Counting down the days … again

Apartment looking like a bomb exploded in every room?  Check.

Cardboard boxes, plastic containers and bubble wrap everywhere? Check.

Surviving on a steady diet of whatever happens to be left in the fridge? Check.

I guess that can mean only one thing.

I’m going travelling again.

Even though I’ve had the odd tingle of excitement in the last few weeks it wasn’t until last Friday that it really smacked me in the face that I was leaving.  It was my final day at work, and the job that I couldn’t wait to finish six months ago suddenly felt like a warm security blanket that I didn’t want to throw off.

My wonderful team had made me individual little video clips to say goodbye, and as I sat there watching them one after the other I started to feel … something.  Not sad, exactly.  Not depressed.  Melancholy, perhaps, or maybe just resigned.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m incredibly excited to be embarking on my next adventure. It’s going to be amazing.  It’s just that I really, really hate leaving.

I hate knowing that the great relationships I’ve formed with new friends this year will slowly start to wither no matter how hard we all try to maintain them.

I hate knowing that while I’m having a wonderful time wandering round the world I’ll be missing out on the little milestones like birthdays and Christmas that bring – and keep – you closer to your family.

I hate closing the door that always feels like it has just started to open as I’m about to leave a place.

Will these feelings stop me heading to the airport a week from now?  Hell no.  The positives of long term travel far away the negatives – they always have and for me they always will.

Is it ok to feel a sense of regret anyway though?  I think it is.

Halong Bay

Travel bloggers like me promote a dream.  I mean hey, it’s right there in the banner at the top of this page.  Great beaches, food, scenery, people, experiences … whatever floats your boat, and the freedom to explore it all to your heart’s content.  It’s not that it’s not true, because it very much is.  All of it.  It’s just that we tend to gloss over the other stuff.

There are downsides to living like this. I’m never going to have it all, and nothing worth having comes for free.

There will always be something that I can’t do, somewhere I can’t be, someone I can’t see when it matters.

For a person like me who hates to miss out on anything, learning this has been a bitter pill to swallow.

I felt exactly the same when I last did this 18 months ago, and I’m getting a little better at dealing with it every time.  But only a little.  It still isn’t easy.  I don’t think it ever will be.

But then again, maybe it doesn’t need to be.  The emotional connections we make with people and places are a big part of what it means to be human.  If I stop doing that, if I build a wall around myself and don’t let the happiness in because I don’t want to feel the pain at the end, what’s the point?

Much like love I’d rather open myself up completely and risk getting hurt than close myself off and never find out at all.

It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

I leave on Tuesday.  See you on the road.

[Moving truck image via Paul Keller]

9 Responses to “Counting down the days … again

  • I have been an emotional wreck the past few days–totally freaking out about leaving Melbourne right when I feel like I’ve established myself in friendships, work and a great apartment–and right when summer is about to come around! I fluctuate between kicking myself for not accepting work’s offer to stay and work until February and being SO excited at the prospect of getting out of the office so soon. I love the thrill of not knowing what’s happening next, but the unknown is also pretty scary! It’s such a crazy mix of emotions–even when I get homesick and wish I could spend a weekend at home, I realize I don’t really want to BE home (forever, anyway). The road less travelled is never going to be the easiest, my friend–but the greater the risk, the greater the reward! See you on the road 🙂

  • There are always ups and downs…our freedom comes from being able to choose the place that has more ups. Good luck Dave, you know I’m rooting for you!

  • Very well written; you hit a lot of points I couldn’t have put into words myself. I always feel a tinge of strange sadness when leaving – be it home for travel, or the place I’ve been for home. I’ve come to appreciate it, though – knowing I could feel something for a place, and knowing I’ll always have the memories and a chance for more experiences that will be just as amazing.

  • I’m excited for your trip! Hopefully we will meet up along the way / Im coming to sleep on your couch somewhere in Asia haha

    I’ve never packed everything up and left people like you are doing, my longest trip ever was barely a month! m almost afraid to do what you are doing, but someday I will 🙂

    Have fun! good luck!

  • Kirsten Lodge
    6 years ago

    I’m so excited for you, Kiwi! This is like awesomeness to the max. You’re so going to rock it… and I can’t wait to read about it.

    Soak up the last few days. It’ll be a rollercoaster… but nothing beats that feeling of taking off and entering the unknown.

    Lucky, lucky you! 🙂

  • The emotional connections we make with people and places are a big part of what it means to be human. If I stop doing that, if I build a wall around myself and don’t let the happiness in because I don’t want to feel the pain at the end, what’s the point?

    Much like love I’d rather open myself up completely and risk getting hurt than close”

    Love it- nothing else to say. You will have the best time and make new and exciting connections. So jealous!!

  • Thanks for your kind words everyone! 6 more sleeps….. 😉

  • Chantelle
    6 years ago

    Ahhh yes – you speak the truth.. there is always some kind of cost associated with ‘living the dream’.. Melbourne will be very sad to lose you – (and so am I) – but I know that the collective pull of awesomeness will bring as back together in some country next year.. Thailand, Ameri-caca, Sierra Leona 😉 Who knows!

    Have a wicked time Dave 🙂 I’ll be living vicariously as you soak up the sun in Thailand.. xx

  • Dave,
    I hear you man.

    Traveling is amazing but really tough.
    It is especially hard for me with relationships… but we push on don’t we. 🙂

    Rock on

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