I’ve had this idea in my head to go travelling since at least January 2012. For most of last year it felt like a long, safe time away: ‘sure there will be lots to do but I have ages!’
Then work went crazily busy around August. I went on holiday (last one before the big one!) and then, after two weeks of mal de debarquement syndrome, I found myself just getting stuck in to life as usual. Organised a birthday pub crawl (it was fun! Massively appreciate those who came along; not so much all those who either just ignored the invite or acted surprised that I’d thought they might deign to join me…) Worked too many hours, subconsciously, unsuspectingly, on the basis of ‘once I’ve got through this workload this week, it’ll get better…’ Stopped seeing friends quite so much (I realise now). Thought I needed to be staying in to plan and save money for my big project. Still worked too many hours and felt pressure to be doing even more. Unwittingly allowed all the bad habit thoughts of depression to creep back in (I realise now!)
Christmas: Right I really think the best thing is if I just book the flights, then I’ll have an immovable deadline and it will really motivate me into putting my plans first and work second! Ha. That worked for about a week maybe! My team were off repeatedly for various reasons until about late February, so I had to cover for them, my own work building up again. Deadline after deadline came and had to be met… particularly as I have no idea how to stop trying! Tried to put on a brave face, kept reminding people to keep smiling, thinking ‘it will be ok, I’m out of here soon, this is why I’m going, I get to leave all this behind for a while’. Put extra-curricular effort into improving an away day at work to stop everyone being BORED OUT OF THEIR BRAINS as usual, the date and scope of which kept creeping but once you’re in, you’re in and just think of the difference it will make and how satisfying it will be to see everyone at work SMILE for once like everyone should be able to do…
Oh my god it’s mid-March and I go in three months!!!
All I had really done by that point was book the flights and a couple of the organised tours: Galápagos volunteering, Spanish school, Inca trail. I’d worked out approximately what route I wanted to take and made a list of all the things I still needed to do. I’d made contact with a couple of people and bought a couple of the things I felt were essential for my contacts with home while I’m travelling. I’d also got rid of just a few possessions to charity shops.
I’d also stopped really trying to find time to see or contact friends and had definitely started thinking they don’t really want to see me anyway. I get so sick of hearing myself tell people how crap I’m feeling, but I don’t like pretending everything is fine when it’s not. They all have happy stuff going on in their lives, and their own problems, why would they want to listen to me, worried as always, about how I can’t stop working and that’s getting me down because it’s stopping me from having some company and planning my scary year off to escape to do what I want and see some amazing places around the world… poor me.