I fought it, I really did. The yearning, the calling.
It had been building for a while. At first it was a mere fleeting thought. Then it became a nagging one. Over time I started to think that maybe I was just longing for a time that had been and gone, a time that could never be reclaimed. Then, when it persisted, I realised it was something that I had to pay attention to. This was no impulse. This was no longing for the past. This was a need.
A need for a new beginning.
So I gave myself time. I let myself think and hear that voice within.
This place kept clawing its way back into my head. No matter what other plans I made or where else I sought answers, my mind kept wandering back here – to the city of sand and skyscrapers. The city where I arrived a bright-eyed and slightly naive young woman almost ten years ago. The city that frustrated and excited me in equal measure. The city in which I have so many magical memories. The city that I called home for eight years.
What is this calling? I don’t know. I only know how to follow my heart and so I followed it back here. Everything has changed, and yet I am more ‘me’ than I’ve ever been.
No, nothing is the way it was. But I’m at the best I’ve ever been – at peace, happy and content.
There’s something empowering about returning back to a place that you’re so familiar with and feeling within every cell of your being that you’ve grown, shifted and evolved. I feel it as retrace my footsteps around town and see all the familiar places where so much has played out over the years.
The city was witness to it all. The city never forgets. Time may add new layers to it – new concrete, new footsteps, new long and winding roads – but the past can never be erased from it, no matter how many buildings you demolish, no matter how many shiny, new skyscrapers you put in its place. The past is stronger than any steel. It lingers and it walks the streets as a spirit. You can never catch or break a spirit.
I realise that now.
As the plane came into land and I caught a glimpse of the Burj Khalifa in the distance, flashing away, I knew instantly that I was right – this is exactly where I need to be. This is how I felt this time last year when I landed in Skyros and my soul was basking in the warmth of the beautiful island and souls that surrounded me. And it turned out I was right – those were the two most magical weeks of my life.
So I know in my heart I’m right: this is where I need to be right now.
There’s a certain peace that comes from letting go of all expectations and truly living each day as it comes. From letting your intuition guide you. We all know what’s best for us, deep down in our inner core. If you silence the mind long enough, the answers come to you.
When I ignore my intuition – that’s when I trip up. When I pay too much attention to my fears – that’s when I trip up. When I don’t listen to that voice that tells me not to trust a certain person – that’s when I trip up. When I allow self-doubt to get the better of me – that’s when I trip up.
But my intuition? It never, ever fails me.
In my heart I always know the truth.
And so I’m letting go and trusting that this is what I need. Dubai has been so kind to me over the years, so I was wrong to assume that I would be haunted by the city. If anything, the city has been every inch the affirmation that I’ve needed.
Right now, I’m back where I belong.