to being a city girl again, with my "Community" addiction and my ability to compose emails on the go and skimming headlines on Twitter while sipping coffee. But I like to think that a part of me is always standing barefoot on the deck of a ship, the sun in my eyes, wind in my hair, staring into the endless blue in anticipation of the beauty beneath, knowing that life can't get any simpler and any better than this.

P.S: Thanks for all the well wishes for my trip, it went beautifully.

Comments

Nomadic D. said…
So inspiring! I've been yearning for simplicity lately myself, as much as you can attain living in a big city. But even if I will always have a ton of things to care of in my day, if I could somehow manage to achieve the mental state you're talking about, the clarity and calm and awareness, well I think life would seem a lot slower and simpler and happier, even if the reality around me hasn't changed.

http://nomadic-d.blogspot.com/
Ammu said…
Such a gorgeously-written post. I am so glad your trip went well. Would love to see pictures.
Kate said…
Lovely post. It's good to escape from life sometimes.
Anonymous said…
Oh Lin you often inspire me but now you´ve got me dreaming! Thanx.
Anonymous said…
Such lovely writing! I feel transported...
Eileen said…
Good to have you back!! Sounded so fun and restful..
Even though I know less than nothing about diving, like the others I feel like I could see it. Welcome back
Maja H said…
What a wonderful post Lin - you made me long for summer :)
Jenny said…
That sounds perfectly blissful. I have been sailing a couple of times for a month at a time and I felt exactly like you when I got back. It takes a while to adjust into both things, but the fact that you are able to adjust really gives me hope, you know?
miss sophie said…
thanks for sharing a small part of your amazing trip. i am so inspired for the remainder of my time here in SH! :)
petrichore said…
Hurray! Sounds like an incredible trip.

It's nice that memories of trips like that stay with you a very long time; I know that some of mine have, 10-15 years later.
lin said…
Nomadic D: Thanks! It's a challenge for me to hang on to this mental state as well some times, but I'm quite comforted to know it exists.

Ammu: Thanks! I didn't bring a camera but my friends did so shall see if there's anything I can post in future.

Kate, Anon, Anon, Eileen, Pret a Porter P, Maja H: Thanks!

Jenny: Wow, I hope to learn how to sail some day. It does take a while to adjust but it's not unpleasant to look at your usual routine in a new way. For one, I think I'm always less drawn to the Internet and shopping after a holiday like this one, haha.

miss sophie: I hope you've had the chance to travel around China? Do share if you have, I love travel stories!

petrichore: That sounds great, I love the idea of being able to look back on this 10 years from now.
Garderoben said…
Oh, that sounds just wonderful, I wish i could to something like that. In another ten years or so, hopefully!
And I wonder, is there absolutely no way for such simplicity and focus in the general world, in an established life?
For us, I'm glad you're back. For you, I'm glad you went.
indigo16 said…
I am totally with you on the importance of giving our brain a well-earned diversionary rest. The only downside are the wobbly days just after you return knowing you have to be on top of your game so quickly instead of luxuriating in the memories.
I have never dived as I am incredibly claustrophobic, but I have accompanied my sister and whilst she went under I snorkelled around the surface. To this day I can daydream my way back to that incredible deep silence couple with such colours and life.

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