Well, I can’t believe this is finally it. Yesterday was a whirlwind (after 7 hours of sitting on the plane/waiting for luggage to be unloaded/elbowing other passengers in the bunfight for hotel vouchers, we finally got to sleep at 3.55am), and it has somewhat shifted the focus from the enormity (in my head) of our return to simple relief. I’m really looking forward to getting home. I have moments when this really disappoints me – the wishing away of the last month on the road, which now pains me to recall – but I also am just bursting with a childish excitement to see all the faces which I have missed so much over the last 8 months.
One change that I feel, and that I hope I can retain, is finally a sense that London is my home. I kicked and screamed my way through my early 20s, desperately wanting to live in seemingly more exciting or different global metropolises (metropoli?!) believing that somehow I’d feel more fulfilled, more challenged, more interesting, abroad. I fixated specifically on New York because I had my handful of very close friends there and every time I went, I threw myself into its captivating energy.
I believed myself to be bigger than London, wanted to feel more international, less normal. But now I know, with a certain pride and a strong sense of contentment, that London is my home. The wanderlust, the desire to be somewhere else, the sense that everywhere was more interesting, which gnawed away at the better part of my first decade of professsional life is now sated, I hope for good. It’s almost as though (she says, self indulgently, sleep starved) it’s taken me these 8 months of being away, working my guts off with Mike, meeting people from such amazingly different backgrounds and hearing such personal details of their lives, to realise that really people are pretty similar wherever you go. And the people I know best happen to be in London.
I’ve been blown away by the people that we have met on the Going the Distance journey. In a way that no other travelling experience has let me understand before. This project has been an amazing way of opening the lid on people’s lives – people from so many backgrounds, so many ways of life. I honestly feel privileged and blessed to have had this experience, and I hope that it has enriched me in a way that no amount of real life could have. The subject of love has allowed us into people’s hearts, and my own heart has swollen with the love that we have felt from people at every step of the way.
I realise I’m descending into a cheese fest here, but my faith in and love for humanity has grown beyond anything I could ever have expected. People are, by and large, wonderful and I feel blessed to have been able to go out and experience that. Every country has overwhelmed us with its warmth and generosity, and going home, I feel a certain obligation to express that in what we do with all that we have filmed, but that said, I’m so proud to have met every single person that we have found (and who has found us) along the way. There’s lots of love out there, and it’s really made me feel good about the world.
So, going home. Friends and family are what make home, and God, I’ve been reminded how much I love my lot. Going back for Mike’s mum’s 60th means that the whole of his family will be together for the weekend, we’ll meet baby Eva for the first time – Mike’s brother’s daughter, born in October. Not to mention friends who are now married, other friends with new babies, friends who have suffered loss, my younger brother getting engaged! Time to get back to real life now with its highs and lows, its mundanity and routines, and the nest of friends and family.