I awake, slowly drifting back from that other, indefinable world, but not yet fully restored to this one. I am aware that things are different, though not yet sure why; there is something strange happening. My world is quiet and motionless; the movement that I have grown so used to is now still. The room is somehow bigger, the light is different, the smell, the bed, the sheets, it is all different, where I am? This is not Kuhela. Was it all a dream, did it all really happen, or have I just been deep in slumber, sailing on imaginary seas and walking on invented shores, did I just make it all up. The room is my old room at my parents house, I realize that now, the feel is the same, both the in the room and in myself. I find the same old thoughts drifting through my head; old past judgments, feeling and beliefs float around within me. I feel as though I am back where I started, like I never left, like I have learnt nothing from the amazing dream I have just been robbed of. I sit up and slowly take in all that lies around me, my gaze moving from object to object, each with its own story and memories attached. I am in Perth, in my bed, I can hear the family talking outside. There’s no way to describe what I feel, the mixture is too bizarre, too jumbled, too much to comprehend. Then my gaze falls upon the photo on the dresser. The blue and white hull, a material manifestation of dreams, a man standing on deck smiling, that man is me. Proof that it did happen, that it wasn’t just some hallucination or delusion, Kuhela is real. That one small photo, put there by my mother in a simple kind gesture, has saved me. It has given me hope and reminded me of who I am and what I have learnt. I allow myself to fall gently back, close my eyes, and smile.
Returning after the trip has been so many things, in some ways it has been more than I expected, in others it has left me seriously lacking. The main thing about being back is the time with the family. To share cups of tea, so many that the kettle seems to be constantly on, and to hear what they have been up to and how things are going for them is beyond price. To see how Dad and Mom are working towards new goals and how my younger brother and sister are toiling away at their assignments and prepping for exams, the first two of the family to go to university. To again meet my niece, Elizabeth, and to begin to get to know her. She is cautious and reserved when around people or places that are new, and since I've been away for the majority of her life (it sounds so weird to even write those words) I am someone new. For someone with such tiny fingers she certainly manages to keep many people wound around them though, and I’d be lying if I said I was immune to that. To hear mom and dad referred to as granddad and grandma, it still sounds foreign to my ears. To see Jon and Anne Marie and to see how they are going, these are things I have missed. I haven’t had the chance to see Joel and Skye yet, but have spoken to him on the phone and look forward to catching up.
One of the strangest things for me though is that because of the blog, the family know most of the things that have all ready happened, I feel like I have missed out on being able to sit recount stories from the trip as they know so much about it all ready. Somehow I feel like I've just settled back into life, I know that I have so much to tell and share with them, but I'm lost as just where to begin. This has been something I've been trying to figure out. I also find myself at times struggling to recall the many memories and experiences of the last year and a half, they’re hazy as if behind a fog or smoke. Maybe that’s why I write, I’m scared to forget. It always amazes me how you can be away for so long and just settle in when you get back, not so much changes at home.
Again in my life I have been amazingly blessed, and waiting for me on my return is a car, loaned from a friend who works away, a house to look after for a couple weeks while another friend is on holiday, and my old room and mom and dad’s, not bad coming back to all that. Add into the mix the fact that my brother got me tickets to one of my favorite music festivals, which finishes up with him and I dancing on stage with Michael Franti, one of the most positive musicians I can think of, and its easy to see why I consider myself so damn lucky. Also with the freedom of my own wheels I make my way up and down the coast catching up with friends that I have not seen in ages and surfing amazing waves in the South West. I know that Perth is not where I want to live long term, but I will base myself here as there are some things that I need to experience here and feel at peace knowing that it is not forever. I think this is one area that I have learnt a lot in, not feeling that I need everything now, there is a time for everything, maybe some would call it patience.
Things are working out well, all falling into place at exactly the right time. I get everything finalized for work and have a chat to the guys at the office to find out what jobs are coming up and put the word out that I am available. I also needed a set of wheels and one day on a trip down to the beach I come across the perfect set up. A camper van, all set up and ready to go, ready to escape south when I need to run away for a surf and getting out of the city. It’s so good to be able to pull up to the beach, open up the back and lie in a comfy bed looking out as the waves crash against the shore and run up the beach. I really do enjoy living simply and this is just another aspect of that. I have everything I need with me, and with the possibility of any wave or place I want to explore literally at my doorstep, what more could I want.
To top it all off, nearly exactly a month to the day after returning, I get a call to go out to work. It has been a while but I am ready and before you know it, I'm on a helicopter and once again dressed in high visibility clothing and all the other associated PPE . Were building a jetty on one of the offshore islands north of Perth, once again putting on a dive helmet and settling to the sea bed to work. It feels good to be back in these waters again, even if I have to do some work while I'm there, and will be a welcome sight to see the figures of the bank account rise a bit.
So here I am, so far along from where I was before I set out, with so many things accomplished, and yet still back here and into this familiar territory, which almost seems exactly the same. I again thank my mom for her guiding words attesting that this is not the end of a trip, but just another chapter, a continuation, there is no end. Every day is another page in the story of your life, the plot grows, as do you, twists and turns, moving from chapter to chapter, it’s a book in which you have no idea what will happen, but its important be to grateful for every page you are given as no one knows when their book will be on its closing paragraph. It’s a story that has taken me on one hell of a ride in so many different ways and still thrills and excites me to imagine what will come as I take my next step. This is my wish for everyone, all the people I love, those I've met and those I've yet to meet. Love your life, write your story in bold, graceful script, its an amazing tale.
So with a smile still on my face I roll out of bed, get dressed and step out the door to my room and say good morning to the family, just in time to hear the kettle go off.