You Must be Brave

On my first day at my placement with Evening News, I got the chance to chitchat with one of the younger staff members there, on our way back from a press conference. As we walked back, we somehow started talking about places I have lived and such. I think we slipped onto the topic as she asked me what I want to do, in terms of career choice. I said I want to be a freelancer, and be able to travel. Basically, that is all I know.

Once we re-entered the office, I mentioned I always travel on my own.

“Wow you are really brave!”

“So they say,” I replied to her determined statement.

Many people have said through the years that I am brave.

I never considered myself to be brave. It just never really crossed my mind.

This is something I had to do, and as far as I can remember, I was never scared. Nervous, yes. I’d get nervous before every big trip I did, especially my first real big trip – backpacking around Europe in 2011. I was shaking nerves for 10 days prior to departure.

My first (small) trip on my own – my visit to Edinburgh, which took place exactly five years ago, I was not as nervous, but still a little. During my first or second day I went to visit the National Museum for the very first time. As I was there, I somehow began talking to a lady, who it turned out is a teacher and had brought her class to the museum on that particular day. We exchanged a few sentences. She asked me what my parents say and think about that I travel on my own (I had not yet moved abroad then), if they are worried “No, they have always been sure that I can take care of myself, so they don’t really worry about me. They just know I need to do this” I said. In fact, my mom was the one who said to me I just have to go. She identified that it was the only thing that would make me happy those five years ago.

The lady I met at the museum thought I am brave, like so many other people I have talked to.

To me, it has always been the obvious, the easiest thing to do. It was easier for me to stay away, to stay ‘on the road’, than to stay in Sweden, or to go back.

Until recently.

Yesterday I admitted and confessed that I need to move back home.

But it is not about being audacious. It comes down to what I have needed during different parts of my life, what feels right.

For years, I needed to stay away.

Five years later my job abroad is done, for now at least.

I need to go home for a bit.

Priorities and life circumstances change.

Right now my main priority seems to be my family, and my oldest friends. I want to see my nephew growing up and turning into the wonderful being he will be. I want to get to know my brother again; I want to spend time with family members I have not seen since I was a child. I want to be able to visit my dad whenever I feel like it.

My life partner (my best friend) is right: I can still travel as much as I want. I certainly will.

I have a lot of practicalities to figure out: where to live, what to do, how to support myself.. all the details. For years it has seemed easier, practically speaking, to stay abroad, partly because I had more of an established life abroad. This might be true. Yet, my heart wants to go home.

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