My soul is itching to get on the road again. Living in a foreign country doesn’t seem to count as that, because life still catches up to you in a day to day way. I book my first solo trip since arriving here, to St. Agnes, Cornwall. The drive down is long and exhausting, but I enjoy singing my heart out and listening to podcasts in my car. My trusty Paco fits my small suitcase, camera bag and carries us safely through the landscape.
My Airbnb is small and bright, meticulously decorated with adorable ocean-themed decorations. Emma, my host, greets me and shows me around, explaining the neighbourhood and countryside to me.
I decide to walk into the towncenter. It is a small village of about 3000 inhabitants if you count the outskirts, too. The walk takes me about 20 minutes and leads me through winding streets along tiny cottages. I notice that about every house I pass is named: “Ocean Hideaway”, “Thunder cottage”. I like this. It gives it a very homey feeling.
Arriving in the town center, I look around and decide to follow the sign that points to the beach. The footpath I’ve taken leads me up the cliffs and I feel warm in the slight breeze. Down to my left the beach opens up to the ocean and I spend some time tracking the tiny surfers in the waves with my eyes. From my point of view, I can see quite a few mining chimneys, of which I don’t know yet that they are – later I will read about the history of St. Agnes and find out its prevalence for the mining industry in the past. Today, none of the mines are in use anymore.
I continue walking up the cliffs until I find a spot I like. I set up my camera. I haven’t taken self portraits out in the open in a while and it feels so freeing to sit on top of a cliff, wind blowing in my hair with the sound of the ocean in the back.
The insecurity in my heart gets to me, as visitors pass me and I stop, blushing, and look down on my camera, pretending to be busy, instead of continuing to shoot.
On my way back I get lost in tiny public footpaths overhung by vines. I stop by a small café short before closing time, but Sophie, the owner lets me stay and enjoy my smoothie while she tidies up. A lot of her food comes from the small organic food store around the corner.
The afternoon has progressed now and it is starting to rain a little. I leave Sophie’s coffee shop behind and find shelter from the rain and food for the night in a little convenience store and buy some food for the next days before I make my way home. The night is spent eating pizza, editing pictures, napping on the couch and planning a route for the roadtrip the next day.
I wake up early the next day. Breakfast is coffee with fried eggs on toast. I marvel over the nice, modern kitchen and dream of my own place one day. My bag is already packed, so I leave soon. The route takes me through Porthreath, Gwithian, down to St. Ives. I like the look of St. Ives, but driving there is a nightmare and I get stressed trying and failing to find a parking spot in those tiny cobblestone streets, so I leave.
As I get closer to the southern coast, it starts raining and fogs up – to the point where I can barely see what’s coming. The atmosphere changes from creepy and lonely to homely and cosy when I turn on my favorite podcast and the heating in the car. Sometimes, I stop by sky high cliffs or mining ruins to take pictures.
I crave a waffle, so I use my spotty data to find a nice beach side café that will sell me one. I take the foggy roads through St. Just and make it to Mousehole – just the name of it is already adorable enough to grant a visit.
I find my waffle and I enjoy it. The sky is grey but the fog has cleared up.
The drive leads me further down the coast and I end up by a coastal path that leads me to a boating cove. I take self portraits as the sun breaks through the clouds.
Before I go home the next day, I stop at Hell’s mouth to take some more self portraits. The sea is stormy and it is windy, but that does not keep me from balancing both myself and my camera on the ledge. I love being hit by the wind with such brute force on cliff tops and have loved it as long as I can remember, even as a kid. It somehow gives me the feeling of being alive in a very primal sense.
I can sense I am being watched by someone. As I turn back around to collect my camera and make my way back down, a man and his daughter approach me. “I was worried about you”, he says, laughing, but his eyes are sad. “See that cliff?”, he says to his daughter, pointing to where I was standing just minutes before. “She was up there! I thought she was going to fall, or jump.”
I tell him not to worry. I say, I just like feeling the wind.