I’m on my way to Bristol airport, reading the last pages of the minimalists’ memoir Everything that Remains and crossing the Welsh capital, Cardiff. It’s surprisingly beautiful outside and it seems that spring decided to start in the British island. The sky is deeply blue with a few clouds turning the sunny day even more beautiful. It brings me memories of when I was a teenager in central Brazil, wondering about clouds and stars – I never get tired of it. I would say that there’s nothing like the South American central plateau skies, but looking across the glass of the Greyhound bus I may admit that it’s sort of the same beauty.
In the end, after all my travels around the world I just realized it’s more about me (my feelings, perspectives and more important, my capacity of wonder) than necessarily the geographic location.
Buses and long journeys have been my best friends for quite a while. Crossing Southeast Asia or Europe or America… I realized that the road and new destinations are the best therapists I could ever meet. While crossing Cardiff I can watch the spring flowers growing in the gardens while I hear the noise of the Swansea University undergraduate students, coincidentally many of them are in the same bus, all dressed with green t-shirts, all hiding their beers and wines in plastic bags, all loud and full of laugh and music. They are coming to Cardiff for a Welsh university game – sports and other activities involving lots of parties and alcohol.
Looking outside I can see them crossing the streets, Cardiff students in red, Swan in green.
They’re everywhere I look, in every corner of the city centre and I can’t really avoid them. Somehow it brings me nostalgia of my “university time”, a nostalgia of the time I didn’t have much to worry about and I believed everything was way easier than it actually is. This feeling popped up in my head in the last few days and as the deadline for the submission of my dissertation is coming, I’m looking for the best way to say goodbye to the ‘academic world’ and it makes me think about what I’ve been through in the last years of undergrad and master’s studies. It was through studying that I got he chance to know the world and experience it in a very deep level. I remember my semester after graduation back in 2012, right before the beginning of the master. It is not an exaggeration to say that I was desperate and confused. I was working and I realized that I didn’t like what I was doing – I wasn’t happy. At that point I thought that I would be able to feel comfortable with the boring political meetings, with the suit I had to wear many times even though it was summer time in Brazil… I thought I could learn to enjoy my work but as much as I tried to like it, more disappointed I was. I realized that I wasn’t living the life I wanted for me and for many times I thought about what really makes me happy and how I could achieve it. Then I was accepted in the master’s course and it came as if I’ve received a slavery abolition letter: I was free at least for a while. During this period I had the chance to experience different things and find out what I really like doing, what would make the word ‘work’ meaningful. I embraced minimalism, I moved to Cambodia, I did the work I enjoyed most in my hole life and right now I’m starting an online volunteer for an organization committed with hunger reduction in Africa. Sooner I’ll deliver the final version of my dissertation and probably looking for a job will consume most of my days (it already does!). What if I ended up doing the same as I was doing before? How would it be to swallow my pride (I ghost I’m trying to domesticate) and get back to the meaningfulness position I had before? In the end of the day I’m realizing that for now it doesn’t matter much. It is true that I’ve changed substantially, that my priorities are not the same. So even if I had to step back in order to save money and think about the next two steps ahead, it will be fine. I’m a creative human being, full of life, full of experiences and with passion to share what I’ve learned and more than that: to make all the ‘learning’ turns me a better person.
I’m decluttering whatever would blurry my vision or take me out of the what I’ve been working on.
And it is the time to let the university go, at least for some time because it became somehow my ‘comfort zone’ in many aspects and more than ever I believe it’s time to grow and give my contribution to the world. While “Closing Time” is playing in my head I keep watching the boys and girls passing. They’re full of life caring their beers in the streets while I’m stressed out to arrive in the airport. As much as I wanted to postpone this ‘easy life’, I would never be one of them simply because my time has passed. In the crazy and fast 21st Century, one or two years of difference are a huge generation gap and maybe because of that I feel different of them – in parties, in the topics of the conversations I ended up having with them, etc. I gotta carry the baggage of being multiple in many ways. I feel that there are no borders and identity is just a vague concept for people who had the chance to explore the world. I don’t no what’s the next adventure beneath the skies but for now I’ll enjoy the road, taking the best of today. The undergrad noisy students departed in the coach station, there are a few passengers heading to Bristol. I’m planning to see some street art and drink a couple of beers after picking up my Spanish friend in the airport. And no, I’m not wearing a green Swansea t-shirt. It’s time to keep going!