Till about two months back, the only solo trips I had taken were flight journeys down familiar routes, where someone I knew always greeted me at the airport. Moving halfway around the world all alone, I knew that things will change. But, how much was yet to be determined.
Lumiere Durham is a light festival that takes place in the picturesque city of Durham in the North-East of England. Ever since I read about the event, I was determined to go and witness it live. The festival lasted for 4 days, from the 16 to the 19 of November, this year.
Last Sunday, I decided to go to Durham, since it was the last day of the festival. But, there was only one small problem. Most people I knew had either been there earlier or was too busy. Newcastle isn’t too far from Durham, a maximum of 15 minutes by train, so, on a whim, I decided to take a solo trip.
I know that it is not a big deal for most people, but for me, it was. It was the first time that I went exploring an entire city all by myself, armed only with the festival website and GoogleMaps.
The art installations were sights to behold. From the cathedral chiming and getting lit like piano keys, the Frequencies lights along the banks of the River Wear to interactive art like the periodic table-like screen which judged the emotions of the tweets with the #LumiereDurhamFeels.
The entire experience was a once in a lifetime one. My photography skills are moderate, but despite it, some of the photos turned out to be brilliant. But, experiencing it was something more.
I had been to Durham about a month back when there was daylight. I had a vague idea of the place, but in the dark, everything was different. I managed to walk more than a kilometre in the opposite direction in order to reach the rail station, got a bit lost, wandered around the artworks and the riverbanks more than twice and finally managed to get into one extremely crowded train back to Newcastle.
When I arrived at Newcastle Central Station, it was nearly 10pm, and on a Sunday, most shops were shut. So, I bought some fast food in a paper bag and stepped out… into the rain. Hadn’t taken an umbrella, because of light travel and all that. In the end, I went up half-running, half-protecting my sandwich, back home, which thankfully was not too far away.
It was indeed an adventure. The solo trip, however tiny and insignificant it could be, gave me that tiny spark of courage, that I can go on trips by myself and enjoy it too. An experience to cherish, the start of something big, possibly.
Until next time,