There is no such thing as a road to happiness. Happiness is a state of mind and makes the road more enticing than the goal.
After being asked whether I’d like to go to London for a work project and six hours later, after booking hotels and plain tickets, packing, gathering together everything I’d need for the job and doing a bit of laundry to make sure I didn’t run out of clothes while away, I found myself on a plane towards the capital of England.
I’ve been to England once before, in York, travelling with a group of about 30 where I was picked up at the airport, driven to the hotel, and given plenty of information on where to go, what to do, and what to expect. This time I’m in a slightly larger city, all by myself, with a building I need to go to and a paper in my hand saying my boss trust me with the responsibility. Quite a different approach to England in other words.
It’s a little odd travelling by myself. I’ve travelled alone before, but never stayed anywhere all by myself without knowing anyone or having anyone to talk to. I went out to eat today. I found an ok pub, not too far from the hotel nor from work and I really enjoyed sitting there by myself. I was a little twitchy at first, didn’t really know where to look, what to do, but then I just sat back and took everything in. I was sitting in the corner of a pub, a bright corner fortunately, next to a window. Outside I could see christmas decorations and as I sat there Paul McCartney’s voice reminded me that this was a wonderful christmas time. I started drifting off, thinking about buying home a few christmas decorations for Son and Husband. I’ve wanted to go to a large European city before yule, go to markets and see the various decorations. And now, after working as hard as I can here for a few days, I have more days off around christmas that I can spend with my family. A win/win situation. I smiled to myself and had to agree with Paul, it was indeed a wonderful christmas time.
Next to my table sat a couple. It became obvious from their conversation that they didn’t know each other well and was probably on one of their first dates. The woman was talking a lot, on and on about a family situation, and after every third sentence or so she added: “But I don’t care”. In my head I finished that sentence for here “… I just go raving on and on about it anyhow, ironic isn’t it?”. The man was quiet, for obvious reasons. He did get a word in every now and again, he was more reserved than the woman, talking slower and without the gestures she so enthusiastically used. He had his back towards me, but I can’t imagine his facial expressions being any more dramatic than his gestures. His stories were met with more or less random “ah hah!”s and a person looking more out the window than at the man talking to her. Then he asked her something, and the stage was hers again. She reminded me a bit of myself, which is a scary thought. I know I can get very enthusiastic when talking about something that excites me, but I do hope I show more attention to the people I talk to. With the many interesting people I have around me and do talk to, it would be a real shame if I didn’t. I found myself trying to picture myself as a single woman in my late twenties. I met my husband at 15 and we have been together ever since. How dramatically different I would have been as a person without him. I’m glad I’ll never know!
Being at a completely new place, with nothing familiar around me except for the contents of my bag and logos and brands I know from back home, I found comfort in the music played in the pub. Music is the best therapy. “Let it never be said, that the romance is dead” said a familiar voice, while Husband’s face popped up in my head and brought a smile to my face. I had finished my dinner and was getting ready to leave. More people entered the pub, accompanied by Killers asking the always relevant question: “Are we human? or are we dancer?”.