And so it begins. It has been ages since writing my last blog, From Melbourne with Love.
Sometimes I still look back on it and read through. I know that when I was overseas, not everything was peachy keen – money issues, and then there was that whole ‘adventure’ living on the farm…I got lonely sometimes, etc. Still, looking back, I tend to see it as just that – one whole, 11-month-long adventure. I am proud to know that I did it, that I had experiences not many people will have. Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef. Riding a camel in the outback. Seeing koalas close up. Road tripping Tasmania. Seeing southern right whales. It’s something I still talk about whenever I can, probably to the point of being repetitive, but this is what happens when you travel and come home. You feel alive with these stories, and, since they are over, discussing them and rolling through them in your mind allows you to maintain a sort of constant connection with these memories that you never want to lose.
“When you come from traveling for an entire year, it’s hard to put it all into perspective, it’s hard to describe to people what you saw, how you felt, what you experienced- it’s something you’ll probably never be able to properly explain. There’s a feeling being on the road in a foreign place that charges you with so much life and energy – it’s such a rich experience to have. I completely forgot just how good it is to be on the road and see history and culture and experience it all at once.” – Scott Wilson, Departures
This is where I am now. Nearly a year since my return, I absolutely cannot believe where the time has gone. Though there have certainly been some achievements, like my year-long teaching job, I feel as though the past year has gone by in a whiz of repetitive action and circumstance. This winter has felt more brutal than ever before, or maybe that’s just myself and my poor readjustment to what Canadian winter really means. I felt like I lost touch with a lot of friends while I was away, but this is also a symptom of being a 20-something after school. People move away for job opportunities, post-grad studies, etc. Some get engaged, get married, or move in with significant others. Opportunities draw people away. I am not in the mind of being negative – rather, there have been some pretty nice things this year. I have simply come to understand that people are busy leading their own lives, and they will make time for you if they want to. The same goes for yourself. You have to put energy into the skype dates, phone calls, and visits, especially when those you care about are away. Everybody is looking forward on their own path, and you must always remember to think of your own goals and desires.
I wondered if it was the winter blues that accounted for my Travel Brain – a million different globe-trotting thoughts whizzing around my brain, like a jar of fireflies sparking in a myriad of directions. I am reluctant to agree, since it has been this way since I came home. I had a friend, Brian, who claimed once I moved out, these thoughts would die down. “You need to move out, Kristy. Once you’re downtown, on your own, doing your own thing and meeting new people, this urgency for travel will go away.” I honestly believed him. I made a few new friends. Enjoyed living downtown, for the most part. Got busy with work. Yet… nope. Still the Travel Brain buzzing like a uni student on Redbull. Let’s go be a teaching assistant in France….No, let’s do an international masters in Switzerland…no, let’s go do it in BC….no, let’s go back to Australia… no, let’s see if there are travel writing scholarships…. don’t forget travel contests….How much would it cost to fly to Iceland?…are there March break deals for Portugal..? Hawaii? Great. Could I live on coconuts for a week so I could afford it? Wow, I never knew you could mail a coconut in Hawaii…
The point is, I always find time for it. It’s a lovely escape. The good news is that my constant bombarding of Facebook with travel posts led to a new/old friend/acquaintance saying she would love to go to Europe too. A few months later, we are in the planning process of a 7-8 week trip to Europe. Fingers crossed I can even afford it in time. It is at one time both deeply exhilirating and also frustrating, especially when we are now at the point of deciding how best to travel across Europe. Our proposed itinerary is Dublin, Edinburgh/Glasgow, London, Amsterdam, Brussels/Antwerp, Paris, Bordeaux, Barcelona, Madrid, south of France, Cinque Terre, Athens, Croatia – Dubrovnik, Split, Hvar, Switzerland – Bern, Zurich, Interlaken, Munich, Prague, Berlin, fly home. Wooo. A global 2 month EUrail pass + return flight from Dublin is already bringing me to 3K. They were right when they said it wasn’t cheap! Still, as a member of CS, I really hope we can stay with hosts a few times, or get word on the best deals in town from the locals. There is still a lot more to plan, but this is one of the prime things keeping me motivated in life right now. I have been watching Departures like a madwoman lately, and their show fills me with inspiration. They go off the grid more than I would be capable, but they have a zest for life that I respect and admire.
When I was living in Australia, I met two nice men from France named Matthieu and Thibault. They were doing something similar, something I thought was crazy but now I see is absolutely brilliant. They left everything behind to travel the world for a full year. They made memories and friends they will never forget. Living overseas in one place is the same nature of idea, but I love the concept of going around the world, rather than staying in one place. You learn the flavour of an area, learn to appreciate moments with people, seeing as someone is always coming and going. So beautifully bittersweet. I got thinking how fantastic that would be : to work until Winter 2016, buy a ticket to NZ, see the country I’ve been dying to for two years… Re-visit Oz, work some, do the West Coast… head to Thailand…. see some more of Europe…. Make it to the US for some Southern state exploring, then finish up to come home. I’m sure it would be a lot more cash flow than I could hope to make, but you never know. I’ve been speaking to an old Queen’s comrade who seems keen on the idea. Earrrrrllyyyy stages, so who knows, but the more I think about it, the more right it feels. I often get so torn between my two conflicting desires – to meet someone, make roots, settle down, or take off again. I’d rather not take off alone, and I suppose, that is my real inhibitor. I entertain this poor notion that if I don’t make those things happen in my life now, that I will be off track. That things will be poorly timed. If they don’t happen now, will they truly happen later?That, and FOMO – the Fear of Missing Out. Not knowing what will happen in my life back home if I leave again. I’m young, but feel so old. It seems I will either be missing out here, or missing out on the possibilities of There. I spoke to a co-worker this week who said if I were to leave now, and come back next winter, he would still be in the same class, staring out the same window at the snow… that a lot really DOESN’T change in a year, while you’re gone. It seems like there really is no time like the present for following your ambitions. Everything will work itself out in the end.
It’s a long way down into the future, but like I said, it just feels right. It’s a thought that keeps me up at night. There’s such a drive that can’t be ignored. There’s a world out there that’s meant to be explored….