Packing. Dear god even the word makes me tremble slightly. What an awful prospect, simply the epitome of a time consuming, stress inflicting activity. Anyone who actually enjoys packing is rather peculiar in my books, and should be avoided at all costs.
Without sounding like I enjoy a good whine (although having a moan can be one of my most favourite pastimes) I cannot even accurately put into words how long I have deliberated over the finest of packing details. I have honestly lost a few hours of valuable sleep over whether I should pack my extra special purple shampoo, or my really cheap but magical Aldi Argon Oil, because quite frankly who knows whether Australians even have these things – and if I’m honest their hair does seem to always look quite frazzled in pictures. Maybe its the beach hair don’t care vibe they are going for, but honestly I am rather attached to my hair and would quite like to keep it. So yes, I think the Argon Oil will be coming with me on my merry journey.
Then we get to the electronics, definitely the bane of every travellers packing experience (so I assume). Everyone has advised me against taking anything other than a cheap Nokia phone and iPod, but really I mean come on! This is the flipping 21st Century, and the thought of going all the way to Australia without being able to Instagram some killer photos makes me almost want to cancel the whole trip completely. I know that’s not the right attitude, and I am going for the memories and experiences I promise, but coming back with a pretty awesome Instagram and a few new Facebook profile pictures wouldn’t exactly hurt would it? Besides, what do they expect me to do on all the long coach journeys, play snake? Or.. actually talk to people?! Surely not.
My flights are booked, my notice has been handed in at work (kind of) and I am ready (not really) for my ‘trip of a lifetime’. Beginning in three weeks at Heathrow’s fairly dingy Terminal 3, my 48 hours of travelling to Cairns, Australia will officially commence. Am I excited? Yes! Am I nervous? Most definitely. Am I dreading being on a plane for that long? You bloody bet.
Having been loosely planning this trip for around a year, and by loosely I mean looking at pictures of beaches in Australia and reading the occasional travel blog, it is most odd to think that it has finally come to fruition. In these last few weeks I have thought of little else, and any excuse to research a bit more into Australia’s East Coast is gladly optimised. With so many friends having done a similar path, I’ve managed to wheedle a fair bit of information out of them, resulting in numerous lists and plans regarding a budget, what I’m packing and a ‘rough’ itinerary covering practically every minute of the trip. I find myself torn between flexibility and security. On one hand there is the desire to go with the flow, and leave space for freedom judging on how drawn I am to certain areas at the time, or what the people I meet happen to be doing. Then on the other hand, there is the want of a fairly strict plan, which hopefully would combat the fears of running out of time or money in certain areas, or missing out on any opportunities. Therefore, I have found myself sitting comfortably and perhaps tediously in the middle of the spectrum, with a budget and loose (ish) itinerary, which hopefully makes my arrival less daunting, but also leaves a bit of room for the ‘just see what happens when you get there’ ideology that so many travellers seem to swear by. I think that just like everything else in life, travelling should be taken on one’s own terms, because when it comes to the crunch of it, everybody has their unique way of going about things, and as it stands – this is mine.
That brings us to now, sitting at work with the miserable London rain pounding relentlessly against the windows, looking around at my amazing and fairly unsuspecting colleagues and thinking how different my life is going to be in a mere few weeks. Upon starting this job, I would never have dreamed I would become so attached to it. The work is interesting and at times extremely challenging, a crucial factor for someone like myself, who’s brain has the tendency to get bored very quickly. Not only that, but it is also close to home, with the added bonus that my colleagues really do make me laugh on a daily basis. But, as said by someone I can’t remember, in a movie I also can’t remember, “the time has come to move along”, and honestly it really is my time. In a metaphorical term, I quite frankly have hit the ceiling in my acquisition of knowledge and skill, and it is now time to wriggle my way through a crack in said ceiling, and embrace everything there is on offer out there. To quote an article I read recently, we are the travel generation, and travel is the only thing we buy that makes us richer – I could not agree more. So here I am, embarking on a journey to get richer in skills, memories, experiences and knowledge. See you on the other side.