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Version: travel_essay 11.28.21
november 28, 2021 // hooked on a feeling
coming back to san francisco after a week abroad, i can feel the post-vacation depression setting in. it's less dramatic than it sounds, but i can't help but be a bit sad that i'm back home after being as happy as i was in london.
this was my second trip, once visiting pre-pandemic in 2018. this time just confirmed what i found out my first go around: i feel so much safer and more at peace in england than i have anywhere else i've been, and especially more than how i feel in sf right now. i've been trying to contend the traumatized, mentally ill part of me with the privilege it takes to be able to travel freely and move—multiple times, sometimes far—and do okay, become stable. the privilege alone to feel safe in space where others may not is in the back of my mind at all times; honestly, at risk of diminishing my own efforts and hard work in my head. i'm not wildly succcessful by any means, but i'm doing okay, and i am doing this all on my own. so it's quite a balancing act, trying to figure out how to face this part of becoming far better off than what i was born into and trying to make way for others to have more opportunities, as much as i am able to help as a white woman and utilizing what privilege i do have.
compare the feeling: while in san francisco, i am constantly battling my own place in the world against what i should be doing. in england, i not only look backwards through history, but also forward, thinking about what type of person i want to be. i was afraid i was romanticizing it after my last visit. but i wasn't imagining it; my brain goes quiet. i didn't have a single anxiety attack during my stay, and i had a pretty stressful event, particularly surrounding thanksgiving and being so far from my family and friends back home. not once did i fall into the same mental loops i'd often find myself fixated on. i wasn't hypervigilant. i could breathe.
i've been thinking about this a lot. about whether there's certain spaces where some people just feel like "home," at peace. i've read so much of others having this same feeling. is this not it? i still find myself needing to justify my feelings, and there's no need here. it's just how i feel.
at this stage in my life, all i want is peace. everyone deserves that.