Imagine it’s dark outside and everyone is completely silent. You are warm and cosy, sitting by the window in your living room, on a really comfy sofa, covered by a soft, warm woolly blanket. Everyone else is asleep and all you can hear is a fire roaring in the wood burning stove near you.
The kitchen and the living room are open plan, there is no electricity, no lights on. The only light that there is, is coming from the fire.
Trust me, it was magical. I spent most of my winter evenings like this and my summer evenings on our balcony, mapping the sky.
I think I was always a dreamer. I absolutely loved my surroundings and my people, but I wanted bigger things. I wanted out, I have always wanted to travel.
At this time, this was perhaps 1994, we could not travel anywhere abroad. We couldn’t get visas to go anywhere. Even if we wanted to travel just across the border to Serbia, we had to get special permits. Many times, like many people around me, I felt trapped. I so desperately wanted to see this wonderful world ours. When you are stuck in a country torn up by war, it is so difficult to imagine that there are some countries whose people live in peace and feel free. But one place where I could escape every evening and dare think about this free world, was on my two-seater sofa by the window.
On a clear winter’s night, you could see perfectly outside. You could see the white ground, covered by the snow. You could see the blackness of the river & the shadows of the trees. Sometimes, under the moonlight, the snow would shimmer.
There was no light pollution. There wasn’t a single light on, for miles and miles which made the night sky even more majestic.
Imagine mountains covered by snow. Imagine all the shapes and shades on them, without any artificial light disturbing the beauty of it all. Then imagine the sky.
The sky was endless with endless opportunities. The Milky Way was so, so stunning and so crystal clear. It always looked so close to me; at times I felt I could reach up and touch it. I wish you could see it. I wish you could experience this liberating feeling.
This is where and when I used to travel. Far, far away.
I travelled to countries where there was no war. I travelled to countries where we could walk for miles freely without a single worry. I travelled to countries where women were not oppressed or judged. I travelled to countries where there was plenty of food for all of us, for all of my family, without having to spread a single cooked meal between five of us over two days. I also travelled to countries where I could do sports and own & wear fancy trainers and fancy tracksuits. Ha! These were the nineties, after all! 😉
At times when I thought I would genuinely go crazy, imagination was vital to my sanity; I simply couldn’t wait for my evenings by the window.
Our Milky Way was just stunning.
It allowed me to dream and see past our impenetrable borders. In the midst of war, during these quiet moments, I used to close my eyes and imagine looking at our planet from our universe and I used to see it borderless. Our Milky Way allowed me to dream the impossible. Also, it gave me a sense of certainty and security. What ever happened, I knew that it was there, even on a cloudy night, I knew it was there. Universe around us was the only thing that was certain.
Because of our Milky Way, winters in Bosnia, in my little village, are my favourite winters. I wish you could see what snowy winter looks like without ANY light pollution on a moonlit night.
It gives you endless opportunities. It gave me endless dreams.
I was also always fascinated by space science and I often imagined astronauts floating freely in space. I mean, you just couldn’t do anything cooler than that!
Unbeknown to me, there was a boy living in the UK, who had the same fascination with MY Milky Way, listening to David Bowie. It made him want to become an astronaut or an astrophysicist; listening to David Bowie’s music made him believe that he was one.
“Ground Control to Major Tom”
To him, this was never going to be possible because of his intricate & unfortunate family situation, but he was a dreamer too. He never stopped dreaming. He was from a different world to me, but he has always been part of my Milky Way. Twenty-something years later, he is now my husband. He is an astrophysicist who has just started his masters degree in Space Science & Technology.
My Milky Way brought me to a free country where there is no war or suppression. Well, we could talk about some glass ceilings some other time!
But never the less, this is where I have always wanted to be. Free and comfortable to speak without any fear of repercussions.
Find your escape. Dream big. Escape. Opportunities are endless.