Bus Life

I love how everything about bus life has a process.

It’s very different to dwelling in bricks and mortar. It encourages, nay, forces you, to consciously think about the impact you have on the world around you.

You think hard about how much water you need to use because you know that you’ll eventually have to refill the water tank which is a 45 minute process. The water doesn’t simply come out of the tap- when it runs out, you have to unravel your hose, attach it to the outdoor tap over the way, trail the hose across the grass, put it in the tank and leave it to fill up for about 30 minutes. Then once it’s finished, you have to detach it, wind up the hose on your arm, return it to it’s place and rewind it round it’s hanger.

As the weather gets colder and the nights are darker, we have to plan when we’re going to chop wood for the wood burner so the bus doesn’t get cold. We need a constant, dry, supply available. We need coal on hand so that the burner stays warm overnight and we don’t freeze when we get up in the morning. 

It’s about remembering to always, always make sure the gas is turned off when we’re not using it.  

It’s about not having a surplus of “things” on the bus because we simply don’t have space for them. Every inch of space is valuable. We are constantly reinventing ways to hang things, take up less space and make more space available.

For me, these are the best things about bus life. I feel satisfied knowing I’ve put my time and effort into filling up the water tank and making water available. That together, we gather and chop wood so we can make a fire and cosy up with each other, feeling all toasty and warm in the evening. That we have everything we could possibly need in life- not more and not less. 

My very favourite thing is the evenings that we eat our dinner by the fire in our backyard; a glass (bottle!) of wine in hand, we eat, drink, chat and cuddle. Wrapped up in layers and staring into the fire until it dies down and we head back onto the bus to watch a movie. This is what I love about bus life.

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The Light Creeps Back In…

Since writing Grief, I had to really take a step back and start practicing the nurturing self-care that I’m always encouraging others to do but rarely do myself.

I spent more time at home, my happy place, and My Love took a load of “things” off me so I didn’t feel any additional pressures that were making me feel worse. He cooked for me. He hugged me when I cried. He reassured me. He loved me. I’m so thankful for him.

Being in nature has been immensely healing. Connecting with my surroundings, finding stillness and taking a breath. I wonder now how I spent so long living in a city, but maybe that’s why I appreciate nature more now. Nature is medicine.

I can see the light now. The heaviness has gone, the darkness lifted.

I still have to remind myself that I’m human and it’s normal to feel low when we go through difficult times in life. Maybe it’s because my younger days were so hard, I don’t want to feel anything other than safe and happy. That’s not realistic though. Life is full of ups and downs. It’s a journey and we’re all doing the best we can with what we know at the time.

Grief

Grief is fucking hard. It has knocked me sideways and left me feeling like I don’t know who I am or how to cope.

Grief doesn’t care if it’s inappropriate to cry regularly at work or whether I would like to not be feeling these feelings. And so I resist which makes it worse. If I could just sink into it, let it feel it’s way through my body, mind, emotions and my life, maybe it wouldn’t feel so strong. But along with grief, I feel fear. I am scared I will always feel this way. I’m scared my chest will always feel tight or that I’ll cry every day for the rest of my life. I know this will change; it has to, but right now I’m in the thick of it, I’m in the dark and I can’t see the light yet.

I keep thinking: something in my life needs to change. I feel like I can’t find space to feel the grief because I’m always commuting or working or just DOING and where is my time to be and to feel? I am tired and I need time to rest and breathe and heal. Modern life doesn’t allow this I think. Or at least the life I’ve created.

I don’t feel like myself and yet, I’m exactly myself. Myself in grief. There’s a part of me now that isn’t the same as it was before and never can be. But that’s a natural part of the process, right? If these things don’t change us then what have we learnt?

What I’m learning is: let go. Don’t be afraid to fall. You are safe. And you will survive.

New Life

My last post was back in February and I had just been to Morocco with a group of girlfriends. Life changed pretty quickly from me being a London Person to being a Kent Person and I really wasn’t sure what to expect or how my life would be moving forward.

Well, let me tell you… leaving London was the best decision I ever made. I now have a man that I love with all my heart. He makes me laugh and he makes me feel loved. I’ve been on a juicing retreat in Portugal, a climbing holiday in Vallouise, France with said man. I’ve started teaching yoga again. Life is moving in the direction I’ve wanted for so long.

That’s not to say it’s been without difficulties. My grandmother passed away two weeks ago, 15 minutes after the end of her 91st birthday. She had been in a hospice for a few weeks due to chronic kidney failure. She went peacefully in her sleep which is all anyone can hope for in death. A peaceful passing. The hospice was absolutely incredible. I’ll take a chance here to mention Hospice in the Weald. Everyone there, from volunteers to nurses to doctors to any other staff member, made my Nan and our family feel welcome and cared for. Her room had a view of the gardens and a pond with a waterfall. So calming and beautiful. Nan is at peace now, no longer in pain and no longer on goodness knows how many types of medication she was on before entering the hospice.

There have been other challenges that have knocked me sideways and I’m trying to accept that life does that sometimes and you just have to roll with it and look after yourself. I’m just grateful that I have a man that I love, a job, a roof over my head, and wonderful family and friends. Living in Kent has made me realise that I like the simple life and I don’t need much to be happy!

I Suck

Well that title could be taken many ways couldn’t it! Or as my friend’s friend would say: “zat is what she saaayyyyyssss” (a French take on “that’s what SHE says, with the emphasis on “says” and not “she”).

This is one of my more borington posts but I really, really suck at writing consistently. I nearly forgot I had a blog until I commented on one of my favourite bloggers posts and it highlighted my own.

Life updates: I’m now a country dweller! I no longer live in the City of London, I’m officially a Kent-person again. I love commuting from work back into the calm, quiet countryside and I’m enjoying having the best of both worlds. Some things that I’ve noticed since moving back home are that I can hear birdsong – clearly – in the morning when I wake up and that it’s noticeably colder in Kent than it is in London. Buses turn up when they turn up and they don’t accept contactless payments. We’re spoiled in London in this respect.

I went to Morocco two weeks ago with a small group of friends and the trip has taken the number 1 spot in my list of favourite places to travel. Here are some photos. Aren’t these colours gorgeous? So vibrant. They make my heart sing.

 

 

 

In Which I Leave London

I can’t quite believe it! I mean, I can, because I’ve spent the past couple of years periodically wanting to leave London, then changing my mind, then wanting to leave again. But now I’m really doing it.

I’m still processing a lot of thoughts, feelings and emotions around this decision and my impending move. London has been my home for seven years. It’s where I found swing dancing and made some fantastic new friends. I’ve changed jobs, moved house, practiced yoga, had therapy, grown in so many ways. I studied massage here and now I’m soon to leave. I have so many happy memories from my London life and I will never forget any of it. The other day, I was walking to work and thinking about my relationship with London and this is what it feels like; the natural change and progression of our time together. It’s not the end but it’s time for me to step away and make the relationship less intense.

I dream on a daily basis of what I want for my life in the future, and that is to become a bus/van dweller with a much longer term goal of owning a place in the countryside where I can keep animals. Moving out of London is the first step in realising that dream. I’d also like to travel again- this year marks the tenth year since I went to Australia for a year and I think about it regularly.

Leaving London is moving my life in a new direction. I can’t wait!

Happiness

It’s the cardinal error of blogging to post more than once a day isn’t it? Especially more than once an hour. But today I’m eschewing that rule because I had a desire to share this video that a friend posted on Facebook, and also to pick out a sentence from it that really struck me.

This is a brilliant short documentary by Donal Moloney, an Irish photographer, on a homeless man called Martin. He has developed a trusting and respectful friendship with Martin over a number of years and there’s an interesting interview with Martin at around the 6.35 mark on the topic of happiness.

At one point, Donal asks “what do you think makes me happy?”

Martin: “I don’t think you could ever be happy.”

“Because you’re looking to find happiness.”

Sometimes, someone will say something that gives you a light bulb moment. This was mine.

Stop trying to be happy and just be happy.

 

 

Life Coaching

I have begun a series of life coaching with Ariadne Kapsali of ariadnekapsali.com

We don’t need to go into the whys and the wherefores of the need for life coaching (it’s self-explanatory, right?) but we had our first session last Thursday and here are the pertinent points that I took away from it, along with the homework that helps me to move forward.

The two focuses of the coaching sessions are: relationships and career.

Relationship

  • Concentrate on the relationship with myself; how I show up for myself, treat myself and how I feel about myself. Look inwardly rather than outwardly.
  • Focus less on what I think the outcome of a relationship should look like and instead enjoy the journey.
  • Focus on manifesting and the law of attraction. Practice gratitude and focus on what I have not what I don’t have. Ariadne sent me some practical guidance on manifesting which I will be implementing imminently!

Homework

  • Take myself on a really lush Self Date! (Ariadne’s words :D)
  • Reconnect to my physical body (self-massage, self-pleasure, affirmations, tracking menstrual cycle, how I feel etc, dancing)

One thing this session re-affirmed about me is that I struggle to let go of control – I feel I need to know the outcome of most situations. It stems from a need to feel safe as the unknown can be a scary space and I know this is linked to an uncertain childhood and emotionally unavailable parent. Identifying where emotional habits come from is freeing and incredibly helpful in understanding oneself and moving forward.

Career

  • We discussed honing my career vision and how I can connect with feeling content, connected and purposeful in my career.
  • In my mind, I’ve separated my current career, debt and future career into different “lanes” and we discussed whether there’s a way I can somehow combine the three so that I don’t limit myself. The idea of a Venn diagram immediately popped into my head although I don’t know if that’s very helpful!

Homework

Ariadne has sent me a summary of our session and really useful debt free and savings plan, money clarity and career and work values workbook. Completing the money clarity sheet has been really eye-opening into my relationship with money and where it comes from. I almost can’t believe I didn’t think about it sooner.

My experience of life coaching so far has been really positive and I can’t recommend Ariadne enough!

 

My Favourite Poem

I was yet again watching a Happen Films documentary called Living Simply in a Tiny Off-Grid Cabin when the chap in the doco quoted a poem called Wild Geese by Mary Oliver. I, instantaneously, professed this to be my favourite poem which I’m sharing with you below:

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

 

 

Here’s to Giving Less Fucks

I found a great post on Instagram recently that says:

You should give a fuck. You really should.

But only about things that set your soul on fire.

Save your fucks for magical shit.

This is a sentiment that I wholly agree with but have struggled in the past to live by. I am a fuck-giver. I give way too many fucks about way too many things. But recently, I’ve started to see what an absolute waste of energy it is to give your fucks away to things that don’t matter. Is this an age thing? Probably. But I am now living by the SAVE YOUR FUCKS mantra. I don’t want to be on my deathbed and think “I really regret caring about that insignificant thing that time” x 25,000.

My time and my life is precious. So here’s to giving less fucks!