Sunsets for Kate, the idea, the concept, the why, all came to me as if out of the blue. And now it is soaring, like a bird, flying across the globe, allowing me to witness beauty and colour of places I have never known, kindness and compassion of people I have never met.
Almost two years have passed since I set it free and still I find it hard to express what it means to me. I had no doubt Sunsets for Kate was going to take flight but did not realise that it would sweep me off my feet too.
It came to be as if out of the blue, but with each sunset it has dawned on me, Sunsets for Kate, the idea, the concept, the why, has always been with me.
“I have no idea … what I am doing, where I am going,” I have said time and time again, “I am just following the trail of breadcrumbs.”
And out of the blue, the trail of breadcrumbs, for which I had criss-crossed the globe, lead right back to me. What I was looking for has always been with me. And all I had to do was trust. Just trust myself, trust in myself, and trust in God, the Guardian Angels, the Universe, whatever it is you may call it … intuition, signs or messages. All I had to do was trust, and Sunsets for Kate grew wings to fly free.
“I have no idea … what I am doing, where I am going,” I still exclaim, but I now know my why. I remembered my why.
Once upon a time, life, to me, seemed so worthless. Not only was I hearing impaired, vision impaired and going blind, I was very depressed, I was very lost, and I was very alone. A traumatic experience had destroyed me, destroyed my trust and any hope, faith and positivity I might have once had. Life just seemed worthless.
“There are children starving in the world!”
It started as a joke, (although I do want to clarify, the fact there are starving children in the world is no joke). Each time I thought the work I was doing was pointless, a time waster, money down the drain (although it paid well into my bank account), shaking my head, muttering to myself, I would say it.
“There are children starving in the world!”
When the days at work became long, weekends were spent at work and draft number one became draft number thirty-eight, it wasn’t long before shaking my head and throwing up my arms, muttering out loud, I would say it.
“There are children starving in the world! What does it matter? This comma. This word. This design. What does it really matter? There are children starving in the world, you know!”
Then before I knew it I was running away, again. Even though I had just returned from running away for over two and a half years, I couldn’t cope. I was running away and so with my backpack, a few packed clothes, a tent, sleeping bag, couple of guidebooks, I was off.
I had no idea what I was doing, where I was going, all I cared about was running the hell away. I needed time, time to think, time to write, time to heal.
I wandered through Austria and Germany to Eastern Europe; Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, and the Balkans; Croatia and Bosnia, then Italy and Ireland.
All the time on my own. Most often camping. Watching the sun set each night from my tent. Or sleeping on ferry decks. Occasionally I’d treat myself to a bed in a hostel, or a warm welcoming room in a private home.
Most often all I did was sit and write. Not of my past, not of my future, but the present. My travels. Never did I think of me. I was running away from me. Running from my past, running from my future.
The trail of breadcrumbs led me off the main tourist track to poorer places. The people I met had been deeply affected by wars; the Second World War, the Cold War, the Balkan War. Perhaps the journey was about human suffering, those far worse off than me. It was an opportunity to put everything in perspective.
After several months traveling, I made my way to Ireland as I had a two year working visa. First day job hunting, I walked into a design recruitment agency unannounced, and I was immediately offered a job based on both my references and portfolio, and my bold move to walk in unannounced, if I would commit for two years. Out of the blue, I felt it was time to stop running away, and it was time to go home.
Before that though, the trail of breadcrumbs led me on a detour. One last place I felt I needed to be, which was crazy really, as I had been so close to this destination just a few months earlier, while island hopping along the Croatian coast.
I felt I must go to Sarajevo and Medjugorje, both in Bosnia.
And there, I found my why.