It was 1st February at 8:25pm, the end of a long and challenging day at work producing a plethora of scorecards for the senior leadership team. I could feel an overwhelming sensation of fatigue in my body. My mind oozed data and I desperately needed to switch off my brain. Luckily for me, I was about to execute my favourite act of escapology and hop on a flight. I was about to take some Eurowings and fly again somewhere to be free.
The destination was Hamburg. I could not wait to get to the city and begin to explore. The flight was over in the blink of an eye. I closed my eyes and within the next blink I arrived. I began to move at a frenetic pace as soon as I left the flight. It was 10:30pm and my body craved rest. I hopped on the underground and began my journey to Central station. The train whistled through the city at great speed and as I gazed out into the night sky I could not wait for the next morning to begin.
I arrived at Central Station and turned right on the main exit to walk down to Novum Hotel Norddeutscher Hof where I was staying for the night. The hotel was surprisingly quiet considering it was so close to the main station and as I laid on the bed I could not sleep. My mind was boggled with work and data dimensions. I could not switch off my brain. I stared up at the ceiling and began to contemplate the journey I had taken to get to this point. I did not want to go backwards, not now, not ever. I felt a tear roll down my cheek as I could sense an ominous relapse was about to occur. Something in my heart was telling me that my journey was about to take a twist. Maybe it was the fatigue talking but as I began to drift off I could feel my body convulse in fear of failure at work. I was leading a major university wide project for the first time and the expectations on my shoulders were considerably. I had to prove myself. I knew that the outcome of the programme was a personal reflection on me and I could not allow myself to fail.
This was the moment in my career which I had craved for so long and I needed it to be a success. This was the culmination of so much hard work but I could not and would not allow my work to overshadow and cripple my life outside of work.
With this sense of fight, I decided to delete my work email and calendar from my phone. I needed to free my mind from work and the moment I pressed delete, I could myself relax and I was able to sleep.
I awoke to a cold and misty Hamburg. I felt rather hungry and opted to have scrambled eggs, vegetarian sausages and beans followed by a bowl of porridge. I was full of energy and as I walked around the serene streets of Hamburg. I found myself deeply intrigued by the surroundings.
As I departed the hotel, I noticed a set of murals next to an adjacent church. The church tower looked magnificent in the misty backdrop but the murals seems to depict an interesting tale. I found myself compelled as I tried to decipher its meaning. Parts of the mural were terrifying whilst other aspects oozed beauty.
The conclusion I could derive was this showed the different facets and emotions which we all experience on the journey of life. It was important to not allow ourselves to be defined by a singular feeling or to be afraid of what our hearts tell us. Sometimes they tell us to run towards something and other times they tell us to run away from something. I had been in pursuit of following my heart’s desires for so long now and I loved the journey which this choice had created for me so far. It was without doubt the happiest period of my life following my instincts and doing all the things I craved. It sounds so simple – do what you want as long as it makes you happy. But in my life, I had always been conscious of what people thought of me and foolishly allowed that to define my life for so many years. This led me down a very dark and paralysing path which I fortunately snapped out of. I was now free and the tranquillity of this place was just what I needed.
I saw a gorgeous town hall. The architecture intoxicated me deeply. I loved the colours, the detail and the beauty of this space. It was such a marvel to admire.
I walked along a lake and liked how peaceful everything was here. It did not matter to me how cold it was. All I wanted to do was to embrace the quiet and allow myself to switch off. The world had shown me that at times I could not live my life at full pelt all of the time. I needed time for myself away from my friends, family and work for me to savour and to recharge. This was essential to my wellbeing. I needed to disconnect myself from reality and connect with the person I really was. I was many things to many people but fundamentally I wanted to allow myself to happy after all isn’t that what we all want.
I enjoyed walking around the lake and the views of the city from afar. There was hardly a soul here and this was the perfect retreat for me to escape. My journey came full circle back to the train station where I would head towards the airport to head for an afternoon in Budapest…