The idea about this trip is that I would put my things in storage, rent the house and live off the proceeds. I have given myself six months to get the house in order. It has been slow at times. I have done endless trips to the charity shop, it was wonderful to get rid of things. I am amazed at how much I accumulate that I don’t need. One of the things I look forward to in my trip is just having a suitcase and not an entire wardrobe of things I don’t wear. I have been strict, have not worn this in two years, clearly I don’t need it, so out the door it goes.
Three months before leaving I got in touch with movers with a storage facility and a month later they came to get most of my things. The approach was, if I am way for one year it is going to cost me X to store this junk, am I better off ditching it and buying new things when I get back. Which is what I did for a lot of it. I feel I should have done it even more. I had the decorators in and the house was ready to start showing to potential tenants eight weeks before departure.
People keep asking if I am nervous or worried, they mean the trip, actually being away. For me what is stressful is getting ready, making sure everything falls into place. There is so much to coordinate. Once I am out there, I know I will be fine. I have done a trial packing session, the truth is I don’t plan to take that many clothes so a small wheelie suitcase will do the trick. I will be away for perhaps a year and I am thinking about including one luxury item, something I don’t need but really want to take with me…I have an idea but can’t decide…what would your luxury item would be?
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?