This is the worst part. You’ve set a target, you’ve got goals. You know your next move and you’re really looking forward to it. But for one reason or another you can’t get on with it just yet. You’ve got some old shit to take care of.
Maybe you’re getting a new job, but you’ve got to sit out the time at your current one first. Or maybe, as in the case here as this is a travel blog, you’re waiting to get started on your next adventure. Sometimes you start planning several months, or even a year in advance. The problem then becomes how you survive.
A Walk Into Imagination Land
The goal is always just out of reach, over on the horizon, like some damn mirage, an unattainable dream. Something you want but can’t have. At least not yet. It’s enough to drive you bat shit crazy. You keep on dreaming, spending every spare moment wandering off into the dream, deeper and further you go, it soothes your ache, it helps you get by. Hell, I’d even encourage you to dream: it helps you guide the experience once you get there. Before going to Canada I dreamt about working in an electronic store, meeting new, interesting people on a daily basis. Within 2 months of arriving I did just that: worked in an electronic store and met tons of interesting people.
Imagination land has one problem though – it is not real. Nothing can ever be as goood as your imagination, never forget that, but use it. It helps you get by, but it also increases your thirst. So you start looking deeper into what you’re going to do, what you want to see. You get into the planning stage. You search the web for images and seem to randomly find your path is crossing with others who have been to your destination, or people that want to go. Some would call it the universe sending signs, or bringing you together. Some would call it chance, or possibly the law of attraction. Maybe you’re subconsciously searching for these chance happenings. You can call it what you want, but truth be told: this seems to happen all the time. Make the most of them, make connections, find friends, and inform yourself. Book your tickets before they become too expensive, solidify your plans, set them in stone.
Embrace Your Life – Just the Way It Is
Soon enough you will find yourself in the insufferable time a few months, or weeks, before you leave. You’re still stuck in the same old routine. Nothing new under the sun, but at the same time that far away horizon has definitely gotten closer. Now you can almost make out the shape of things to come. But not quite yet. This is the tough time. These days all you want to do is go, step outside and wander off into the great unknown. This is when you need to anchor yourself in the daily grind. Spend time with friends and family alike, you never know how long it will be until you see them again. My most recent big trip was planned to span 18 months but ended up lasting over 2 years. People asked me if I didn’t miss my family when I was away for so long. Truth be told I did, but also I didn’t. We all have our own lives, and while it hurt that I couldn’t give my parents a hug at any moment, I am an adult and I live my life just for me and not for them. I wouldn’t say that homesickness was a big issue for me, I don’t think it ever has been.
Now is the time to start tending to practical matters. Sort visas, reach out to contacts and sort out your mail and other boring stuff for while you’re away. It’s all these boring details that will help you get through this part, it will remind you the goal is near and will keep you occupied until the time runs out.
Regretting the Decision
The last couple of weeks, and especially the last few days, is a time for regret. You question why you’re doing this. What you hope to accomplish. You sow fear in your heart, and reap the worries. You wonder if you’ll make friends, or if you’ll be alone. You wonder if you’ll find a job, or end up poor, a beggar on the street, homeless without a roof, cold in the night.
You already start missing your loved ones, even though they are right there – next to you every day. You’re stressing about the little things you’ve left to sort out before you go. You worry you will be detained at the airport, or that you’ll forget to pack some essential item. You worry that some bill will go unpaid and give you a welcome back home after a year overseas with a big fat debt to repay. There are so many things that can go wrong and they’re all playing in your mind right now. Let them, and know that the worst that could happen will still give you a hell of a story to tell, an experience gained and wisdom to never make the same mistake again.
The Soothing of Leaving
No matter all the things you worried about, scenarios dreamt up in your stressed out brain, it will all wash away on that fateful day. The day when you wake up, bags packed next to your bed, a flight to catch or a train to ride. The only feeling that washes over you, immediately as the vehicle starts rolling towards your future, is one of serene bliss. You’re on your way, excitement builds, euphoria explodes and you find yourself feeling more than just a little high. Life is good and nothing can stop you from realising your dreams, the ones you’ve had, over and over in all those hard months past.
The wait is over; now is the time.
Now is your time.
Beppe Karlsson, Stockholm