Hand luggage only

...

A friend told me recently that she has only ever travelled with hand luggage and I was (and still am, friend!) astonished. Whether I'm going away for three days or three weeks, I still pack as though I'm a member of the royal family on a state visit; outfits for every eventuality - with, since I'm an AP Girl, lingerie to match.

Even though checking in luggage has gotten easier, on the rare occasions I've had to take hand luggage only, my airport experience has been a breeze. You can rock up at the airport without worrying about queues and when the plane touches down at your destination you can get straight on with your holiday without having to wait for what could be up to an hour to reclaim your suitcase. (That is, if it hasn't been lost en route.)

Ultimately, outfit changes notwithstanding, it really is easier to travel light.

I've spent the last few years getting to know myself; getting to know what makes me smile and what turns my day upside down. I've gone on holiday alone and spent many weekends alone. I've made many meals for one and I've spent many, many nights alone in bed.

None of this has necessarily been by choice. I never wanted to be alone or single but I've really felt God calling me to be still and not be distracted in the way only a relationship can be. I have had to come face to face with the real me and what that looks like. And as a people pleaser, possibly the best thing for me is that I've had to make my own decisions about things without being swayed by the overriding desire to please someone else.

Both my ex husband and the partner I had following my divorce, are now in long term relationships and sometimes that feels unfair lol. I used to wonder why I hadn't met anyone else in that time, with that misjudged sense that moving on to someone else (someone better, obvs) would prove that I was winning at life.

But recently someone told me I seem really "free" and it's weird because while I'm not entirely loving this single life, one thing I certainly am, is free. I'm free of the burden of not knowing who I am because I've been forced to spend time figuring that out. I'm free of the entanglement of the "are we, are we not" debilitating dance often felt in casual relationships. I'm free of the emotional pull of someone else's expectations of me; of someone that I love and want to please.

When we talk about emotional baggage from previous relationships we usually quote all of the above symptoms and more. Having fought a battle for my marriage and then lost, and with a ton of rejection along the way, I can put my hand up to have had my fair share of emotional baggage. And if I'm honest, there was definitely too much to have taken into a new relationship. It has taken me spending these last few years truly single; being still and trying to make sense of what I want and what I need, to help me shed some of that heavier stuff; that heavy baggage.

Of course all of us will have some baggage; we're human so it's inevitable. But what I have now is the equivalent of one easy to manoeuvre, 4-wheeled carry-on case which can fit in the overhead compartment on the plane. There's nothing heavy to lug through the airport and there's nothing to cause me grief at the other end.

I'm walking freer than I've ever been. Hand luggage only.

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