Spending time a place you once called home feels so different than going places to explore or where you could imagine yourself living. There is a sense of ownership, comfort, and years of experience, but also a disconnect because it is no longer yours. There is no home to go to, just new streets and places to visit. I love to travel with my mother and daughter, but it was nice to have a couple hours each day to escape on my own. Getting on the train and heading to the neighborhoods I used to love, walking the streets, trusting my intuition rather than a map, were all special moments where I got to revisit the me I was a decade ago when I took the freedom to explore the city for granted.
I try to visit at least once a year since moving, but for some reason this trip felt much more reflective. There was a very palpable awareness of how much things have changed for both me and the city. The last time I visited the Golden Gate Bridge was nine years ago when I got engaged halfway across in what was probably the most romantic gesture of my life, just with the wrong person. Last year when I visited, I thought of all the things I loved that I wanted to share with someone who might be the right person. I saw the city through sharing it with them.
This time, I just felt the desire to explore all the ways both me and the city are different. Traveling with family and having a sick kid didn’t allow me to do as much of that as I wanted. I definitely feel like there is something unfinished between me and San Francisco. Like we are caught in a lingering goodbye or the start of a beautiful long distance friendship. I need to walk along the ocean barefoot, take a ferry under the Golden Gate, read a book in a park, and see a concert after a day of riding trains and digging through record shops. I need to feel out who I am in San Francisco without someone else. I need to be present with the city the way I am with new places.
There is still some reflection to do. The year is coming to an end and this trip completes my goal of visiting ten places in 2019. I still have a couple more trips planned to end out the year, but revisiting San Francisco may be something I need to consider adding. It really is starting to feel like there is a shift in me and it is not something to run from, but to embrace. Something that may be best accomplished with closure, as well as the possibility of new beginnings.
Just your ordinary introvert exploring and writing about some of the things I love: travel, music, and being human.