I have just been sitting in the garden sipping on coffee that has been sitting in my room for eight years. That might not sound too apetising, but this bag of powder was bought from downtown Havana on my first really big solo adventure at the end of the first year of university.
For some reason, I never opened the pack, but in the gradual clear-out of my room, I decided it was taking up space on the shelf, when it really should be drunk. Mum and I sniffed it for a while, deciding it smelled like weak chocolate powder – but Dad downed it in the way that only someone with an asbestos-lined throat could and seemed to enjoy it.
Sitting in the garden, it’s really amazing to look back at that first trip and work out the events that lead up to it. Traveling by myself down to Grenoble for a skiing holiday … having a family member like Nigel around who was impossibly cosmopolitan and dashing … adventurous holidays with the Biddles … it all adds up to me flying ‘back to Mordor’ tonight on the red-eye express.
It’s just the most amazing thing to look back at the first days in Taiwan, backpack barely loaded and without a clue of what to expect. And here I am, returning to Taipei and ready to move house, downtown and inspired and energised by a couple of meetings earlier this week that really reminded me that what I was doing is special, and that many people that I have a great deal of respect in want to hear about.
It’s not easy living out east, on the edge of your motivation and on the limits of your personality, but I think I return this time with a touch more maturity and the ability to look back at something that I have built. And for that reason I think that gives me more optimism and resolve for the future.