24 hours without a friend

“Big olde gorilla balls”

Seventeen months ago I said goodbye to Ocean Beach, San Diego.

In saying goodbye to a place I felt was my home, I also said goodbye to people I had grown to love as family.

I had been a resident of OB for, in total, one month (having taken a three week break to embrace Hawaiian adventures) then returned to my home by the ocean.

As a traveller with a limited legal timeframe in one country, to spend a month of your time in one single hostel, one single area of a larger district, city, State – you would have to be either unadventurous and afraid to leave a known comfort zone, or completely in love with the people and the place of where you were.

Four months, ten States, nineteen hostels, three cars, one tent, five new friends’ houses and seventeen State lines into my trip, I’m happy to say I was the latter.

I spent my New Years of 2014 becoming 2015 in Frankfurt, Germany with my best friend, my boo, who I had met in our beloved OB fourteen months before that and whom I had also explored two islands of Hawaii and moved to Australia with.

When I arrived back in OB from Kauai, Hawaii I had talked of my new plan to travel in Australia for a year and had come up with another plan that once my time in Australia had ended, I would fly back to San Diego to spend Christmas and New Year (14/15) with my family that were building their futures in OB; Katya and Davey. Two sweethearts from Alabama.

When Australia didn’t turn out to be as I had imagined and I returned home after just two months there, I spent a month revisiting family and friends across England and moved back to London, alone, to start my new journey at the headquarters of the fifth biggest law firm in the world. Two months later I moved in my journey to a top media and entertainment law firm, and that’s where I am now. Worlds away from my drifter life in OB.

Yesterday, as I sleepily looked at my phone listing notifications from various social media platforms I swiped onto a friend from OB having changed his profile photo to my photo of a small group of us on the porch of our OB home, our colourful hostel. I smiled at the memory and began to scroll through my friends’ news, stopping as my heart tried to break through my chest when I saw another OB friend had created a photo album titled “Davey RIP xx” enclosing a collection of pictures of my friend’s happy features.

Panicked and numb I asked myself if it was April Fools Day and was my friend that stupid to think that’s freakin funny!? No, it was April 5th.

I scanned further and saw another OB friend with a memorial message. I clicked to Davey’s page, thinking he was going to be completely embarrassed when he had to tell everyone that it was a prank, and scrolled through to the beginning message in this thread of memorial to find the original one. From his sister. Confirming our worst. Davey died.

Davey. The tiny framed ballet dancing boy from Alabama that took no shit and talked like he walked in front of ten men, spoke the hard and funny truth, created laughter with his smart mouthed sass and was the truest friend I could ask for when it came to backing me up without my even knowing and praising me to see my potential.

When I was the only person surfing in the Pacific Ocean, just a two minute walk from our hostel, without a wetsuit, he described me as having “big olde gorilla balls!” with his beautiful Alabama sass. This was repeated any time I did anything brave.

I hadn’t even realised I was doing anything to warrant acknowledgement but he would describe me as brave to everyone he met there; “don’t mess with her, she’s got big olde gorilla balls!” I couldn’t help but laugh every time he said those words about me.

His encouragement, echoed on our last day together when we got food and, in the spirit of our upcoming Thanksgiving, gave thanks for all we had, he stated he was thankful to meet such brave individual women as the ones sat with him in that moment.

On my train to London to begin my new journey at the fifth biggest law firm in the world I remembered his words and found confidence in myself to go for this.

Today is my second day knowing I will never see Davey again. I will live the rest of however long my life is knowing our paths won’t ever cross again.

When we left OB we all stated we would see each other somewhere along the road again.

Our first friend to die before any of us had this chance has terrified me.

What is his death teaching me, I’m not sure yet. But I am sure that it has woken me up to the already brewing realisation that I miss the road. I miss the people. I miss the stories they tell and the stories we encounter together. I miss the memories we make and the simplest human kindness you find in new friends that bare no judgement and love that person in front of them, encouraging the strength inside them to grow.

Whatever else I learn from Davey’s death I welcome. But for now I still can’t allow the knowledge of never seeing him again to sink in.

Someone that special deserves to live, and in us he will, but I’m going to miss that boy so much.

In eternal loving memory of Davey.

xxHBxx

Is beauty the bell?

Beauty or other..?

While contemplating a future that consists of travel, adventure and complete freedom of creativity it is perhaps noteworthy to state that this will be beginning towards the end of the young ‘prime’. An age of youth and beauty, and at a time when peers are contemplating careers in their chosen – or some ‘fallen into’ – fields. The invisible pressure to settle down and create the roots of a future foundation has never unveiled itself to be something of an issue or desire until, while calculating the amount of years it would take to do one adventure and how many it may be for the second, the age in which it would appear the ‘ready to settle down’ theory would come into play was a larger number than originally thought of. It would seem once all of this ‘me time’ were out of the way the final destination to be thrown into the beginning of reality would be an age that will not be disclosed but will be stressed that it would appear youth and presumably any beauty would have been all used up. These years of beauty, as it were, would therefore have been spent embracing and exploring youth but not necessarily planning or aiding the ideal of how a ‘real’ future should look.

The question of whether or not this is necessarily a bad thing has sprung to mind like an arrogant child screaming a thousand answers into the wind but the alternative question, created purely from outside influence and perspective, of whether or not something will be missing or that something would have been missed in doing this has also appeared from around the corner landing straight at the back of the head. The possibility is that in later years it could be considered these years of presently-unknown adventures had been wasted ones when turning up alone to another friends’ children’s party, or to wedding anniversary milestone dinners. One day envy could appear while viewing their normality the way they currently envy these less-than-conventional plans. Suddenly the fear of missing out demon wants to cling onto its niggling need to be prominent in daily plans. Days in which every detail will be orchestrated peacefully to be fresh and exciting for the amusement of self and self alone. This fear doesn’t want to just stick with the people I would consider to be missing out by not following my lead it seems, they’ve left traces of it with me.

However, in spite of this immediate plans won’t be changed due to these ‘back of the head’ thoughts; Victory number One. Nothing will stand in the way of the first adventure, that much is a given. Although it is a possibility that the second adventure, should these thoughts persist, could be changed or altered, simply cut short in order to leave open the possibility that the fear of missing out on conventional living could become greater than the fear of missing out on true adventure while I’m living.

Baring this in mind one quote remains with the greatest strength right next to the fear of missing out demon like an angel and a devil in each ear; “Your biggest risk will be the one you don’t take.” Perhaps the jump in and see how deep it is technique may be the less wise one here, but if not me then who…

xxHBxx

Past & Present Perceptions

Out of the night comes light.

Yesterday, while being in the company of A, I made a decision about how I am perceived. I have, as all of us do, sides to me that compliment and sides to me that conflict. It is up to me alone to let certain sides of myself shine brighter than the others. This is reflected by the company I keep and the surroundings in which I choose to place myself. So I made a decision to start afresh. The social media empire lured me into its attractive and new world six years ago. Learning as I went along through those years since is fully accessible to all I meet now. I realise I cannot change my past, and since it made me arrive at my present I wouldn’t dream of it, but I can change my present. The way in which I’m perceived now is something I have full control over. So I created a new social media page, selecting my few photos, words and friends carefully. One friend asked why I hadn’t simply removed photos, comments and friends from my old page, which might seem like the obvious choice, but since my actions in creating the new page were not to ‘get rid’ of items and anecdotes from my past (and certainly not photos, as cringeworthy as they may be) I didn’t want to tamper with that. My past created my present but I don’t need it to be in my present. So I chose to create a new page. My old one will remain open, so that the people from my past can remain a part of my present but only a part of it for now. I have chosen the people on my new page with care and for different reasons as to why I want them to see the ‘present’ me as it seems.

While sending brief explanations to my friends as to why I appeared to have a sudden twin asking to add them again on the media site I received a message from an old friend that I had recently bumped into after five years of not seeing each other. We hadn’t avoided each other, our paths just simply stopped crossing for a few years but on this particular night they did. After giving him my reasons for the new page he sent me a message which stated ‘I hadn’t seen you in years and you are still the same grounded down to earth girl I remember from then, I really enjoyed seeing you…really enjoyed listening to your plans for the USA, you’re so passionate it was invigorating’ I wasn’t expecting any response other than ‘yes your past was a little crazier than your present so I get why you’ve done this’ but this friend of mine didn’t care about the little silly things I had on my page, the silly photos or bad holiday snaps from when I still carried my uni weight, he just remembered the girl from back then as she was to him. Receiving this message was like someone handing me a slice of cake, my favourite book, a cup of tea, a blanket and telling me they will always love me then kissing me on my forehead. That feeling of warmth was the sweetest and kindest and most unexpected. I adored him more for his words to me. He was a good friend then and still is after years apart. Not judging, simply just accepting and loving.

He obviously made the cut onto my new page, how could anyone not choose a friend from their past like that to share their present with.

xxHBxx

How to spend a free-day

One girl, many thoughts, no words.

At this current moment in time I am awaiting a short journey to see the most incredible girl I have met so far in my life; my best friend A. Exactly a year ago I made this same journey to her for the first time in five years; in that year she’s returned from paradise at the other side of the world into another paradise – the arms of her first love, she has become engaged to her first love in the most romantic proposal I have ever heard of – more romantic and intimate than most love stories we’re shown by actors of this era, and she has created and mastered a business that is thriving each day, of which she only created 6 months ago. In itself these factors alone are incredible, inspiring and full of human power, however knowing A the way I do, the way only a friendship nurtured and cared for each day over weeks months and years can know, I am more inspired by her than of anyone I have ever known and anyone I anticipate meeting in my future. A has lived at rock bottom. She has struggled to breathe and to speak. She has been pushed down by others more than I had known a year ago. She has been bruised and hurt and lost, and she stands before the world a powerful human with more strength and passion than anyone I see in my life.

A is my spiritual guru, or at least that’s how I view her. We don’t really talk of religion (not as such) – her views differ from mine, but that has never been an issue to either of us. She accepts and embraces my views on the world, through my experiences, and I do hers. We have lived entirely different lives in entirely different worlds and we listen. But I view her as my spiritual guru all the same. No religion attached, she is there to keep me balanced – as I put it. She listens patiently to my struggles and thoughts and stories and when I’m done she talks to me, breaks through my walls and tells me her thoughts. Never judging or belittling are her thoughts. Her words are never words of hate or negativity, she seems to simply show a new light on a situation – whatever the situation.

A few weeks ago I went to her feeling off balanced and inspite of her work schedule she took a day to be with me. Like I had done 7 months ago when she felt similarly off-balanced (again, my word, not hers). Today neither of us are arriving imbalanced – except perhaps for footwear, today we meet to cement our friendship in another form, a simple day of talking and catching up.

It’s the best way I can possibly think to spend my free Saturday. I have never left her company anything but happy.

I hope others choose their friends and their days off in the same way. To spend them happy, however that may be.

xxHBxx