Step Six: Taking Off
It’s the night before we leave for the big trip. We’ve spent the day packing up, first our rucksacks (which were larger and heavier than we anticipated), then the rest of our stuff to put into storage. We’ve spent the weekend saying our final goodbyes to friends and housemates, between frantic last minute preparations. And, after dropping our bags and boxes to a storage unit, we’re now at Adam’s parents house, where the last minute preparations are continuing in the form of photocopying documents and confirming flights.
Something about this is making me feel like a teenager again. Maybe it’s the fact that we’re both now homeless and jobless. Maybe it’s the fact that we brought a bag of clothes to Adam’s parents house to wear when we return, assuming we’ll be staying with them for a while. Maybe it’s the fact that we also brought a load of laundry with us, as we didn’t have time to do it that morning.
The goodbyes weren’t as upsetting as I thought they would be. Probably because they were so spread out- it’s been over a week since I had my final work night out, two weeks since I said goodbye to some of my friends, and several days since I flew back to London from Ireland after saying goodbye to my family. I feel like I’ve been talking about leaving for so long that it just needs to happen already. And so do others, apparently- one friend, after saying what they thought was their final goodbye to me, greeted me last Saturday night with “are you STILL here?”
That said, the reality of an entire year away from everyone I know does sink in every now and then. When I’ve gone away before for a few months at a time, I always return to find everything as I left it, and find myself slipping easily into my old life. But will this be the case after a whole year? Whenever I start to feel down about it, I just remind myself how incredible the next year is going to be, and when I think of the alternative, staying where I am, I know I made the right decision to go.
It’s funny, I always thought of myself as the emotional one, and Adam as the practical one. I’m realising today that that’s not entirely true. For weeks I’ve been a stressed mess, convinced that I had no idea what I was doing, and that I was forgetting major things I had to get done. But now, the night before we fly, I feel totally calm. The checklist is finally finished, and if there’s anything I forgot to do, it’s too late now. Adam, on the other hand, after being a pillar of calm for the past few weeks, convinced that I was exaggerating when I talked about our workload, is now nervously pacing around, worried about imaginary things that might go wrong. It’s nice that after all these years we’re still learning about each other! After spending the next year side by side, I wonder what else we’ll learn…