Moving home is always going to be a challenge. Moving countries even more so. And so many folk are on the move right now. All over the world. Changes have taken place in the way nations and superstates are organised. They resonate with some. They don’t resonate with others. And if you aren’t resonating with your surroundings, you are left with a stark choice. Stay and adapt, or pack your bags and leave. The common sensation is displacement. And the reason for this is that we are not isolated lumps of flesh, but woven into the very tapestry of our environment.
But what next? If you are looking for a new home, how do you choose where it should be? How can you tell if any given spot is ‘the one’?
I dug a toe in the sands of Galicia. The beach was a geological masterpiece. Over the millennia, the Atlantic had chiselled the rocks into monuments. At this end of times’ long trajectory, they towered over the shoreline like a backdrop of Gothic abbeys.
Yes, the aptly named Playa de Les Catedrales wasn’t built in a day. What the hell of any value is?
It was here I sensed a slowing down. I had been driving along northern Spain’s A8, which while presumably not the most dangerous highway in the world, definitely qualifies for a place in Europe’s top 10 insane road engineering projects. It’s basically one very long, very high viaduct. I always imagine the road planners meeting for the A8 proceeding thus;
“Right folks, how can we build a highway through Asturias? It’s 200 km of sheer ravines and peaks.”
“I know! Let’s just slap the thing over the top!”
“A highway on stilts?”
“Yeah. The mountains can be the stilts.”
Slow nods all around the table. And the A8 was born.
But I was out of Asturias now. The A8 had come in to land. Grassy hills rose and fell like the body of a snoozing green bear. The road was an elastic band that my van was pulling. I knew as soon as it reached its stretch limit, it would ping me straight back.
Within a week I found that limit. Unsurprisingly, it was Santiago de Compostela. End of The Camino. End of so many things. As I wandered about the cathedral for the umpteenth time, gazing up at the intricately sculpted nave, the stone pillars and porticos, I saw the mirroring. From one catedrale to another. The inspiration ricocheted from rock to basilica. From nature to city to nature.
So back I pinged. Back to the shores of Galicia and the structures the Atlantic had carved. Back along the A8. I waited for gravity to drag me down and let me fall somewhere. But where would I settle? Where?
Finding a new space doesn’t happen in a day. Nothing of any value does.
To arrive somewhere, anywhere, and decide in an instant whether or not its ‘the one’, is the mental equivalent of bulldozing a plot of land before you’ve even set foot in it. Because there is no ‘one special space’. There are infinite spaces. Infinite homes. Infinite new worlds to create. It’s down to us to connect with them. And eventually commit to them.
Finding a new space to live is to start a relationship. First there is attraction. Then tentative invitations, accepted or refused. We begin a conversation with our surroundings. We listen, and we speak. With each passing day we learn a little more. The land learns a little more. The folk we encounter learn a little more. Do we trust? Do they trust us? Thus the relationship begins.
The leaves turned brown. Chestnuts appeared. Rain began to fall. I circled between Galicia and Asturias. Round and round. Feeling. Smelling. Sensing. As the season turned from late Autumn to winter, I noticed I was still here.
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In this blog I openly share my personal experience. Generally it is met with kindness and generosity, and I am always very happy to hear your comments, ideas and experiences. Whatever your opinion please voice it respectfully. I don't engage in rudeness or negativity in my life or on this site. It is simply deleted.
Atulya K Bingham
"This is such a compelling book. It will make you want to abandon everything you know, move to the forest and commune with the trees and earth." Luisa Lyons, actor, writer and musician.
"Inspiring and beautifully written."
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