Sporadic travel themed rambles form the basis of Wander with Coffee, started in 2011 as a way to count down the remaining days of backpacking life in the glorious continent that is South America.
Subsequent posts have taken the form of post trip reflection or in the moment diary entries.
Following a mentally (and physically) significant trip hiking in the Himalayas and a number of successive solo trips, Wander with Coffee became a place to record solo travel achievements and the challenges that come when travelling alone as a woman (a privileged white woman that is).
More recently grief and loss have featured in amongst travel anecdotes about white sandy beaches and volcanoes, and more specifically in a new series (series – ha if only all those drafts were complete) that found its way to this keyboard in amongst much pain and confusion following the cancer diagnosis and sudden death of my dad, as well as through the experience of living abroad while illness consumed my original home in the UK.
‘Crying in my Coffee’ – a side espresso to your regular black coffee perhaps? (Too much?! I’m laughing.) Grief like an espresso (OK, I’m just going with it), strong, instant jolts that suddenly hit your attention then retreat but remain somewhere just under the surface.
Anyway, once you’re in grief, that’s it, it’s part of your life, you’re riding it’s waves, people can be loud or quiet about it – for me I’m leaning towards the loud end; sharing by writing (and not just here but lengthy Instagram captions wahey) has been a welcome release, a way to organise muddled thoughts, it brings some clarity too.
Recently, I read Elizabeth Day’s eloquent explanation of why she writes about difficult things, it’s the most beautiful explanation and it really resonated (she wrote this after her third miscarriage when she was looking for a poem that reflected what she was going through yet none seemed to exist):
When difficult things happen to me, I have a profound desire to write about them. I know this makes me a little odd (!) and I’ve thought a lot about why I have this need. I think it’s because when terrible things occur for no reason, I cannot live with the idea that they continue to have no meaning. So I seek to grow my own meaning from their bitter roots. And meaning for me has always been about forging connection with others, about sharing an experience that otherwise gets cast into shadow by shame. It’s about attacking the concept that there is nobility in invisibility. The act of writing, of telling my truth, is also a way of ensuring my story exists in the way that I experienced it. It’s a reclamation of sorts.’– Elizabeth Day, Instagram 07/05/20
‘Crying with coffee’ is a section of the blog which is a mini shelter to record difficult moments, to share what’s helped or hindered, a place to store hardships but also progress, it’s for all the reasons Elizabeth so effectively wrote in her Instagram caption.
It’s a work/life in progress.
(Maybe an obvious caveat but worth noting – grief is individual and different for all, no one experience is the same. Therefore these words relate to my experience and might be the absolute opposite of yours or your friend’s/mum’s/cat’s experience. I’m never telling anyone what to do, or how to feel ever, but at the same time reading about the experiences of others has often been a comfort and a help, so if this can be that for even just one person, I’m going with it!)