#TT2016 | Instagrammed

I am usually quite "anti-phones" and "anti-social media" when it comes to holidays but when it comes to the TT and visiting the Isle of Man I break my own rule.
I think due to the fact I am away with my brother it's nice for my mum to be able to see what we are getting up to and also for the boys to be able to look at the photos too.

Instagram, for me, seems to be the best form of online photo diary. In fact I think I take more photos using Instagram than the general camera app on my phone.
Looking back at these photos makes me smile so much. Once again I had an amazing experience on this island. Another one I will never forget.



Tears in her Helmet

She lifted her right leg over the bike, sat down, and holding on to the bar at the back she signalled to her brother that she was ready to go.
Their plan was to explore the island and she couldn't wait.
She sat up straight, confidently, looking around. Taking everything in.
She smiled. She really felt like she was home.

She closed her eyes briefly, and took in a deep breath, as she opened them she realised how different things were this year compared to last year.

Last year when she left and headed over to the island she was married. However, she knew that the break would be a big change and knew that the time away would either change them for the better and bring them together, or would mark the end.

When she was there her head was so distracted so she didn't think about things too much, and the only times she did was when she was opening up and talking to people she had met on the island. Complete strangers but people who opened her eyes to the fact that she wasn't happy and that she deserved to be.

This year was different.
She had looked forward to going to the island and being single. Being able to flirt and not feel guilty, to be able to chat to men and to not feel like she shouldn't be because she was a married woman.
But it all changed because she had fallen for someone at home.

It wasn't easy, and there were hurdles, and they may never be together but either way she had already fallen and despite technically being single, she couldn't get her head in that frame of mind.

She closed her eyes, let her body relax more on the bike as they travelled down the coastal roads. She lifted her visor slightly and took in some fresh air.
Her mind suddenly went from being open and full of the island and the previous year to being all about him.
As much as she tried to stop, she couldn't help but to picture his face, to go over conversations they'd had...and at that point she took one more deep breath of the sea air and closed the visor.

Her eyes tingled, her bottom lip wobbled and tears fell. Heavy, full tears.
She knew she had to pull it together. She knew she couldn't be seen crying, she couldn't talk about it.

She couldn't quite grasp how different things were now. How last year she was in a relationship and felt free on this island yet this year, although she was single, she felt drawn to the guy left at home.
She wondered if this week would help. If being away would help take her mind away from him. If she could distract herself enough from him so she could have a clear mind.
There were enough men on the island after all to flirt with, to look at, and to distract her. So that was her plan.

The tears fell faster. Still heavy. She was surprised at just how heavy they were.
Their last conversation going over in her mind.
She felt a little numb, she felt confused, but she also had this feeling of commitment to him...even though it wasn't as simple as that.

As they pulled up she stepped off the bike and walked down to the cliff edge by herself. She took her helmet off and sat on the grass. Taking in the views. Taking in the air. Collecting her thoughts. Thinking about those tears that overwhelmed her.
She knew they weren't the last tears she would feel drop, heavy in her helmet, she just had to understand and work out if those tears were worth it. If those tears were justified.

She knew for sure that she was in the best place for them to come. She knew that even if she felt sad there would be something to distract her, to pick her up, to make her smile and bring some happiness back.

As she rode on the back of the bike, feeling free, her mind went back to him, and despite knowing that it he wouldn't be leaving her head or her heart anytime soon...she didn't mind.
She knew he was in there for a reason.
Just as those tears in her helmet were too.



The Island That Changed Me

I'm sat at Manchester airport...which FYI I have already decided I hate despite this being my first visit and having only been here 10 minutes.
The first flight of my journey is done, and I'm in the departure area waiting to board the next Flybe flight to the Isle of Man.

I can't believe this day is here already.
For a year I have looked forward to returning to this island. 
To the island that I fell in love with and the island that set me on the path I am now on.

Last year I wasn't too bothered about seeing the bikes. I just wanted to spend a few days with my brother. And then the first bike went past and that was it.
It hit me and soaked through my skin into my blood and now, I am returning, not just for my brother but for the bikes.

But still, it's more than that. It's more than the sport, more than the atmosphere, more than the experience.

This island changed me. 
This island made me into the person I am becoming. 
I don't want to say the person that I am because I still feel there is a lot of change to come but this island was the making of me.

And returning, I feel like I was to lay on the ground as soon as I land, spreading my arms out wide and thank it for what it did to me. 
What it has done to me. 
What it continues to do.

People struggle to understand my obsession.
The fact that I had the logo from the island flag tattooed on my thigh surrounded by 15 stars.
The logo to symbolise my change, my growth, and because the motto "whichever way you throw me I shall stand" seems super relevant.
The 15 stars to symbolise 2015. My year of change.

In an hour and a half I will be there.
I will be in my brothers arms, trying not to cry. 

And will be listening to that comforting sound of bikes all around the island.
Part of me is excited, part of me is scared, part of me is questioning who I will now become.
This intense feeling from "just an island".

The island that changed me.
And continues to change me.

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