Travel Memory #1

by Ruby Brunton

I think I was too young to truly appreciate Europe.

Fuelled by the notion of romantic love and the desire to have mind-blowing experiences, I packed up a suitcase and said goodbye to my cramped, messy three bedroom apartment in Brooklyn.

Moving to France had been a rather easy decision to make. New York had failed to offer up the rock and roll dreamland of Patti Smith and Jimi Hendrix and had instead delivered a 50 hour work week for almost minimum wage, by the end of which I was too tired to make it out to local music haunts such as Barbès and Southpaw. The whole time I lived in New York I only went to see one play – a haphazard and entertaining show by Bread and Puppet at Theatre for a New City.

I was weary, and France offered herself up to me with a warm bed, warm soup and piles of cheese. But very quickly my time there became full of foreboding, a relationship that couldn’t last, employers unwilling to take me on without a work visa, a dwindling savings account. Coming back dejected from another job interview and a day of hot sun, I’d climb the cobbled staircase to our little flat with a heavy heart, thinking each time that it would be the last time I’d make that journey.

Escape came in the idea of returning home to the Pacific, where people would speak my language and life would be easier.

But as I sit in a café with the urge to write down these recollections, I must remind myself of my new escape plan. Nostalgia shakes me.

Life is not so easy when all you want is more.