There is something about leaving a country which you have lived and worked in, and straight away moving to another one.
This year I have done this so many times I am starting to lose count. Already I am at 7, and I think that I will have 3 more before the year is out.
(For the travel hackers amongst you, I think my year is going to look something like this: SYD-MAU-ACC-ATH-ACC-SYD-ILO-KTM-SFO-PNH-CGK)
At the beginning of the year I kept asking people who moved around a lot what the hardest thing about travelling was. I thought maybe I would get tired of living out of a bag, or that I would miss my family, or my close friends, or you know, zucchinis.
I didn’t think it would be the transitions.
I am not upset to be without roots this year, in a way I feel like I have been without roots my whole life.
But somewhere in the transition of picking up everything to put it back down into a new place, my body seems to go into a state of shock.
I usually cry on the plane. When I went back toSydneyfor 3 weeks I felt bizarrely numb for a few days, in a way I could not explain to people. It was just plain weird. And then everything came crashing down and I cancelled all my plans, instead spending a weekend inside with my brother, staring at a wall.
(Don’t worry, insane amounts of partying still happened, just later on).
I think part of the reason for this is the last week before I leave anywhere is totally packed – catching up with friends, finishing off projects, getting through all the “lasts”. I am usually utterly exhausted by the time I leave. And the first week in my new country is always relatively quiet.
So it goes from super intense to super quiet, and the realisation of what I am doing hits me. Where exactly am I? What exactly is it that I think I am doing? Am I crazy?
Not to mention the the thought of all the amazing experiences that I have left behind. The people I will probably never see again.The fragments of language and expressions that I have learnt. And the weird nuances of culture that you only get from being in a place.
(In Mauritius– being in a meeting where three languages are spoken at once. In thePhilippines– the flamboyant culture. In Ghana–the MASSIVE religious billboards. And in Nepal– the relaxed attitude to privacy).
The flip side is that this outpouring of emotion has brought on some of the best ideas that I have had this year. I have written beautiful poetry. Come up with business ideas. Followed up on hard things which I really needed to do. And formulated all of the things which are most exciting about this year. Including achieving all my goals for this year in 7 months – and they were not small.
Call me crazy, but I can only conclude that there is something remarkable about the combination of exhaustion, devastation and airports. Alone, they are just irritants – but with their powers combined…?
My brother reminds me of often of my own words:
“I don’t mind being upset, because I often do my best thinking when I am upset”.
As I prepare myself for the shock that will be leaving Nepal for San Francisco, I am going to do my best to take solace in these words.