When I sit down to think about it, I’ve been lucky enough to have had a great few adventures so far…
I have voyaged across the Atlantic Ocean not through the air but by sea, if you can believe that, and the Pacific too. Woken up to tropical islands at my bedroom window; sailed into Sydney harbour just as the sun was rising against the backdrop of the Opera House.
I have traversed North America by train. Eyes glued to the pane as we travelled through vast fields of corn, the arid deserts of Nevada and as we wound our way up into the snow covered Sierra Nevada.
And I have been a humble pilgrim on the road to Santiago de Compostela quite simply putting one foot in front of the other for over 800km for 33 days, getting into all sorts of scrapes along the way with mad French men, fountains of wine, Dragons and more besides.
…I think Huckleberry Finn would be proud!
But the small few steps it took to move passed the departure gates at Dublin airport on the morning of the 3rd February 2013 were tough. I didn’t feel like myself anymore, my shoes felt weighed down to the ground. I hesitated twice and had to turn back to see if “they” were still there. (They were.)
The past few weeks have been difficult for me with my impending departure date looming large, I am forced to try to understand all over again why I have made this decision-to up sticks for two years and prise myself away from friends and family and relocate to parts unknown.
It’s no small undertaking to leave it all behind again. To miss everything and everyone all over again.
I am nervous and sometimes I wonder if it will all go right but then again I wonder how it can possibly go wrong with the support and encouragement of so many wonderful people behind me.
During VSO training I met some really top-class people, one of them was Claire. She shared with us intrepid adventurers a beautiful fable- I will share it with you here now.
“Essentially it’s a tale of two travellers, both going to the same town. On the way, the first traveller meets a local, and asks ‘what is the town like?’. And the local says ‘tell me about the town you’ve just come from’ and the traveller says ‘well, it was full of thieving people, full of beggars, full of dishonesty and bad behaviour’; and the local man says ‘and so you shall find that here’. The second traveller then meets the local, and a similar exchange takes place, however the traveller says about the town he left ‘it was a wonderful place…full of kindness and honesty and friendly people’, and the local man, again, says ‘and so you shall find that here”
The lesson being, what you expect to find, you will.
So, interestingly enough, I find that I am not at all apprehensive about what lies before me because I expect that there will be all sorts of people there, just like home- people I admire greatly, people who grate on me, people I love to spend time with, some whom I’d rather avoid, people who will cheer me up when I’m feeling down, and others who may make me feel worse! People to look after me when I am ill, those who will make me laugh, those who will think me laughable…and perhaps some who will even make me cry!
I am not so much worried about them, merely nervous about the people I have left behind.
So come with me instead. Read this blog and leave your comments, share in my little personal triumphs and laugh with me through the abject failures, brushes with the law, gastro-intestinal difficulties, near death experiences and others.
And now, if you are settled in for the evening with a big mug of tea and some nice treat, then I will begin.
When you first met the hero of this blog, I was blubbering like a fool at the departure gates of Dublin Airport.
But by the time, we had touched down in Frankfurt two hours later, the emotion of goodbye had melted away somewhat and for the first time in my life I felt an involuntary flutter of excitement in my tummy when it came time to board the plane to…Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Africa!
The happy-go-lucky adventurer is back!
See ye in two years!