Thursday, 27 November 2014

A Traveler's Tale







On our trip to Berlin this summer, Ryan and I were waiting at the airport for our flight. Within the midst of our conversation he said something which struck me as strange. That was, he remarked that he hated the travelling part of going on holiday and suggested that it would be ideal if he could just close his eyes and open them to find himself at the specified destination.

I feel emphatically opposite to this. In fact, for me, the act of journeying to a different destination holds a certain pleasure which is perhaps greater, or at least equitable to, the time spent in the new destination.

The most travelling I've ever done in a short period of time was my solo trip around Italy in 2006. On my way there I sat in the small space beside the window, my eyes fixed on the fluffy white clouds billowing around the plane. I was filled with a distinct sensation of being nowhere. I knew the destination I was travelling towards, of course, but in the moment of transition between one place to the next I couldn't really know what awaited me and I didn't have the familiarity of my hometown to comfort me. Until I arrived at my destination, it could be anything that I wanted it to be. There were no realities to constrain my vision and nothing to disappoint or underwhelm.

Once in Italy, I arrived at each train station with my black rucksack slung on my shoulders, my small, pink suitcase trailing behind me and a sense of anticipation flowing in my veins. Stepping into the station signified that it was time to move on to the next city, to move towards the unknown, to have the freedom of not really 'being' anywhere.

In short, I like the transitory nature of travelling.

*****

I left my job last month. I left the one before that and the one before that too.

I changed my University course at the beginning of second year. I dropped out at the beginning of third year. I returned the year after that.

I tried to start a vintage clothing business one year.

I went back to University and got a Masters degree.

I got an internship and worked towards a policy role.

I got the policy role. We planned to get a mortgage, buy a house and start being responsible adults. I moved the goalposts again and left my job to accept a temporary, part time contract in an industry where this is the normal career path. After that contract is finished, if I'm lucky I'll get another short term contract and then another and so on. The prospect of the unknown is terrifying.

And yet, I am happier than I have been for a while. I like this period of change, of making plans and of not quite knowing how it will work out. It suits me to be in flux, to be moving from one thing to the next. I like to be in transition. I like to be on airplanes and trains.

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