I haven’t stopped moving since I’ve been back in Australia, but at the same time, I don’t really feel like I’ve gone anywhere. I’ve been doing round trips from Sydney to Melbourne to Sale and back to Sydney, with my carbon footprint going through the roof. Thank goodness I’ve done so much walking this last year to balance it out!
I’m on my way back to Melbourne this morning. Back on the ferry and train to the airport, again. I have my routine set so seamlessly now that I slide between the confused tourists looking for the ticket machines, timetables and entrance gates, while I float through effortlessly. I look like a local, like someone who feels at home in this environment, impressing these tourists with my efficiently, knowledge and know-how. The truth is I feel as foreign as they do.
I’ve been fascinated lately by people’s routines and in awe of the simplicity of their actions. Basic things like using the same mug for tea or coffee in the morning, having a local supermarket where they shop, purchasing a booklet of tickets for the same bus, knowing that there’s a dinner special at the pub on a Tuesday.
Although these trips are becoming so familiar with the airports starting to feel like home, I can feel that lack of routine stranglehold tightening its grip. When complete freedom casts you into the middle of the ocean without a clear direction of which way to go. Any direction will take you to a destination, but you need to be clear on that destination before you start to swim.
I picked a destination for the end of July months ago, but with all this swimming back and forth in between I’ve seen many other horizons pop up. It’s been tempting to explore these other options, but the more I contemplate a new direction the more I feel lost. If there’s one lesson that has always rung true for me it’s ‘stick to the plan’. This doesn’t mean not having the flexibility to change, but it means once you make a decision you should reach that shore before turning around to swim in the other direction.
At the end of this month I’m heading back to Spain with the intention of learning Spanish and taking time to write. I feel a bit like a teenager on a gap year. Does this girl ever work? The answer is not a lot this year that’s for sure. The lack of work is contributing to that lack of purpose feeling, and being a freeloader for so long does do evil things to your self conscious. But I know the solution to my own despair. Write. Writing is my therapy, and I haven’t had enough downloading sessions with my virtual therapists lately which is why I’m back!
Now that I’ve got that off my chest let’s talk about the exciting aspects of my gap year. Jumping on a plane at the end of this month and immersing myself in a place where people speak little English. Having the opportunity to take my pack on some new exciting adventures, finding some solitude and quiet time to write, and getting back to nature.
I’ve decided that I’m going to save up purchasing a coffee mug, shopping at a grocery store, establishing a bus route and finding a local pub for next year. I’m going to continue living this year like it’s my last, like a gypsy, like a teenager on a gap year. Once I’m able to put the guilt of doing so behind me, I’ll be ready to enjoy it!