I know travel changes a person. Your perspective, core values, independence, sense of purpose, confidence and passions all develop rapidly when constantly tested and re-evaluated through enduring the non-routine life on the road.
Had someone told me, as I embarked on my big adventure, that I wouldn’t end up back in my own house, I wouldn’t have even raised an eyebrow. Well, d’uh. I hoped I would be heading in a different direction. After all, wasn’t that the idea behind packing up and boxing away what was left after culling the detritus of several years treading water? However, if someone could have predicted what has happened I would have still been laughing at the ridiculousness as I checked in for my flight to Buenos Aires.
As I write this post, much delayed I am sorry to say, I am sitting in a cafe in an English town far enough north of London. I have a UK mobile number, bank account, residential rather than transient address, a National Insurance number and I’ve already been to Egypt on a package holiday. Last week was my first in my shiny new job in another town on the end of an only-one-conveniently-timed-bus-each-way. It has been 507 days between office desks. It feels surreal to be back.
After arriving home in late July 2013, I organized my UK entry clearance visa, booked flights for London and planned a month’s touring around the southern Australian states in a pseudo-farewell tour in October. House sitting for my folks, lapping up the sublime weather and re-culling my “stuff” soaked up most of my time even though most days had me awake at 4:30am to make a cherished call to my love in the UK.
Added to the list of new acquisitions above I have moved in with my partner, which also means I’ve officially switched teams, we even have a joint bank account and I enjoyed playing Sadie Homemaker while hunting for a job. It took the best part of four months but I finally struck success.
There were many nights I couldn’t sleep, wracked with uncertainty of having made the “right” decision, missing family and reliable sunshine back home and feeling like a fraud and failure, like a burden for my partner to carry. So many months of having a reason to get up each day while on the road had shuddered to a stop and I locked myself indoors and sat on websites doing all bar beg for a job. From stacking Tesco shelves, delivering junk mail, casual Christmas work for minimum wage through to the kinds of job I actually wanted, you name it, I applied. It is an unenviable, rarely satisfactory and lonely task. Only when you are hired do you know something worked. Until then you hear a lot of white noise, if anything at all. Considering I had my first job when I was 14 and haven’t been out of work save for studying or travelling, it was the longest four months I’ve ever felt.
I knew it was sapping my spirit when I felt the recovery begin as I ironed office wear and hunted down a notebook, personal pencil cup and post-it notes. And I felt like writing again. Something I haven’t felt since I flew back into Australia.
Writing for pleasure and not job applications had become a luxury that I deemed I could I’ll afford. I didn’t deserve to spend time being creative if I’m not being paid for it. In retrospect, it might have been just the salve I needed to not be awake at 3am, lamenting missing yet another job interview. One lesson I have learned is that I think too much. And I have missed writing so much that my thoughts now are jamming at a bottleneck in my mind and I don’t know that I will actually publish this post or if I do that I will tell anyone about it. This has become an exercise…or an exorcism. To flush the dried up ink cartridges and replace with a renewed set and get back on the keyboard.
Just as soon as I stop thinking so much.