He had an owl on his hand. I remember kissing it the first night I met him in the flesh, our first bonds formed through the flames of Tinder. The first words he wrote to me lamented that I was moving overseas; he casually used my nickname in the sentence. He intrigued me and so did the owl.

I nearly went back for him, but he told me I couldn’t because I needed to stay for me. He didn’t want me to sacrifice myself for him – unlike the way I had acted in all other relationships whether my partners had asked me to or not – and I will always love him for that. Even now, months after being across several seas and oceans, thinking of him hurts. The oceans that part us make their way to my eyes when I think of how he was wise like the owl on his hand. I knew that I would want to go back; he knew that I shouldn’t.

I don’t really believe in soulmates. But, in the handful of moments I spent with him, I did. We sipped our chai teas on his balcony in the morning sun. He woke up in the middle of the night when he realised I was restless and got out of bed to find me a notebook in which to write because I was inspired. I didn’t feel the need to hide anything from him. He cared for his friends, his family so deeply. How could I hide from someone so compassionate, so full of feeling?

Thinking of him hurts. I mourn for our potential and while I know there are no guarantees that it would have been reached it was so ripe. So tender.

I’m pausing now to collect myself. My chest feels tight and my eyes are wet. How can someone I knew for so little time impact on me like this?

One of the few nights we spent together, I woke up and looked at him. The moonlight glinted through his curtains and lit up his resting face. It was peaceful and I made myself enjoy the bittersweet moment knowing that I might not get to enjoy it again – that I probably wouldn’t.

The night he awoke to find me a notebook, I wrote something I didn’t want to forget. I brought it overseas with me and, just now, panicked because I couldn’t find it straight away. Now I look at the ripped out page with messy writing and midnight thoughts and my heart aches.

I miss him. I can’t work out if it is worse knowing that I have done the right thing for myself and that this pain is part of that. But I can only live on one side of the world and we both know that I’m on the right one. Owls are wiser than I.


purple-tinged night sky and under the glow of a yellow moon. I wonder why the timing is so off. He cupped my face in his hands and kissed me gently, wiping my tears with the tips of his thumbs. // I saw the church reaching into the night sky + the belltower alongside the university. 3 different symbols of this decade in Newcastle. // His hands brushed up and down my legs. I brushed my fingertips along his chest. // I didn’t want it to end.


Feature image by Vincent van Zalinge on Unsplash

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  • I used to think that the seagulls in Australia (like old mate here) were bold. Bloody hell, past Rowie would be floored if she saw the ones that get around in the UK. They're monsters. They're terrifying. They are freaking huge and scary. Australian seagulls are cute as hell in comparison. Just look at this little fella.⠀
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#theunpreparedtraveller #rowtrip #expat #expatlife #travelblog #travelblogger #aussieblog #aussieblogger #presetsbykelsey #instapassport #aroundtheworldpix #mytinyatlas #newcastlensw #newcastleaustralia #mynewcastle #barbeach #seagull#beachlife #ig_australia #artofvisuals #alifesheloves #dametraveller #femaletraveller #thehappynow #instagood
  • Anyone know what this place is? Hint: it's the home of the wife of possibly the most famous Englishman in the world... You probably had to study him and/or his work in high school. Still no? Mate. This is the home of Anne Hathaway, wife of William Shakespeare. Well worth the detour just to see what it looked like. Didn't pay to go in because I'm cheap af. In all honesty it's a pretty huge house considering the sizes of homes back then and it's got a pretty sick garden. Can't believe it's still bloody standing. Classic England.⠀
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  • A Belgian, a Frenchwoman and an Australian climbed a hill in Canterbury during February to watch the sun set. We were surrounded by roads, a park and a bunch of teenagers who were making out. Classic.⠀
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  • I know that these pictures of galleries don't get that many likes but I really do not give a shit. These are happy places for me and I'll be DAMNED if I don't fill my feed with shit that makes me happy. Like these Lowry paintings. Because ART.⠀
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  • Gimme dat sandstone. Gimme those arches. Gimme great staircases. Argh, the buildings over here are MAGNIFICENT and I will never apologise for sneaking into universities to see what they're like inside because I am a REBEL WITH A CAUSE⠀
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  • There are some beautiful fountains in the UK... and then there are some that look like a child's head has been chiselled open and had a tube stuck in it while their mouth is a yawning cavern of terror. Like this one.
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  • Lowry 🧡
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  • Wandering through the UK towards the end of winter and at the start of spring you see a lot of daffodils. I hate daffodils. So when I found some GIANT SUNFLOWERS (no matter how painted on a wall they are), I had to get a photo with them to shoe my solidarity with oft ignored other yellow flowers of this world 🌻
📷 @levy1989
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  • Sometimes joy comes from watching other people travel! I got to drop off my big brother and his girlfriend at the airport earlier this year - he was taking her on a surprise holiday for her 30th birthday! Pure joy in those smiles ❤️⠀
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Mate, who am i?

(I ask myself the same thing)

Travelling can be really hard when you never feel like you're prepared. But, the more I do it the more I realise that being unprepared is the best way to travel. I’m Rowena. I live with depression and an anxiety disorder, which inspires a lot of my writing. My first reaction is to over-pack, over-worry, freak out, and give myself a headache. I’m consciously rebelling against that.

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