Firstly, apologies for being totally AWOL over the past month, my departure date has been creeping up on me and in between trying to cram in all the hours under the sun (and an extra job!) and preparations for leaving I have been one busy lady. No time for blogging, but plenty of time for worrying about all the things I still have left to do. Nevertheless, the time has finally come… my Australian adventure starts tomorrow!… OMG
So in a whirlwind of 70 hour working weeks, multiple leaving dos and frantic efforts to tick things off my to-do list, the week I’d been waiting for was finally upon me – Graduation Week! Everything was centred around this week; it was the reason I had moved back home to work until now (as I knew I couldn’t move abroad until after I had graduated), it was the last time I would see all my family together before I left, it was a reunion for all my Uni friends and the perfect send-off before my trip. Having spent the summer with very little social life (and I’m not moaning here, I knew that would be the case and it’s worth it now my bank balance looks slightly more prepared for Australia than it did in its post-uni, overdraft-heavy state), graduation week was my chance to really let off some steam (and by that I mean drink bucketloads of champagne and throw on my glad rags).
Just as the weeks leading up to it, Grad Week flew by in a blur of applause, good food, great company, champagne, dancing and hangovers. The final hurrah was the Graduation Ball, which ended in my sudden realisation that this was the last time I’d see my friends. This is the bit I really can’t stand about travelling. Excitement sets in so early for me and I spend so many hours dreaming about just getting on the plane that when it hits me this means saying goodbye I tend to get a bit overwhelmed. Any traveller will probably relate; you know you leaving means a new adventure and that it’s something you really want to do, plus it’s never goodbye for that long, but sometimes the dreaded, horrible and heart-wrenching moment occurs… you forget why you’re going. I have to admit this happened to me a few days ago. I returned from Bournemouth back home to say goodbye to my family before spending my final few days in the UK with my boyfriend. After a wonderful weekend spent with them on the sofa in PJs with bottomless tea, I suddenly forgot why I was leaving all this behind. The lump in my throat grew larger and I squeakily admitted this in a quiet voice to my mum and sister…
I don’t remember why I’m going…
In the hope that this helps just one person reading this who might be feeling the same thing, I’ll tell you how I overcame it. Firstly, just saying it out loud helped. My family’s response was not to just cry with me and beg me to stay, but to boost me up. Unselfishly, my mum reminded me of all the reasons I was going, she recounted to me all the times I’d told her how excited I was for this adventure, how many times I’d wearily trudged to work dreaming of the Australian coast, how much effort I’d put into saving, and all the times before that I’d been sad to leave but have had wonderful trips. My sister is my best friend, and she could have easily agreed with me and told me she didn’t know why I was going either, but she didn’t, she echoed my mum’s words and reminded me that home is only ever a plane ride away. After admitting my fears, the next step was to simply take it one day at a time. That’s not scary, just one day after the next. I knew I would miss them, but going over in my head all the things I was looking forward to really did help. In short, when the fear sets in the answer is speaking up, trying to count in your head all the things you’re excited about just taking each day in turn. It’s not about what you’re leaving behind, it’s about all the things you’re moving towards.
So now the fear has subsided somewhat, I’ve spent the last few days at my boyfriend’s doing all my last minute preparations before I leave. I feel hugely productive (a feeling I have to admit I have missed since uni) as I slowly ticked things off my list…
- Get phone unlocked – check
- Travel insurance – sorted
- Sort Australian bank account – done
- First few nights of accommodation – booked
- All those last minute toiletries – purchased
It’s now my last full day and now that the to-do list has dwindled, I plan to spend it reading every single blog I can find about working holidays in Australia and how great people have found them (I’ll probably skip those recounting how horrible it was and of early homecomings). My boyfriend and I are going for a meal by the Quay this evening for our last night together, so I’ll probably spend an unnecessarily large amount of time getting ready for that and emotionally preparing myself for when the fear sets in again. Whenever it may be, tonight or tomorrow when he drops me at the airport (!), I’m sure I’ll forget why I’m going again… but now I know I just need to breathe, relax, look forward and take it slow. Sure, it’s horrible saying goodbye… but it’s not really goodbye, just bon voyage!
PS – any more tips on getting over those wobbly moments are most welcome!