It had to happen at some point.
I’ve read lots of stories and anecdotes from travellers talking about the last minute doubts and anxiety that kick in, often in the week or two before they set off on a longterm trip.
Once I had my last day in the office I had expected a feeling of: “Oh, this has suddenly got real.”
It didn’t happen.
Even when asked: “Any last minute regrets?” I replied: “Not even slightly.” I then proceeded to analyse that statement, picking at it like a scab, to make sure I meant it.
Despite having more ‘see you soon’ lunches, dinners and cakes than Tina Turner had farewell tours, whenever anybody asked me how I felt, my answer has been consistent: “Giddy with excitement.”
My planning has included considering what can go wrong and how I will deal with it. I’ve read lots of cautionary tales of scams and booking foul ups. Yes, I’ve been trying to scare myself. I find it helps to be a pessimist – whether you’re proved right or pleasantly surprised, you’re never disappointed.
I’m delighted to report that ‘The Wobble’ hit me last night. Why? Because it gave me over 24hours to get over it. If I had needed that long.
I started thinking:
- Am I sure I want to do this? It’s a lifelong dream.
- What if I don’t enjoy it? There are bound to be days that aren’t as good, fun or as enjoyable as others. I’ve also planned my route and there isn’t a risk of getting stuck and not knowing where to go next. If I don’t like a place, there’s always the next spot.
- There’s nothing stopping me cancelling this, is there? Not really but it would be unfair to my house sitter, and if I didn’t go back on out agreement, I’d have to sort out alternative arrangements and, with pre booking, that would be a waste of money.
- What would I do if I decided to cancel this? No idea. I’m so fixed on this plan, there is no alternative.
- Would I regret it if I did cancel it? Hell, yes!
Essentially, this feeling was similar to starting a new job – giving up the familiar, friendly and known to do something new and different. Once I’d realised that, I felt fine.
It had sneaked up on me once I had moved all of my coats off the hooks in the hallway. There was something very final about not seeing my boots and coats in their usual place. It was like I was permanently moving out.
I’m not. My belongings are all in the attic providing extra insulation.
I was telling a friend about it today and he said: “You’d be a bit weird if you hadn’t felt any nerves at all”
So, there’s that, I guess.
- Featured photo: 22 Manchester Bees painted on the side of the Koffee Pot on Oldham Road in Manchester. This is one of my favourite murals in the Northern Quarter. The story behind it is here.