I started to travel to find another planet or look that could help me to stay alive. The day I entered the desert for the first time I understood cities were not made for humans, in order to survive you had to flee away. The rough powerful wilderness imposed silence. I was born for that minute… Since this encounter with the desert, I believe every traveler has uncovered the world’s secret. Horizons have a saying. I am look for their message. […] My long walks in the desert healed my wounds, but the word “travel” has become an obsession. Every time I go home, I have to create new dreams in order to survive. Traveling has become my prison. I then understood it had to cover another sphere: interior. The true wanderer is not the one who hits the road, but the one who goes to look for his soul….Manifeste Vagabond, Blanche de Richemont
Today I am going. Today, I am flying home even if my home doesn’t have a roof nor walls anymore, even if the whole Planet is my home now. I may still write I am going home because I go back to my roots.
And if I shall honestly write my state of mind right now, I must say I am tired, exhausted, washed; I am running out of energy, East Coast cities have ruined me. Thus, in this last day of my journey, I had to surrender to laziness and abandon my plan at the Met and in the cold NYC streets…. I am taking advantage of my chance instead, I gaze at skyscrapers and Central Park from “my” 20th story window on Park Avenue while eating some Mac&Cheese… Maybe it is as simple as that to end my American journey on a high note: Mac&Cheese and one last look on America while doing what I love the most, writing to you all.
For weeks, for months, I have ridden alone, necessary step to find who I am, to know better my soul, to light up my life sparkle… What I wanted came true ; what I didn’t know to dream of was revealed ; what was hiding in my own meanders was confirmed. I am 30 and I am invincible. I know my strength, I accept my weakness and I learn how to live with my fears.
I thought, for a tiny moment last July, Ireland had fixed my soul’s broken parts. I was both right and wrong since Ireland doomed to relive my past, I had to face what was not utterly healed, the fake repair, the air going through my wounds. I was feeling better but I was not feeling utterly well. The mosaic was not complete yet. North America achieved that process. Now, I am full and complete, broken pieces found their own connection without industrial glue; my repair is organic and visceral. It is not made, it is rooted. Today, I utterly feel good with my soul and mind and if I shall feel better tomorrow, it is only extra. This is what each – Irish, Icelandic, Alaskan, Canadian, American – step gave me: unrivalled peace.
And on this lonely path, I crossed so many unique landscapes, unreal, that have transcended me to my depth; I went by so many states of mind that have created a new me, I have wanted to be a travel guide, hostel manager, ranch owner, plane pilot, wise gardener, history student; I have met so many incredible people that colored my pilgrimages with peculiar shades, with authentic lights; I have lived unbelievable adventures. I could mention every beautiful soul but I prefer to let them guess, I could list all the North American States/Provinces I have crossed but I will only give you a number – 24, + Iceland, + Ireland -, I could count kilometers and miles but I suck so hard with mathematics, I will only say it was a lot. And there is only one thing to write down in the end, there is only one thing that matters: I am so grateful for every laugh, for every sad-happy-and-scared-tears, for very endless and useless word, for every freedom and constraint, for every solitude and crowd; I am grateful for every individual, collective and precious memory that have paved my dreamy road….
And I peacefully go home. And I happily keep going. Because despite those words, it is not an end, it is a beginning! You never fully come back from this kind of journey, it is a part of you forever like a stepping stone, like a turning point, like a chrysalis from where the butterfly flies for the first time…
My heart aches, of course, when I think I will fly home in a minute, but to be totally honest, carnivorous New York energy helps my desire to leave; but to be totally honest, I don’t realize yet… The memory of my departure in June is still so vivid, like it was yesterday… And I paradoxically feel like it was another life, one thousand years ago… Therefore, I don’t really understand what is happening, I am just moving from one place to another, like I have been doing by plane, boat, train, bus or car for months. I might know better tomorrow when I will be too late or too early compared to this land where I belong. Or when I will see my mum. Or when I will have a pint with Juliette. Or in a month. Or never…
We picture life like a succession of departures and breaks… Wait a minute, actually, no. We think life in a flat line and we don’t always realize it is made of departures and separations. Because we picture only final departures count. Yet…
One day, I fully realize life was only a succession of departures and breaks, and they wounded me each time. Every separation was physical because each of my state of grace was related to the place, they depended on it. Now, my state of mind doesn’t depend on the place anymore, it only belongs to my heart.
For the eight last months, each departure has allowed me to make real theories about my being that I had developed in one place and time. My wanderings was a succession of departures which freed me from my disappointed hopes, from my ancient dreams, from my pulling past. This is the reason why my return is utterly part of my journey. It ends and confirms it. It enables me to sort out what I have felt, hoped, wanted, dreamt, what was real and what will go away. It allows me to truly assess my freedom of being.
Thus, departures become my flat line, I fully adopt them. Even if today, I am not only leaving New York, I am leaving North America. And I didn’t even cross the famous Brooklyn Bridge…
Because, after all, I am not going back for ever, I make a stop at home waiting for me to tidy my desires, to make my new dreams come true and draw my path towards tomorrow.
It is time to fly now. I have a lay over in Gatwick Airport, a symbol in my life that I truly remember without hurting. And as I am waiting for my plane to my pink city, as the sun is blinding me later on the plane, I recognize Toulouse’s unique accent. It is over, French has taken over.
And full of my wandering steps, of my changing landscapes, of everyone, of anyone; I land in France. I have never been so happy to face Mister Border Control, because when I say a bright hi in my own language, I utterly feel at home.
Justine T.Annezo – Feb 16-17th 2020 – From the US to France From NYC to Toulouse From GMT-5 to GMT+1