The smell of sweet peas,
I could sense it building towards the last week of holidays. It could have been the surroundings. How can you not want to be outside taking in all the beauty of Vancouver Island?
The grounds at the Bed & Breakfast where we stay in Qualicum Beach.
The natural, majestic land at Long Beach. Quiet beauty of trees, ocean and mountain surrounded by mist.
I couldn’t get enough of it. I wanted to be outside. Walking. Breathing.
Now that I’m back in Qatar I wonder what it is exactly that I crave, here, on the other side of the world.
I’m not sure people back home get it when I talk about how you can’t walk here. Well, you can in a couple of places. I can drive 30 minutes to an hour to the Corniche (waterfront) where there are sidewalks, sea and actual trees, grass and flowers planted alongside the road. I can drive 10 minutes to Aspire Park and walk along the paved pathways there. Though security staff there will swiftly tell you not to wander, let alone play, on the grass. The added bonus at Aspire is the piped in sounds of birds chirping. I can walk round and round and round the inside of our compound, though this makes me dizzy after a while. (Just kidding.) I used to run this path but even then the monotony of it was overwhelming.
What is it exactly that I long for?
Is it the sights or smells I experience along the journey or is it the ability to just leave my home and go for a walk, that I miss?
Is it the difference in air you get when there are trees, water, life growing around you that isn’t to be found here in the city of desert, construction and dust.
Or is it freedom?
Freedom to have a place to walk.
Freedom to wear what I like when I walk.
Freedom to walk without being constantly stared at by men in a country where the ratio of men to women is about 3 to 1. Three times higher than most any other place in the world (UAE is closest, at about 2 to 1).
Or is it just that underlying sense of living in a land where freedoms are not quite as available as those I’m used to?
I’m still not sure.
But this is home. It is where I live. It is my life.
And rather than waiting until the next vacation rolls along to enjoy it all again, I need to figure it out and find it here.