So here I am again
On the precipice, starting another long trip
A one way ticket in my hand (metaphorically)
And nowhere to call home.
It’s a funny feeling.
The one I always get before any indefinite trip away; a strange mix of apprehension and being lost.
Bewildering I know.
People always ask me,
“Well, are you excited about your big trip?”
And I am … months and weeks in advance.
But as soon as the days draw in and the sense of a countdown begins, I lose all excitement.
Suddenly, it becomes too much, too much to think about, too much to handle.
This wide-open horizon of possibilities, open-ended before me.
A sort of agoraphobia, a fear of wide, open spaces in my mind.
I feel like I go into emotional shutdown mode before any long trip.
I can only concentrate on the practical, the packing, the preparing.
There’s too much to do if anything, too many loose ends to tie up.
Thinking beyond that, looking out towards that limitless horizon becomes too daunting.
Which is strange.
Strange because this is normally the driver behind my desire travel.
It’s the longing for the open grassy plain of possibility, the dark jungle of unknown, the refreshing ocean of difference and the high mountain point of fresh perspective that spurs me on.
This is what sets my heart alight
This is what makes me feel alive
This is what makes me travel
Yet always, before the start of any long trip, that near constant yearning temporarily subsides; it slips away, it no longer excites me.
In fact, for once, it kind of scares me
(Maybe this is how most people feel most of the time?)
So all I can concentrate on before any long trip is the stuff I have to do before I get up in that plane, or off on that boat.
As I said, the practical, the packing, the preparing.
Right now, as I write this, I’m sitting on the floor, surrounded by blankets and baskets and boxes. There are cushions piled high against the wall, while their covers and cases flap dry in the breeze on the balcony. There are windows without curtains and cupboards without contents.
We’re packing up our flat you see.
We’re heading off didn’t you know.
Yes on that indefinite road trip around Australia!
Exciting isn’t it?!
Normally I’m by myself in this process – being a bit emotionally deficient alone in my own head, cocooned safely there with my lists!
Choosing what will go in my bag alone. Wondering If I’ve forgotten anything alone.
But now, I’m doing this with someone else too.
For the first time, I’m stepping out with a one way ticket, with somebody by my side.
I still can’t decide if this feels strange because it’s different or strange because it feels normal, when it isn’t!
And I’ve wondered if having someone by my side through all of this pre-long trip stuff has made the process easier?
In many ways, I feel I’m not able to give a lot to another person right now, to share in any excitement with them.
But in another way, it does feel kind of easier when you have someone there.
After all, it’s always useful to have help when the oven needs cleaning!
Because I’m in practical mode of course – list ticking, shit kicking and bin picking.
(By that I mean I’m endlessly ticking things off lists, kicking stuff littered on the floor out of my way and picking out what I’m going to throw in the bin).
There is no time for excitement here.
I just want to get everything done and get in that car
Then I’ll start to feel relaxed
Then I’ll feel like I can breath
Then I’ll let my shoulders drop and my hair fly wild in the breeze
Then I feel like I can look up
Then I’ll start relishing every imagined thought and feeling this incredible journey before us may have in store.
Then I’ll start enjoying thoughts about every unknown road we shall take and every unforeseen crossroads we’re going to reach.
Then I’ll hold your hand and smile a real smile again
As we rev up the engine and turn on the tunes.
As we put our foot on the gas and hit the road.
Then I’ll feel excited again!