On Chasing Daylight (London, UK)
Travel Virgin Playlist, Track 8: Home (Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros)
Everything did not go to plan.
On my second night in Paris, I discovered bed bugs in my AirBnB. There was no way I could stay, and I couldn't get in touch with the host. So, I packed my things and found a secluded area outside to wait until 5AM to call an Uber to the train station. I figured 5AM was the universal time when it's safe to walk the streets. I tried not to get too bummed about the inconvenience, knowing that I'd be headed to London in the morning.
As I said before, though, everything did not go to plan. It turned out that the ticket I'd bought months in advance, to take the two hour train ride from Paris to London, was invalid. If I planned on taking the Chunnel, I'd had to buy a new ticket--which I could not afford. I ended up taking the bus, which took 7 hours. So, the time I would have spent eating fish and chips and seeing the sights, was spent trying to get whatever rest I could on the bus.
At first I was livid about how my plans had been ruined. But, after thinking about it, everything else on this trip had come together so beautifully, that I had to concede that maybe my not seeing London fit perfectly as well (even if I couldn't see how immediately). Thomas Keating talks about anger as a form of pride, because oftentimes what we're most angry about is the fact that we're not really in control of our circumstances. In this particular case, he was right.
On the upside, I did get a view of the entire city from the bus. It was charming, like every other city I'd seen on this trip. Initially, I had planned to stay in London for 3 days, but I changed my flight to get back to LA early, because I wanted to get back to my friends and justice work. So this would be my only chance to see the city for now.
On my way to the airport the next morning, I looked at the sun rising over this sleepy town, and thought of a book I'd read years ago called Chasing Daylight (Erwin McManus). It was all about seizing the opportunity to go after your dreams. That book inspired me to pack my bags after college and move to New York. It literally changed my life. But, like I said at the beginning of this journey, I had stopped chasing daylight. I was waiting for my music career to take me on a European Tour. I don't know that it will ever happen, but I'm glad that I stopped waiting. I'm glad I used what money I had to make it happen. It didn't happen in the way I thought it would, but I'm am once again living some version of the dream.
Here's what I know.
I thought I was on a vacation. It turns out that I was on a pilgrimage. I'm coming back Los Angeles a different person than when I left. On this trip, I've realized that I am a man that has been forgiven much, and so I've found the resources to pray again. God is more real to me now than God has been in 2 years. I learned that the world is so vast and so beautiful, and there are tons of good people in it, and so I feel hopeful about the future again. I've been able to step away from the pressing issues of my life in America for a while, but now I feel energized to get back to work. And, I've realized that I can do what I did out here at home. I can find new places to eat, and talk to strangers, and go for long walks. I can sing at the top of my lungs, and dance in the streets if I want. I can learn new languages and visit strange parts of town I've only heard of before. The world is so vast, and life is so short. I'm not ready to stop chasing daylight.
I'll be back again Europe. But for now, thanks for the memories.