This is not my usual post style and I doubt I’ll do anything similar again, but I began writing it on Tumblr and it ended up too long, so I felt it might fit here. Also, I would include some pictures but there are honestly too many in my collection to choose from.
I’ve been lucky enough to visit America five times since I was nine.
- Florida twice (Orlando, Naples, St. Augustine and Sanibel Island)
- roadtrip round Arizona, Nevada & Utah
- Boston, MA & Freeport, ME in 2012
- and a three week roadtrip across Montana, Colorado, Utah, South Dakota, Nebraska & Wyoming last year, 2014
Now what I don’t know is if everyone gets the same feelings as me when they’re in America. I’ve travelled to other countries and they were incredible too, but America’s different. The minute I step off the plane I just feel… free.
Right now I can feel it if I let myself. I can feel the steamy warm air engulfing me, and hear the traffic in the distance and see the bright city lights glowing through a dark evening. But I can also feel the sun on my skin, burning down from a sky that is so big I can’t even comprehend anything else, and I’m looking out over some incredible scenery that is literally breathtaking.
I’ve seen swamps with alligators, sandy beaches with dolphins in the ocean beyond. I’ve seen Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon. I’ve been to Tombstone and the Black Hills of Dakota and to Mount Rushmore. I’ve stood and looked out from 14,000 ft up the Rocky Mountains, I’ve seen the Oregon Trail ruts, and I’ve been at Yellowstone and countless other National Parks. I’ve travelled for hundreds of miles in one day, seeing the same mountains in the distance and no other limits on the skyline. I’ve seen even more amazing things than it is possible to list; monuments, worldwide landmarks and treasures, than some people ever get to see.
Even when I was at my most depressed, even when I had the most powerful emotions running through me and the most life-consuming thoughts in my head… just looking out over incredible plains and mountains and deserts, I felt simultaneously like I was dying and alive. I felt alone and surrounded, at peace and completely insane. Nothing else mattered. Both in a way that I am insignificant; none of my problems are important, but also that I am not important either. It felt like I could disappear or take myself from the earth and it wouldn’t matter. Not in the usual suicide ‘I don’t matter’ way, but in an all-encompassing ‘I am obsolete and insignificant’ way. I cannot explain the feeling, and I am normally very good with words. It is like breathing in and holding it until you think you will burst, then breathing out and feeling completely serene. I have felt that way ever since my third holiday to America. I cannot explain it, but if you have ever felt it you will know what I mean. Maybe it was just a strange mix of holiday feelings and depression, I don’t know.
Boston is my favourite place. When I left the airport and saw that city, when we were driving through it and I could see nothing but skyscrapers and a glimmer of blue sky… I felt like I was finally home. I love my country, my home, the forest. Don’t get me wrong, I really love where I am from and I have been so lucky to grow up here. It truly is beautiful. But when I was in Boston, surrounded by noise and lights and everything I felt like my whole life I had just been waiting to come home to this. Boston is where I want to live and make my life. Walking those streets would be a dream come true and I think very few people are lucky enough to find somewhere that makes them feel like that, let alone get to visit it.
The funny thing is I feel like I could make my home almost anywhere in America that I have been. I would very much like to one day. I’m sure the feeling I have tried in vain to describe would not last, if I were to actually live in one of these places. But then again it’s such a magical, ridiculous feeling, perhaps it would. In a strange way, I feel similarly about my passion for writing and film – full of excitement, hope and contradiction. It feels just right.
Perhaps that is just how you are meant to feel when you have found the right place for you to make your way in the world. It feels like you are being completed and yet full of new possibility as well. I did not know it was possible to feel that way about anything other than a person, but in recent thoughts I have discovered I do not need that person. For it is possible to feel that way about home and about the future, and about your passions. I have those. And that is all I need.