Every time my husband, Adi, and I come back home with our strolleys, open the door and lay our eyes on the pub signs hanging off the walls of our short entrance corridor, the heart sighs. Almost audibly. That wonderful feeling of letting go, ah. I throw myself on the sheepskin fur sitting on our couch and flop back with happiness. I look around and let the eyes wander for ‘the eye has to travel’ as fashion editor Diana Vreeland puts it.
There is much for the eye to take in, in our apartment. For our home decor is at the other spectrum of minimalism. Would I care for a fridge bare of all the magnets that stick on them right now along with a few quotes and to-do lists? Nah. I like the chaos on our walls and fridge. Warmth pervades the walls of our home through the very many metal tin signs we have accumulated on our various travels.
There is a woman from the rental agency who comes once in a few months to do a check on the apartment on behalf of the landlord, and every time she enters, she says with a note of awe, “I love the way you have done the space up”. But I can see that she struggles to take it all in at one go. This time she took a peek at our wall that is dedicated to travel. The wall in our bedroom has tin signs from places that we have been to. Yes, we put up magnets and tin signs from places that we have actually been to.
That small yellow tram takes me back to Lisbon as does the yellow bird atop a branch that I bagged in a small boutique there for a deal. I remember the hot day on which I walked through alleys in Lisbon before I laid my hands on these cutesy memoirs. The miniature house fronts from Copenhagen, Prague and Bruges take me back to moments of dithering in shops till Adi would roll his eyes and say ‘decide already’, the bunch of red chillies in ceramic sits smiling at me from the kitchen walls and reminds me of our summer jaunt in the Amalfi Coast.
Then there is the louche frame of a man in a hat lighting his smoke off the glowing tip of his woman’s cigarette – which we picked up in a flea market in Brussels on a very grey, cold weekend. The old wall art of silhouettes, a woman in a 16th-century gown sitting in her swing and a rakish figure of a man paying his address to her, travelled back home with us from a small town in Seattle.
Who cares about minimalism? Not me. Do you?
There are so many more. The apartment is heaving with these memories that we have made, and along with it, the reminder each time that there is nothing as soul-stirring as travel. D.H.Lawrence put it so, ‘When we get out of the glass bottle of our ego and when we escape like the squirrels in the cage of our personality and get into the forest again, we shall shiver with cold and fright. But things will happen to us so that we don’t know ourselves. Cool, unlying life will rush in.’