Sometimes you don’t realise how profound your decisions are until its well too late to turn back. My decision to travel for a year was not one of well considered rational examination but a momentary flash.
“What the hell! I’m going to travel for a year!”
I had considered asking my employer for an extra weeks leave so I could travel to Europe for five weeks, but the thought of running around trying to see everything in a short period of time didn’t seem right.
Wandering around the world for the better part of a year has been an extraordinary experience. There have been times of loneliness, frustration and worry, but these have been profoundly outweighed by the adventure, discovery, excitement, joy, friendship and fantastic moments of,
Just so much, “WOW!” That it has changed my life profoundly.
There has been plenty of time for contemplation. Time on trains, planes and buses. Time in airports, stations, bus terminals, sunset watching, ocean gazing, mountain staring and walking. In fact a lot of walking.
Walking has become my main mode of transport. To get to hostels. To see cities. To get meals and just getting around in general. At the beginning of the trip I walked the Camino De Santiago Compostela, an eight hundred kilometre pilgrimage from St Jean Pied De Port to Santiago De Compostela in the West of Spain. It was a fabulous experience of discovery, adventure, struggle, pain, joy, fun, comradeship and healing.
When you walk for six to eight hours everyday there is plenty time to think. To think about life. To think about where you’ve been. To punish yourself for all the stupid things you’ve done, be thankful for all the wonderful things you’ve experienced and to heal the raw wounds from when you’ve been hurt.
For me, there was plenty of struggle on the Camino. Struggle with my blistered feet. Struggle with my body and struggle with my mind, but the friendship and support of the amazing people I met and the beauty of the Spanish countryside enabled me to conquer all of these. Completing the Camino is something that I will always hold dear as it has given me strength and allowed much healing and renewal in my life.
In the times of contemplation there have been many flashes of inspiration and intuition.
Recently, as going home looms closer and closer and thoughts turn to a new life in Melbourne, I had the thought of,
“Throwing all the cards of life in the air.”
I have met many people in my journey who have been challenged by the fact that I have quit my job to travel for a year. They are confronted by the fear of leaving the safety net of a forty an hour week job, suspending the support network of family and friendships and stepping into the unknown of the big wide world. There have certainly been moments of fear, worry, difficult challenges and confronting the unknown, but the sheer amazingness of the world and the people who inhabit it has been incredible compensation for these brief moments.
And so it seems that when I return home that it won’t be to return to the life of old but to take the cards of life and toss them into the air and see where they land.
It seems the excitement of life is to continue.