There is a lot to be said about the ‘countdown’ to travelling.
The ‘ticks on a calendar’ and the ‘T-minus blah blah blahs’. They are filled with excitement and you struggle to sleep more than a kid high on sugar waiting to go to Disney World. But for a first (or even second in my case) time backpacker, the countdown is something that you both love and yet, hate for turning you into a neurotic mess.
Within any 24 hour period you are likely to go from ‘OMG I can’t believe I’m going to….’ to ‘OMG I can’t do this, I need to cancel everything’ with a whole load of other rollercoaster emotions inbetween. Oh! And let’s not forget that you’ll probably be so emotional you’ll cry over the most ridiculous of things like, you know, when Harry Potter cries over his friend’s death *ahem*
Sure, you’re super excited to leave; I mean who wouldn’t? You’re about to ditch the parentals and their rules (together with their looks of disapproval and rolling in at 4am – pfft they did it all and more in their day I’m sure) for a prolonged period of time. You’ll have no work and, more importantly, no ego-effected boss to listen to and the weather, wherever you’re going, is likely to be a million times better than where you’re living. BUT (and this but is bigger than Kim Kardashian’s)…you are INCREDIBLY SCARED.
You’re about to head out into the big wide world all by your lonesome and you’ve spent months listening to everyone and their ’10 pennies/cents/euros etc etc’ worth of advice which is usually just something they’ve stolen from the Guardian newspaper or a ‘friend of a friend’s child’ story.
Within a week you’re expected to have lost of all your luggage, been attacked, got lost for a period of more than 4 hours, cried from lack of English-speakers around, got so drunk you couldn’t find your way back home (even clicking red heels didn’t work) and have caught an STI from your first ‘private party’. Yep, welcome to hell.
However, the minute after all of those negative thoughts have rushed through your head you will land on the cusp of realising just how life-changing your adventure is going to be. You’re not starting a new job or moving around the country. You are leaving your entire life behind to define a path for yourself in the complete unknown (ok, not so ‘unknown’ since EVERYTHING is online these days but you get my drift). You can party until the sun rises, lay in bed until dinner time or lose yourself meditating in a Buddhist monestry.
Quite frankly, the run up/countdown to extensive travelling is, well, exhausting!
You’re telling the world that you can’t wait and you’re incredibly excited etc but you’re secretly wearing an adult diaper for all the poop you’re crapping in your pants. Non-travellers don’t understand why you’re so hesitant to get on the plane, why one minute you’re jumping with excitement and the next you want to cancel your flights.
I’m not a seasoned backpacker, I’m still new at this game. Big trips like this still scare the bejeebers outta me but, as I’ve said before, it’s all about faking it till you make it. Keep telling yourself that everyone will be okay and it will be work out eventually.
TAKE THE LEAP, LANDING IS ALWAYS WORTH IT
p.s. We are currently at T-minus 5 days =D