I have three weeks to go and things are getting a little chaotic. Anyone who has been reading the personal articles will know my role will soon be made redundant. Reactions to this kind of news appear to vary. Some ring their wives and spend the next hour roiling in panic until she collapses from the strain, then run home to tend to them. Others stand on their desks, announce loudly the entire company is run by a bunch of assholes, pack up and disappear for a week of stress leave. Some return to their desks and launch into work brimming with vigour, enthusiasm and denial. I already had travel booked, so I merely cancelled my return flight and started counting down the days.
People appear genuinely interested in where I am going, or perhaps I pretend they are so I can bask in the heat of their jealousy as I rub my plans in their faces. Either way, I have been talking about travel to a lot of people. Most have one of two opinions, either I’m doing something incredibly amazing (“You’re so lucky. I wish I could do that”) or completely irresponsible (“I could never do that because I’m an adult with responsibilities”). I’m OK with either of those as they mean my life is probably on the right track.
Three weeks until either freedom or dereliction, depending on one’s point of view. I will admit I am slightly nervous exchanging my comfortable life of cafe breakfasts, work gyms, and air conditioned high-rise offices, for being jobless, homeless and travelling as cheaply as I can while writing about my misadventures for your amusement. This feeling has led to drastic action with interesting results.
Concerned I would have trouble selling my bedroom furniture, I listed everything online a mere six weeks before I was due to depart. In typical fashion, some inconsiderate jerk purchased it immediately. Thus at the end of the month I shall have spent 5 weeks sleeping without a bed.
I have talked myself into believing this is training for upcoming nights in misdescribed hostel rooms through the more adventurous parts of Southeast Asia. Laugh all you want. I have to. As you can probably imagine, it hasn’t done wonders for my dating life. “Hey, you look nice. Play your cards right and you could sleep on my floor.” What girl could resist? On the bright side, no one has seen how bare my place is, nor heard the echoing footsteps only heard in large empty spaces as I walk around my room finding the softest looking piece of floor to sleep on.
I have been through everything I own a dozen times, inspecting each item carefully while hurling accusations at it. “Where did you come from? Am I ever going to use you again? Ugh, if I throw you out will I regret it?” Boxes have now been packed with the few things that survived the interrogation. My snowboard has been wrapped with loving care and stowed safely under a bunk at my parent’s house, with strict instructions to save it first should the house burn down.
I am now left with two piles of stuff; one is an organised stack of items I want to take with me travelling, and the other is a much larger collection of junk I have been forcing onto acquaintances too polite to say no. Who wouldn’t want a poker set? Or a solar battery charger? Or a piece of fossilised dinosaur eggshell. (I’m kidding, I’m not giving that away!) Funnily enough, all my whisky was snapped up quite quickly.
Desperately soaking up the Sydney sun before I leave…
Now in the final throes of my time in Sydney, people have asked to see me before I leave, which is a rather pleasant surprise. I have never been one for goodbyes. I prefer to smoke bomb and sneak out the backdoor while no one is looking. In Germany they use the expression “Polnischer Abgang”; the Polish Exit. I can only assume they want to ensure this isn’t some elaborate April Fool’s Day joke. I suppose they could be forgiven for having doubts and I half expect one or two to escort me to the airport to make sure I board the plane.
So I am quietly counting down the next three weeks, trying my best to avoid getting too excited. I have a tattoo booked for next week celebrating my time in Australia, and a dry suit diving course to complete so I can dive in Iceland. Yes. Diving in Iceland will be cold. I know. I also have to pack my bags.
Next stop, Reykjavik, Iceland.
Wherever you are in the world, I hope you’re doing well. Keep smiling.