Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Into temptation ...

Into temptation
Knowing full well the earth will rebel
Into your wide open arms
No way to break the spell
Crowded House
Days seem to be passing slowly. Except that they're rushing by at the same time. I feel like there should be so much to do before I go, but there isn't. After the panic of knowing I was travelling half-way across the world to live for a year, a trip to a neighbouring country is so simple. But it's not only in contrast. A basic trip of a few weeks is simple.

A friend wrote recently that experience reduces the terror of travelling, but not the excitement. He's right. Not that I have huge experience of international travel. In fact, I have almost no experience of travelling overseas. There are things that are the same. So whilst the idea of visas and having to change money (which mercifully are both of limited import on this trip) bother me quite a lot, the idea of packing and making sure I have everything I need no longer scares me - although packing for work does tend to create tension. Suitcases are no problem. I have a little bright blue suitcase. When I bought it, I was teased by various family and friends because it seemed an odd thing to be excited about. Travel a lot and you find that the suitcase you travel with is a home.

I understand those who hate travelling and long to get home, those who will end a trip early if they can to sleep in their own beds. The understanding is sympathetic rather than empathic. Once you have once overcome the desperate attachment to home and learned to be a creature of the road, the world's borders open up. I have often longed for the luxury of travelling on a british or american passport, purely because it would open so many doors. Without the inconvenience of having to get visas for everything, I imagine I would find myself flitting and floating from place to place far more easily.

For this trip I will be travelling without my beloved little blue suitcase. Actually, I think the backpack might hold more. I'm sure I'll quickly get used to it. The process of deciding what to take is the same. When I suddenly decided to do this - two or three days ago - it was easy to sit down and decide what I needed to take. Annoyingly, my recent investments in terms of clothes have been limited to things useful in less than 0 degree weather, so I'm a little short on some of the things I need. I am making a plan. And making do. For a short trip like this, it's not necessary to cater for every possible scenario. In fact, a summery, beach-heavy trip is probably the easiest thing I will ever pack for. My biggest decision is whether or not I should put in a pair of shoes with slight heels just in case. I can probably fit them in but they're quite annoying to pack.

I'm heading off tomorrow to sort out Malaria meds and the like. I'm quite jealous of one of my fellow-journeyers who is off much sooner but I'll wait until after Christmas - having promised to help cook. I imagine the bags will be packed far before then, though.

Spontaneity doesn't normally come easily to me. At heart I am quite fond of control. The combination of having travelled enough that I find airports quite soothing places and buses are just another place to sleep, and the fact that I am currently hitting rock bottom and bouncing so there is little left to lose make spontaneity possible right now. Even quite fun. I worry a little bit that this is part of the particularly self-destructive cycle I'm jumping into head on but the universe is knocking and this time my bags are packed and I'm ready to go.


  1. For some reason the only comment I can make is this: now I've got that song stuck in my head...it was something of an anthem during a rough time. Nice :)
    Happy packing, happy travels. x