My final stop before returning home to the States was in England to visit my dad. It was really great to see him again. I had just graduated college and could tell he was proud of me, which made me happy!
I spent 6 weeks in England with him and my sister. I relaxed and contemplated life during the week and toured with them on the weekends.
We drove to Liverpool and took the Beatles Magical Mystery bus Tour, which ushered us to such sites as Penny Lane, Strawberry Field and the famous Cavern Club where The Beatles first became rock stars!
One of my favorite day trips though was to visit Hadrian’s Wall. I love old architecture! In the year 122 AD the Roman Empire built a stone wall across the north of England to separate and protect themselves from the present day Scots. Today, it’s a crumbling ruin that serves both as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and, as proof of the Romans power and ingenuity of the day.
I remember one afternoon I was feeling restless and went for a short walk near my dad’s house out in the countryside. The stinging memory of the Rheinsteig still fresh in my mind; I did my best to absorb the quiet solitude of my surroundings. I was enjoying my family time but, on this short walk I was reminded again of how I still had no direction in life.
That little annoying voice in the back of my mind saying, “Why don’t you have a job yet? You’re disappointing your parents! It’s time to give up on your dreams and come back to reality.”
The landscape was still and quiet. You could hear a pin drop. There was no wind or sound, just the sight of sheep meandering through the green pastures. After some time, I found a quiet spot near a creek surrounded by warm, sunlit trees and boulders. I cleared one rock away using my hands to brush the dirt and leaves and sat down.
I sat, staring into the water and let out a big exhale…
“What am I doing?”
“I’m finished with school, now what the hell do I do? What do I want to do?”
I had no clue. I didn’t even have so much as an image in my mind, just a feeling. I felt that after college, I should feel free, awake and alive. No one to tell me what to do, or where to go. I could be myself and make no apologies. But, sitting there, on a rock in the English countryside, I realized my self-identity and desire for independence was nowhere nearer to me than I was to a distant star. I was in trouble.