At the end of the week I embark on a trip over to Europe for up to 2 years. I emphasize the point and don’t simply say 2 years because anything can happen, I could end up staying there for the rest of my life, or if my father’s worst fears come to fruition I could be kidnapped enroute in Malaysia – or you know, anything in between these two extremes. While I have set up a travel blog I feel like this post is more relevant to crayinthehay, it is perhaps the best example of my blog title to date. You should be warned this is more a cathartic post but I’ve tried to make it semi-funny. You’ll probably be entertained enough to exhale forcefully from your nose, tilting your head back slightly and let a smile creep up.
They say travelling alone is a great way to get to know yourself. Immediately I realise that I am not the kind of person who can simply wing things. I needed to know I had a place to stay when I arrived, and while this may seem quite basic lots of people who ~truly backpack~ can have an attitude of ‘things will work out when I show up’. I was also alerted to potential political unrest in Malaysia which has led to me googling things like ‘Will I die if I am in Malaysia next week’ and ‘Malaysia Election Dangerous?’ which has yielded few clarifying results.
I’m not ready physically, I’m third of the way packed convincing myself that I ‘have time’ and that Sunday (aka the day I leave) will be a glorious breeze of a day to be able to pack ‘a few last minute things’. Everyone’s saying that I must be so excited to go overseas and that they are jealous and asking me about my plans. I usually say that I’m really excited but then I stare at my suitcase for about 15 minutes and then go back to Facebook.
At the start of the year I my New Year’s Resolution to ‘take chances and risks’ to which most people sat me down to re-explain the importance of condom use during penetrative sex. While they missed the point, I might as well have been talking about being more lenient with my condom use. This year hasn’t really been one of risk or chance taking, I feel as though I am just as reserved and cautious as ever (although I DID do a backflip on a trampoline the other week. I ended up hurting my neck.)
Suddenly I’m uprooting my life and moving overseas for an unplanned period of time, and with only 4 days to go instead of feeling over-the-moon excited and pumped I’m just feeling incredibly anxious. Of course I’m excited to go, I’m going to fucking Europe. However, the fact was people could tell there was something blocking me, they’d always say something like ‘oh… you’ll probably be excited when you get there’
After a long day of listening to the same playlist on Spotify 15 times staring at my ceiling and eating a whole packet of Tim Tams (not because I’m fat but because you can’t get them overseas okay?) I turned to a few friends who helped talked me down off a wall. There were the small things – like the fact that I had a lot less money than I thought I would going over, that I couldn’t take all of my clothes, and the realisation I haven’t bought new underwear in oh, I don’t know 2 years. The slightly bigger things, like the annoying fact that I met a really cool dude out last week but there’s now no scope to really see where it would have gone.
I realised that mostly, I was worried about how much I would have to rely on myself. I’ll be in a new place with no friends or bearings. I won’t be able to strut down the street to Beyonce in London because I’ll be too busy actually trying to figure out what the street signs say. My life will have no structure and my time will be what I make of it. Any enjoyment, failure, joy or pain will be on me and I sort of find that paralysing – isn’t that what it’s like here? Kind of, but here I always had some kind of circumstance I could partially blame. Europe will be the blankest of canvasses. I used to be able to spend a lot of time by myself, but I’m finding I have way too active a mind. So maybe going to Europe will be good, I can start smoking weed (aka eat baked goods) in Amsterdam to achieve C.H.I.L.L status.
Having had to speak to my friends about it all, the largest challenge I face is not being able to take the best people I know along with me. Luckily technology is beyond having to use carrier pigeon and I will still be able to be filled in on every inane detail of life in Melbourne and vice-versa there’s still a pointed sadness in suddenly not being able to physically be in the same room as the people I’ve shared my life with so closely in Melbourne.
The other week my brother’s French friend came to visit Melbourne and I was charged with the task of taking her around Melbourne. I quickly realised that Melbourne was not a real ‘sight-seeing’ city, all we do is eat and drink. Google had listed Eastlink as one of our ‘top attractions’ so we should definitely be ashamed. Despite these minor setbacks, I was still able to take her out on a day that she really enjoyed, was ~uniquely Melbourne~ and made her feel like she was in a really cool city with a lot to offer – not an easy task for a lady from Paris.
So perhaps it is time for me to leave the city that I know so well and feel the same excitement for a new city – I just need to trust and be open to the idea that I’ll be able get to know and fall in love with other cities without it necessarily changing things for the worse back home. Down FOMO, down.