You Are Going by Yourself?

That is what most people say when they find out about my project. Project, you ask. Yep. A long term one, in fact. Ten years of daydreaming, making school runs, baking cookies, accumulating airmiles, homework tantrums, bedtime stories, becoming an armchair traveller par excellence and witnessing in awe as my kids have become adults.

I have always liked the idea of gap years, marking the transition between school and university, taking first steps, let loose onto the world. And this is a gap year of sorts. First steps onto the next stage of my life. One where I can lay claim to my space and time just as my fledglings take first flight.

It may sound crazy and irresponsible to leave two months before my youngest starts university. Part of me feels I should remain and be close to her. Part of me knows I have to do this trip, for me. And I hope both my children understand this. I think they do.

In many respects, I feel my life has been on pause for a long time. Knowing that they were small and needed me completely, utterly and without reserve and I was happy and privileged to be there for them. Ten years ago the idea came into my head that when empty nest time came, I would do a trip. I spent a long time thinking, first a vague notion in my head, then acknowledging this crazy idea and figuring out where I would go. And it seemed so far away. Something to aspire to, but far, distant.  For so long it was hard to imagine this day would come. Yet I have blinked and it is round the corner. Time for new discoveries, cultures, projects. Time to put my adventurer hat on.  Close your eyes and imagine putting your own hat on, what will it say?

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