Bliss is Flying From Home to Feel Home

In London, The Art of Travel Spring 2015, Bliss by Michael Frazier2 Comments

My moment of bliss is when my body forgets its nature.
That it’s oppressed.
Held back.
My body is free when my skin stops trying to be so whole
And my bones stop being chains
And my legs act like wings
And I fly.

My moment of bliss, and incidentally my second New York Moment, happened when I went on an impromptu run to Regents Park a couple of weeks ago. I was tired of dreaming about exercising and decided I actually was going to do it. Back in New York, running was a way for me to distress, get some cardio in, and be free. Free like I don’t remember what I got on my last paper. Free like I’m going so fast people seem to be standing still. Free like my skin was purging itself of sweat and dirt, and stress and the things it holds when it thinks no one is looking. Running has always been a good time for me. It doesn’t happen often though. I have to fit running into my schedule and no matter how many ample free blocks of time I have, there’s always something else I could be doing—it usually ends up being social media. That said, when I do run, it’s a novel experience. And because I try to run to places I’ve never been, I see uncharted territory in unrestricted ways.

It was a chilly Wednesday morning that felt like a Friday. I have no classes on Wednesday so it is usually my day to either catch up on HW or to explore. I got dressed in my sports gear, stretched, and bounced out the door listening to Big Sean and Drake’s new album-back to back on repeat. I ran behind Byron Court onto Gray’s Inn Road and began running towards King’s Cross. After confronting the confusing main road I found the street named York Way and ran up it. After a few strides I found what I was looking for. Regents Canal. This canal was a god-send, because without data services I have no way of knowing where to go—and carrying a map on a run is annoying. So the canal was my guide to Regents Park. I just had to go down some stairs and run along the narrow path till I reached the park. By this point in the run I was already out-of-breath haha. I trotted slowly passing glass houses, boats, and swans. As soon as I picked up energy I resumed running, but then I was hit by waves of Teriyaki chicken, French fries, and fried baked goods. I was passing Camden Market. This was a surprise actually, because I didn’t realize that Camden market was so close to Bloomsbury. I usually take public transportation to so I’m still unfamiliar with places in relation to each other. After walking through the market and going to a book store to find Harry Potter (recently started the series) I realized I didn’t bring my wallet and left the market haha. The run continued. I passed a Chinese pagoda looking restaurant, more feral creates, cafes, graffiti, and elder couples strolling. I ran under bridges and over cobblestone patches. I kept running till my eye caught wild birds behind a cage. After seeing a peacock, I realized I was passing the Regent Park zoo and it was time to get back on the main road to enter the park.

The park passed me in colorful detail. Fountains, endless rows of neat green lawn, tulips, blossoms, weeping willows, and fresh petals surrounded me. There were statues and tennis courts and even palm trees. I saw students reading in the grass, families capturing photos near the picturesque lake, and like-minded runners absorbing the beauty.

All of this was blissful—yes—but it was not my defining blissful moment. It was when I was running home, and I realized I was in a new area surround by pristine Georgian buildings and the monotonous hum of street traffic. It was as I was running back along Marylebone road to Byron Court, and I realized I knew where I was going and could point out some land marks. It was as I was dodging people on the street and they didn’t bat an eye as I flew across the sidewalk. My blissful moment, and like my NY moments, happened because I realized I carved a natural space for myself in the city. There’s bliss in that. There’s bliss in leaving your comfort-zone to find a new zone of comfort.

Comments

  1. Hey Michael,
    I really relate to this post. While I have not done much running while studying abroad, it was on my runs around Manhattan during my freshman year that I too began to feel truly at home in my new city. I started out by running each direction on 10th street (I lived in Brittany Hall) to the East River and the Hudson. Every day as I built up my stamina I would explore more and more of the city. Eventually I would even run up to Central Park and around the reservoir. On my runs I would veer down streets I hadn’t had reason to go down before, and discover cafés, bookshops, and beautiful neighborhoods to return to later. I too, oriented myself to the layout of New York through my daily runs—it was a much quicker way to map out NYC than by walking around or taking the subway. Anyway, I enjoyed reading your post!
    Happy running!
    Rosie

    1. Author

      Thanks Rose! And same same–running around NYC is actually awesome. I did a majority of my running last fall. I lived at second street and ran around the east village and lower Manhattan (hidden gems).

      10th street is beautiful. I believe the creative writing house is off of 10th street–it’s very quaint.

      Do you do a lot of running around Paris? I bet you pass some beautiful scenery.

      Cheers,

Leave a Comment