Oh, how I wish I had nothing to write about. Instead, I have everything.
Pages, books, hours, days full of scrambled words in mismatched sentences, recurrent themes, secondary characters who come and go.
When I was little, I loved to draw. I drew dresses. I decided I wanted to become a fashion designer. That didn’t turn out quite as expected. When I turned eight, I visited London for the first time, and decided I would live there one day. That is slowly falling into place.
I was always good at a lot of things. I was good at drawing, photography, writing, but I hated maths and geometry. Technical things, exercises, rules – those weren’t for me.
I need passion. I needed inspiration, drive, awe. Ever since I was a child I’ve wanted to be amazed by the world, to have my breath taken away by its beauty, by rivers and houses, people and bridges, deserted beaches and houseboats in Amsterdam, abandoned castles hidden in forests, monuments to history, proof of human life now and then.
I don’t think I’m a writer. I don’t think I’ll ever be a writer. I will never be a photographer either. I’m a jack of all trades, a 21st century dilettante. I can’t stay still, I can’t decide. In my flat, there are three empty suitcases by the door, 365 days a year.
I never know when I might be leaving, going somewhere new or somewhere familiar. I never know what camera I’m taking – is it the precious Canon 5D, the beat-up 35mm T50 or even the equally analogue Nikon I inherited from my mother, covered in duct tape? I don’t know. I rarely know more than a week in advance. A privilege of being young and sustained and careless, but also a lifestyle choice.
You see, I want everything. I want to take in everything the world has to offer. I want to breathe in the mountain air, swim in the deep ocean water, take in the city sights. I want to experience all the wonders of the earth – if I don’t, does it make any sense for me to be alive at all? Won’t I just be another speckle in a crowd of strangers?
I’ve been told I’m overly ambitious. That I work too hard, that I’m a perfectionist and a worrywart, that I stress over the little things and never find time to relax. But all my work, all the stressing and staying up all night poking and prodding at ‘the little things’ has its purpose.
I want everything, and I’ll be damned if I don’t get it.
I was never anyone’s lover but always everyone’s friend. I like people, I love everyone and hate no one, I can’t hold grudges or keep resentment in my heart. I suppose I was always too engrossed in what I loved doing to even give myself a chance to become attached. Maybe there’s a reason, maybe there’s something in me that’s itching, making me the restless, nervous person that I am, the person who wants everything and is bound to nothing. The person who wants to be free.
Right now, the future is full of open doors. I don’t know which one to go through and which ones to close. Not yet. I’m sure that no matter what I decide, there will be pictures to document it, rolls and rolls of 35mm film to prove that I was there, that I walked that road, but never the big picture, never the wide city avenue or the endless horizon.
Freedom, love and happiness are in the small things. The coffee in bed every morning with swing music playing in the background, a text from a friend who suddenly thought of me, a good book, my favourite ginger biscuit perfume, the lapping of cold ocean water at my feet and an empty suitcase by the door. I don’t know where I’m going, when I’m going, or if I’m ever coming back. But I know what I want, and I’m going after it.
I won’t stop.