I woke up that Saturday morning at 9 am. The sky had that promising blue colour that heralds a warm, sunny day. As I lay in my bed listening to the birds recital, I began to think about the flight I missed.
Until that April morning, I have never missed a trip. I have never overslept for a flight, never chose to forego an opportunity to travel. Until I did.
When I was coming back from Easter break just few weeks earlier, the idea of a one day trip to Vilnius sounded like the right thing to do. The same day return flight was cheap and I was going to visit a country I haven’t been to before. At the time I was booking the tickets the perspective of leaving early in the morning and coming back the same day seemed exciting. There I was – while everyone went about their usual weekend chores, I was to be exploring a new city in less than a day. I was looking forward to traveling with no luggage, leaving house in the morning with only a passport and a Kindle in my pocket. Until the night before the flight.
I kept on wrecking my brain – should I stay or should I go? I already had the ticket, so if I was to stay I would be losing the money I paid for it. I would be missing out on the new country and giving up travel for the comfort of staying at home. I felt disappointed with myself. Was that what being thirty was like? Choosing a quiet weekend of reading instead of travel? What did that say about me as a person, as a traveler? was I turning into that boring version of myself I have always been scared of becoming? Was I one of those people now who would make excuses not to go out of their comfort zone? Or was I simply being a human? An exhausted human being who had a tough few weeks at work, whose body was so run down that the bed seemed like the most exciting place to be?
I decided not to go as an act of kindness to myself. Instead of waking up at 5 am on the one weekend where I could sleep in and rest, I chose to stay. Instead of traveling for seven hours to see a new country in a day, I chose to stay. And it was the hardest, and the best decision, I could have made.
Perhaps if I haven’t had spent twelve hours on the trains that week I would have been excited about this trip. Perhaps if I haven’t worked until 9 pm on Thursday, I would have gone. But the reality was that every cell of my body was begging for rest and with the perspective of the coming work week and a potential business trip to Asia the following week, Vilnius was just too much for me that day.
But what did that mean? Was I going to stop living my life, give up on my passions and turn into one of the people who are so run down by everyday responsibilities that they have no will to live left to purse their dreams? Hopefully not. After all, I was going to a step up at work after having joined the company only two months earlier. I was going to carry on writing and share my failures and self-doubts with strangers who would potentially be judging me. Maybe I wasn’t choosing the boring life, but I was choosing self-kindness, I was choosing health, I was choosing myself. I might not be visiting Lithuania anytime soon. But I have made a big step towards self-love and it was a journey worth taking.
Instead of an early start and a hectic trip, I spent a day basking in London’s sun. I read in the park and went for a walk, living the slow life my mind, body and soul were in such a desperate need of. This time, the trip I didn’t take turned out to be one of the best trips I could take. Perhaps in the world where traveling became a badge of honour, a stamp in your passport of living an interesting life, being true to yourself and listening to what you really need in the moment is the bravest thing you could do.