A Visual Journal, Traveling to London

I've been less with words and more with visuals lately. Here's me, attempting to share a little of the backstory:

This unexpected trip back to London came at an interesting time, one where I question if things really do come full circle. In 2011, I headed off to London with a small group from my college to complete an independent study abroad. We were to all choose a topic to focus our study; between museums, research, sketching, and the final creation with a gallery viewing. The figure became my topic of choice.

We spent each day in a different museum, researching artists, topics, recreating sketches, learning new mediums. Some days, you wouldn't get through more than two rooms. We were to walk everywhere, some days 30+ miles, and it was spring. The rain came down heavy, and we were always exhausted. Certain days became mentally draining, where you couldn't stand to even be near another piece of art. Others were rejuvenating, seeing work that spoke to the inner most parts of your creative soul. This was the first trip, honestly the first feeling in general; where I had ever felt homesick. Just before this study, I had undergone an intense surgery and was still recuperating. I had been diagnosed with celiacs and hypothyroidism and was still struggling with the reality of it. My body had turned against me. Personal relationships started to fall apart back home. For the first time in my life, I felt like I had lost control. My world was unraveling around me and there was no way of stopping it. This trip was the first time I ever remember experiencing any sort of real anxiety. The start of it all. And here I was, stranded in London. Why was I even here to begin with?

I wasn't sure where I wanted to be, but I was almost certain that it wasn't in London. With all the experience and knowledge I had gained from being there, the strong sense of discouragement I felt as a young creative seemed to outweigh it all. I had never traveled anywhere before this that left me with such a bitter taste. 

After agreeing to be part of a photo project based in the UK, (I'll share more on this topic soon) part of me dreaded the thought of going back to a place I had, for so long, resented. But there was a greater part of me that wanted rewrite the story. Prove there could be a positive outcome. One that could overcome anxiety, embrace the present, and be grateful for the experiences I had been given at such a young age. I had wanted to do something purely for myself.

So I went. 

The latest trip back was one of the greatest decisions I've ever made. In my 26 years, most of my decisions have always been weighed at the cost of someone else. I've said no to experiences to avoid others missing out. Guilt usually fuels my decision making process. I've talked myself out of more situations simply because I believed I wasn't capable. That I wasn't deserving of them.

This experience was for me and me alone. To say that it was freeing, the words just will never do it justice. Standing there, in these same places, six years later, was more emotional that I expected. I had overcome so much to be back this exact point. A place where I never thought I would be. Something had shifted. There was a moment standing in the middle of a street I don't know the name of, waiting to cross; where I had actually started to feel something again. 

How many times in our lives to do we actually feel a pull from the universe? One that says yes, this was written for you. You belong here. I had been gifted that.

And it's something I'll never forget.

samantha rueter1 Comment