Ever since the decision was made to talk to my boss about the possibility of travelling, life has taken quite an exciting, unpredictable and humbling direction. I guess that’s exactly what I was looking for. Squeezing the last remaining items in to what will be my life for the next 5 months, tonight the final bag packing has completed months of decision making, researching, purchases and goodbyes – all before I’ve even got to Gatwick Airport.
The questions in conversation have started to become familiar; how are you feeling? Where are you going? Aren’t you scared doing this on your own? Advice has been valuable; Don’t eat meat in India, buy a water filter – you can survive on naan bread but not without water. Stick to street food in China. Keep in touch, have fun, try and follow your heart more, take every opportunity, don’t miss experiences (put it on the credit card). Some hostels are good, some not so. Become more cynical, travel light, don’t drop the ball, plan carefully and turn up on time. Don’t forget your passport. Or your phone. Or your wallet. And comments have been reassuring; You seem more relaxed these days. This is definitely a good idea – and before you have any real commitments.
As I reel off the itinerary, acknowledging that it’s a bit of a whistlestop tour and that I haven’t got a clue what to expect, I strangely do actually find myself looking forward to coming back already and getting stuck back into life here…finding a place of my own probably back in Portsmouth, re-joining the music project and work colleagues, buying a new bike and cycling to work often, maybe taking up canoeing (!), focusing on the career more and also taking more frequent but smaller trips abroad.
Feeling like this, I think, has been possible especially because of the experiences over the past few weeks and months with those people who were part of this, including workmates and boss, friends in the music project, housemates at 2 The Heights, old uni course and house mates and old group of Portchester mates.
So a process which started with some emails to STA and buying a Lonely Planet India book and then went on to confirming an Itinerary, booking flights, breaking the news at work, taking injections, organising the Indian visa, budgeting, putting together a first aid kit, finding an MP3 player, moving out, storing my life in the back of my car, buying travel insurance, and a last minute rush today for new footwear and a water filter (while visiting nan in her new Southsea care home, talking to a chirpy grandad on the phone, stopping by the music project co-ordinators’ house and having my last meal with mum and dad)…has nearly finished.
|Me and ‘PBA Bear’ knocked out at
The Heights ‘Sausage & Sangria’ Leaving Party due
to all the travel prep…and Sangria.
The decision making and spending will no doubt continue. Apart from that I don’t know what to expect; excited on the plane, yes. Nervous about meeting the new people in Lesotho, yes. But definitely inspired by the organisations new website as they now move to become the world’s first Football Club designed for bringing about social change and sustainable livelihoods. Then there’s the small matter of South Africa, Dubai, India, Hong Kong, China, USA, Iceland (where I hope to meet up with my old uni housemates for the last leg)…
Next time I write I will hopefully have arrived safe and well in Lesotho. Take care everyone and please keep in touch via email, skype or mobile (as I try to stay off Facebook where possible – will the Ice bucket challenge still be going in February?!).
My Contribution to the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’
(just for my own looking back purposes later on…)
Thank you for all the support, advice and friendship felt especially over the last few months. It’s a been an experience – now lets get the travelling bit started!