I booked my flights to Asia today, and I’m actually really (pardon my French) fucking nervous.
And I’m not nervous in my typically exaggerated sense, such as when I ‘panicked’ on finding out I was travelling the Middle East during Ramadan, but nervous in the traditional sense. My blood is thrumming lowly through my body, my heart is beating just that bit quicker and I can feel a light-but-ever-present tension since my flight confirmation came through. My neck, my arms, my shoulders, every part of my body, is just that bit more rigid, that ounce more stiff, unable to relax no matter how much I inhale and exhale and eat to distract.
I’m overthinking everything but nothing.
In fact, I know that if I think about it too much, I may have a full-blown panic attack.
So actually, even though I’m blocking all coherent thought out, I’m incapable of blocking the feelings out.
Because this summer, I’ll be leaving my home to go on my longest solo trip ever – to teach English in South East Asia. My year long draft contract has come through, I’ve been in contact with the two lovely women I’ll be living with, and I’ve even ‘met’ some of my colleagues at the school via a Skype meeting with my supervisor.
It’s real and it’s happening, very much so. And not like how I thought moving to Colombia was happening. This is genuine.
I’m moving abroad for a year. This is considerably more time than the two to three months I typically spend abroad, such as when I went to India in January 2017, or to Thailand, Cambodia and Bali in September 2017. Hell, even right now… I’m only in the Middle East for a couple of months. This will be for a year.
I’ve desired this since I was 16 years old (when I first discovered my love of history and different cultures because I was obsessed with my Eastern European history class) and the utter want to move abroad and discover and learn something new has never died down. Ignored and pushed away certainly, but never entirely forgotten. So it’s not like the excitement and amazement that I’m doing this nine years later isn’t present, it’s just that those feelings are currently heavily buried under the sheer amount of nerves I’ve already mentioned I’m blocking out.
Also, I find that, on all of the travel blogs I’ve personally followed, I’ve not read one article on people who are freaking the hell out because they’re moving abroad. Or if they are, it’s mentioned in passing and then neglected as they write about all the things they’re instead excited about (although perhaps they’re too blocking the feelings?). But I can’t do that yet. I’m too nervous about what I’ll potentially miss than to write about what awaits.
Because my nerves are only because I’ll miss people. Everything else, like culture shock, keeping my veganism in a heavily based meat country, finding make-up that won’t break me out, etc. can be dealt with once I’m in the country, and I actually look forward to those challenges (although maybe not the make-up one!), but it’s just… this feeling, I’m not sure how to remedy. I mean, can I really look forward to missing people like I’m looking forward to the hardship of everything else?
Firstly, I’m worried that I’m throwing something good away. That I’ve found someone who I absolutely adore, and who I believe adores me, and that I might ruin it all by leaving. Notwithstanding the fact he’s 100% supportive of this, I can’t help but think about what could be, and the affect and changes this will cause.
Then, I’m worried about my friends. I have the most amazing friends. Friends who I’m blessed to have. Friends who I miss the most whenever I go travelling: I send them voice messages when I’m in a club and ‘our songs’ come on, drunkenly screaming the lyrics at them, I message them everyday with stupid pictures and facts and they do too. I’m literally in love with them. And even though I know our relationships won’t change, I keep worrying that I’ll miss the important things. I mean, what if one gets married? And another pregnant? Or, oh God, maybe someone has a house-warming party because they’ve finally managed to get on the bloody expensive property ladder and they now have an actual mortgage!? I would love to attend. My point is, is that I would want to be there for all of it, and it bothers me that I may not.
Lastly… it’s my family. My Mum is literally one of my best friends, and the prospect of only seeing her once in the year if she can fly out to see me, is quite upsetting. We speak pretty much everyday, and see each other when we can. I’m already missing the Brasilian restaurant with its passion fruit caipirinhas we frequent in Camden Town, alongside our shopping trips where I usually ask her to buy me shoes and hats I don’t need because I’m a cheapskate.
My brothers will grow older, and that will be strange too, to not be there as it happens. I’ll be buying my Dad and stepmum presents from across the globe (as I already am for Fathers Day, as I’m in Jordan), and thinking about my return journey, when they’ll be there to greet me upon my return at the airport, is already making me quite happy – and I’ve not even left yet!
I can write a much longer blog post about each of the people I’ll miss and why. I could probably turn it into a novel with just how many words it would be, but I’m refusing to do that here as I’ll probably end up cancelling the trip due to homesickness before I’ve actually left home!
I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for this opportunity – I always am when I travel because I recognise how much of a privilege it is – but damn, the nerves are getting to me tonight. I don’t think I realised, in the months between getting the job and then getting prepared to leave England, that I would be this affected. I thought that excitement and dream fulfillment would be the overriding emotions by a long shot. Not this dull terror. Because I really am quite frightened now that it’s actually happening, and I’ll be honest, if the right people seriously asked me to stay, I would consider jacking in the job strongly. But, as aforementioned (because I do need to keep reminding myself too), I’ve wanted exactly this since I was 16, and it may be a good idea to also have some stability for a while.
But this, this dream that has plagued me and shaped my life immensely over the past two years… is, dare I say, coming true, and yes, I’m worried.