Monday 7 February 2011
Back to the Future
Or ‘Why moving to a new city for the second time is easier’;
Alternatively: ‘I didn’t want to leave Dublin, but now that I’m here, I’m actually quite glad.’
As ardent followers of this blog [n=6] will have noticed, my enthusiasm for blogging waned at the end of 2010. The truth is I was tired of travelling. When I left my job in London and started The Big Adventure, I itched to explore. I loved the freedom of No Stuff. I liked the lightness it gave me. I liked my new-found openness. Greece, France, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Australia … the further, the better. Until I found myself in Melbourne in the grip of winter, hard at work and feeling like I’d made a mistake. This wasn’t fun, it was too far, I missed my home, my family, my friends and, yes, my stuff. I persevered and reminded myself that this was a different kind of adventure: less holiday, more work. But still, the feeling of having had enough lingered. Certainly, by the time of my New Zealand trip at the end of the year, I felt, too often, like I was going through the motions: glacier, check; mountain, check; city, check. When I finally made it home to Dublin, I never wanted to leave.
Two months seems like a long time at one end, and like no time at all on the other. As the date of my departure for Melbourne approached I went through the motions of getting ready to leave, but found it very hard to convince myself that I really was going back to the other side of the world. Until, suddenly, there I was, in Dublin Airport again, saying goodbye again. Is there anything worse than the moment where you have to turn your back and walk away? I swear that I considered turning around, asking if I could stay, letting the plane go without me.
The journey is strange: the closest thing to inter-planetary travel most of us will ever experience. It’s a foggy cycle of announcements, movies, funny, compact meals that goes on and on and on. Abu Dhabi airport at nighttime added to the surreal feeling: essentially one huge duty free shop with a few seats.
And then I got off the plane and it was summer and I thought, surprised, ‘oh I like Melbourne’ and realised that this wasn’t such a bad result after all. The second time round the city is familiar. I recognised landmarks on the way in from the airport. I have a phone that works and a bank account (with money in it, even.) I have friends here. People welcome me back.
And what’s this? Why, it’s my dormant sense of adventure, uncurling and stretching. And so I have resolved to make the most of the next five months. My name’s Eithne. I’m a Lady Traveller – and I like it.
Plans for the next few months include going to Tasmania to visit the recently-opened Museum of Old and New Art, going to Alice Springs so that I can see what A Town Like Alice really looks like (and finally see some Outback) and sorting myself out with a bicycle so I can explore Melbourne more thoroughly. I also have a mad idea to visit Samoa, but will have to see how I go. If you have any suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments.