I catch my face in the mirror after drying off from a cool shower. The old toilet and plastic curtain of the B&B we’re staying at for the night are reflected in the background. I’m brown and fresh. Glowing.
It took the restorers 25 years to bring the Sistine Chapel back to its original colours; bright reds and blues, yellows and greens whereas before was only a smudge of grey. Restoration was a painfully slow process of slightly, slightly rubbing off of the grime built up over the years until the original colours were free. Two perfectly square patches of grime are left in the top back corner of the chapel ceiling for comparison.
I feel a bit like the Sistine Chapel. Layer by layer, not just the last 5 weeks but each day of the last year or so has been a slow, gradual rubbing away of 24 years of expectations, boundaries, perceptions, biases, right and wrong, confusion. A flash of colour is just starting to peek through and I hold onto these moments like gold. What an incredible feeling, sensing your whole self in sync, even if just for a second.
I think the reason it’s so easy to ‘find yourself’ travelling is because you’re surrounded by constant beauty. Hills and castles out the window of a train, sunsets over the ocean, ancient architecture towering over your head. The beauty permeates you like the sun on a warm day. It becomes a part of you, meaning you get to reflect it back to the world.