Part of having the tools to travel is understanding the scope of long-term travel. This new series on the site, “A Little Confession”, will dive into the state of mind that I’m in at that moment. I haven’t even left yet, but it’s overwhelming, and I think it’s important to admit that this is also a part of planning for a long-term trip.
In short, I am freaking out. In a matter of weeks I am leaving my home and my country for a year. I’ll be alone. I’ll have only myself. Gah. This is daunting.
Today was one of the bad days during this entire planning process. The wedding madness is over now, and I have a narrow focus on getting all my life in order so that I can leave. It was lovely to see my two friends married. But it was stressful to have both weddings back-to-back all while I am picking out backpacks, travel insurance, and my route around the world. Even more, I was in both wedding parties. So the focus has been 80/20 focused on helping them celebrate their big days. And while overwhelming to juggle the weddings, it was also a bit of a needed distraction. At least until today.
Today, those weddings are over and my friends are off on their honeymoons. Today, the only focus and concern is my trip. The void of distraction is freaking me out. It’s scary to think that I can count down in days the amount of time before I hug my parents goodbye. The pain tugs at my heart even thinking of it. My grandmother died last month. While it was expected, it came as a jolt. I am happy that I was able to attend her funeral, to be here for my dad as we processed through the goodbye. But it’s a scary and painful reminder of the finality and brevity of life. My brother died the last time I left the country. I won’t see anyone I love for an entire year, and I have to make myself OK with the idea that someone might not be here when I get back.
Also, I have to pack. And I have to finish my taxes. And I have to procure the last of my vaccines.
The trivial and the weighty weigh on me at every moment.
I am 29 days from leaving and I feel woefully unprepared. Life is teetering like a weeble-wobble. There are countless things I have to do, and I know none of theme are as big as they seem. Like those toys from the 90s, it all may wobble a little as a balance it all, but it’s not going to crash down around me.
It’s the millions of little tasks left that overwhelm me right now. Again, nothing huge. I know this intellectually, but it hasn’t stop the niggling panic that licks at my thoughts every now and then.
I have to submit for my Australian visa.
I need a rain cover for my packs.
Where’s my raincoat?
Did I photocopy and scan all my important documents yet?
Do my banks and credit card companies know my plans?
It’s a litany of tiny tasks that feel like the tiny cuts of a sharp knife licking my skin. No single task is overwhelming, but together they are bleeding me of my sanity.
No matter what I have finished, however, in just 29 days I will step off of an airplane into Sydney airport. I will be alone. I will just my backpack and my Lonely Planet Australia to help me through it. There will be no one greeting me on the other side of the terminal. When I step off the plane in Sydney airport, I will truly be alone out there in the world for the first time.
I am fiercely independent and comfortable with my own company. Some friends say that I border on antisocial as I prefer a Friday night of movies, books, and perhaps a card-night. But I’ve always had access to friends when I need them.
Sydney represents the beginning of my round-the-world journey. That first flight is going to be the hardest. But it’s creeping closer no matter what, so I can only continue on with the packing, planning, and preparing. I keep telling myself: In 30 days all the pre-trip planning and waiting will be over. In 30 days, I will be on my way around the world. This is the trip I have dreamed about taking. It’s the beginning of a journey that I don’t yet even understand. I know it’s going to be good. Even if something terrible happens, I’m out there putting myself forward for the life I want to be leading.
I am pushing through the fear and mini panic-attacks that seize me. This trip is going to rock the foundation of my life. I’ll be a different person when I get back. I will have fiercely pursued a goal that I have sat on for most of my life.
If this is what it feels like when you’re almost about to accomplish your goal, then know that for me, it’s kind of sucking. But I know the result is close and that it will be sweeter, harder, more frustrating, more engaging, and more transformative than I could imagine.