The post that is leaving

Back in October, I wrote this post. The final sentence reads:

In 19 weeks, I’ll be gone and that is a fantastic feeling

Now, those 19 weeks are over. Tomorrow is the big day.

I’m doing what I set out to do – roll the dice.

Leave my pokey house share, finish work, get on a plane and fly away. Far, far away. Specifically, South America.

I was excited when I wrote that post. Now, I’m still excited but also very very nervous. I’m not sure why.

Afraid I won’t like it there? Afraid I won’t make any travel friends en route? Afraid I won’t enjoy the backpacker experience any more?

I think all of these things are probably true to some extent. But I think that’s normal as well.

What I really want to do is enjoy these next for months. Just relax, take the obstacles and problems that inevitably crop up when travelling with a deep breath, and get around them with a smile and a shrug.

A shrug because, really, things matter less when you’re on the road.

It’s all up to me though.

Up to me how I react to these situations. Up to me whether I have the courage to talk to fellow travellers. I’ll be all alone so, as intimidating as it is to go up up to a group of people you don’t know and say hi, it’s do or die.

You either do it or spend your time by yourself.

I’ve been one of the people who has been one of a group and was approached by a solo backpacker and I always always made them feel as welcome as possible.

Because I know how hard it can be for some people to do it and I’d like to think I’ll be given the same treatment.

It’s so strange to think that tomorrow, there will no more boring life that’s driven me to roll my dice, no more annoying and loud housemates, no more tedious job, no more monotony.

My days now will be varied and weird and full of spending money I’ve taken so long to save. My life for the next few months is literally about to be flipped on its head.

All of the things that I were so important to me and occupied my mind so often – girls, dating, money, savings, jobs, career paths, how I never see my friends any more, why I never have Friday night plans, how much my life sucks, how boring my life is – that’s all about to stop. Just like that. Gone.

It still doesn’t feel real. I don’t think it will until I set foot on foreign soil.

What this means for you, dear reader, is that I probably won’t be blogging for a while. I’m sorry to drop that bombshell on you. Be strong at this most difficult of times. Talk to your therapist. Ask your boss for some compassionate leave.

Seriously though, I love writing this blog but without a laptop or a tablet, I just don’t see how I’d manage it.

I have the WordPress app on my phone but my phone is an ancient steaming pile of faecal matter and I certainly don’t have the patience to type out a whole post on it. I also don’t know what the internet situation will be.

But, hey, never say never. I don’t know what awaits. Maybe I’ll hunt down an internet cafe one afternoon because I can’t fight the urge to unburden myself in written format.

This blog is my go-to therapeutic tool and, thinking about it, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that I’ll drop in from time to time to talk about what’s been happening. (There will be other blogs, it’s not you it’s me, etc.)

I think because this blog documents the time leading up to my decision to travel, then the period between booking the trip and leaving for it, maybe it would be a shame for it not to document at least a little bit of what I’m feeling from time to time.

Maybe I’ll do some really short little posts. Like a sentence or two summing up recent goings on. Something like that.

But we’ll see. No promises.

If I have WiFi from time to time, I’ll still be able to read, like and comment on your blogs. My phone can cope with that!

I suppose I should say that of course I want to have fun and enjoy my trip and meet some cool people and see all the amazing things Latin America has to offer, but what’s also massively important is to stay healthy and safe.

I’m not expecting every day to be a blast, and that’s fine, but if I can remain healthy and safe, that would be terrific.

Without getting too… I don’t know… sentimental about it, thanks for reading and liking and commenting over the past nine months since I started posting.

I’ve come to appreciate it so much more than I ever anticipated.

I love the interaction I get there, I really do. So, yeah, cheers.

And with that, I shall sign off.

Stay cool, you guys.

N x

The post that might be in trouble

Okay, first I have to qualify this post with a few things.

I have been out at the pub tonight and had a few beers, a I feel kind of drunk. Not incoherent and nonsensical, but just a but numb. You know when you feel a bit numb? Well, yeah, like that.

The second thing to say is that when I started this blog I wrote it as if no one would read it, which meant I wrote with total freedom and I wrote whatever I wanted because I didn’t give a shit about what people thought of it or me.

But as time has gone on (I started blogging in June) and I have noticed that people are reading it, I feel like I may have gotten away from my principles.

Those being that I wrote what was on my mind. I wrote about how I felt. That has been the cornerstone of this blog. It’s anonymous, I don’t know you and you don’t know me.

I can write freely and express myself and there is no fear of judgement, nor do I have to keep anyone happy.

As I said though, as I’ve seen the readership increase I worry more about what I should and shouldn’t say because I don’t want people to think I’m a dick. Or an idiot.

Well, “worry” is the wrong word. I don’t worry about it. I wonder if people will think I’m a dick, rather than worry about it.

So, I need to get back to that very first post. When I wrote as if no one was reading except myself. The thing is, I really like the interactions with my readers so maybe I can’t have it both ways.

Anyway, what I’m getting round to saying here is that I was going to write a post tonight about this girl but then I thought, actually no, I can’t write that. People will think I’m a fucking whining idiot loser.

And that’s when it hit me that I need to return to not giving a shit about what people think of me. All they know of me is what I post anyway, they have no idea about me as a real person. What my journey is all about.

I began this just to write what was in my head and that was it. So with all that in mind, I am going to write what is in my head now.

So, this girl is having a rough time at work at the moment. I messaged her today to ask her about it. She was really upset. I felt like I wanted to be there for her.

I wanted to make her feel better. To cheer her up. To be there for her.

Messaging her wasn’t enough. I’m thinking about asking her to meet up one more time before I leave.

I hate to be one of those people who read things into messages but I suggested something we should do when I get back and she said “When are you back? :(

The title of this post says I’m in trouble. And I am in trouble because I’m feeling some feelings I have only ever felt for previous girlfriends.

But she’s not a girlfriend. She’s a friend. I’ve known her for two years as one. As a friend. She’s a friend. A friend a friend a friend.

I don’t want to ruin that. I like meeting up with her. I like being with one of the prettiest girls in the room.

But what’s worse is the idea that I could start a relationship with her and it not work out. Jesus, I couldn’t bear the thought of her being angry or upset with me. But, invariably, that is what happens with girls I go out with.

Or, and this might be worse, what if I get bored of the relationship and I have to break her heart? I have had to do this several times before and it’s the worst feeling in the world.

People always think it’s rough on the people being broken up with, but for the person doing it, it’s a nightmare as well.

I could NOT do that do her. Or myself.

I think the risk here is greater than the reward.

It’d be great if I could just switch these feelings off.

But these feelings. These feelings in my chest. They persist. Unfortunately.

As I said, I’m thinking about seeing if she’s free after work this week. I’m busy over the weekend and I leave on Monday. That leaves three days.

I’ll ask her how she is tomorrow and if she’s still having a shit time of it, I’ll suggest we meet up so I can cheer her up. If not, I’ll probably leave it.

Maybe I should just leave it. Go away. Go travelling. Forget about all this. Take the four months away from it and clear my head. But I know, I just know, I’ll look forward to having WiFi so that I can send her messages and photos.

I won’t be able to resist.

She said in her messages to me earlier that I will have to go to see her for a house warming when I get back. That I can stay with her when I first return. She also said she wanted “constant updates” and I just don’t know what to do with this information.

She’s also talked about coming out to meet me while I’m travelling. But I just don’t know if she’s serious about that.

I think about how I’d feel if I came back and she was with someone. I wouldn’t like it. I didn’t much like it when she was with her ex’s or when she’d tell me about guys she fancied.

That’s one thing, I don’t think she’d talk to me about guys she was interested in if she was interested in being more than friends. All this could be all in my head.

I know, I know. Do something or I’ll regret it. If I saw someone else write this then I’d probably tell them the same thing.

I’ve written this even though I’m embarrassed by a lot of it. But at least I’m sticking to the principles of this blog and going back to basics – just writing what’s in my head.

I don’t know if it’s rambly or terrible to read or whatever but that’s not the most important thing here.

So there it is. I’m in trouble.

N x

The post that’s been saying goodbyes

It’s been a week of goodbyes. I’m doing them in stages.

A few on Friday, then a few more on Saturday.

There will be another one on Tuesday.

Then final ones on Sunday.

I felt a little emotional when I got back home last night, which I didn’t expect.

It’s just a bit weird to say to people “See you In July” when others are making plans for next weekend or the next month.

It turns out I’ll be missing out on quite a few things: Three 30th birthdays, two weddings, and a stag do. Which is a shame.

I don’t see my friends as often as I wish I did because they’re all so busy with their families but it’s these events that bring us together again. Reunite us.

So I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed to be missing out. On the birthdays and the stag do anyway. Not the weddings.

This is going to sound awful but I’m almost, almost, not totally, but almost glad I don’t have to go to them. Let’s face it, they’re a couple-fest. And really boring.

And they generally require dancing. An activity I hate and I only undertake following the consumption of a large quantity of alcohol due to peer pressure. (Fucking peer pressure?! What am I, 16?!)

But the birthdays and the stag do – I’m a bit gutted. They always involve lots of laughter and beer.

But hey ho, none of these plans were in place when I made my decision to leave the continent so I can’t have any regrets.

What was I supposed to do, hang around and put my life on hold on the off chance I got invited to birthdays and whatnot? I don’t think so.

Anyway, when I got back last night, I felt a bit like… I don’t know… melancholy. Not sad exactly, just… pensive.

I guess it’s normal when you know you won’t see people for over four months.

That’s the nature of goodbyes, isn’t it?

It’s easier to leave than to be left behind. Or so they say. (Don’t they? Or have I just made that up?)

I think it’s true.

I just keep in mind the reason I’m leaving everything behind – and everyone. The second I start to question my decision to leave or wonder if I’m doing the right thing or think, “Oh, I’m really going to miss such and such”, I think NO.

I remember all the things I dislike about my life at the moment.

I remember that I am rolling the dice. Shaking things up. Breaking the monotony. Indulging in some escapism.

It’s funny, I just rent a room in the house I live in at the moment so, obviously, I’m giving it up. When I told my friend this the other night she was like, “What, so when you come back you’ll be homeless?!”

Technically, she is right. I will have no home to come back to. I hadn’t really thought of it like this before. She said I could stay with her when I got back, which was nice, but the idea doesn’t bother me.

She was absolutely mortified at the thought of being in that situation but it really doesn’t bother me. Is that odd?

In fact, I find the notion quite liberating. Exciting even. It reminds very much of this George Clooney speech from the movie Up In The Air. (Brilliant film by the way).

Watch this little clip:

Now, I’m not saying I agree with his philosophy but I sort of see the logic to certain elements of it.

Specifically, the part about imagining waking up tomorrow with absolutely nothing. Is that terrifying? Or exhilarating?

I guess that depends on your own viewpoint but I can understand both sides of this particularly coin.

For someone that probably doesn’t take enough risks, it’s kind of at odds with my overall personality. Actually, now I think about it, it might not be.

Maybe actually having things and possessions and relationships and a mortgage and whatever else is what real risk is.

Because having very little = having nothing to lose. It’s risk aversion.

Yeah, I think I’ve stumbled upon something there.

And with that deep and meaningful thought, I will go and see what other mysteries I can solve. You know, while I’m on a roll.

Take care.

N x

The post that will miss her

Am I really not going to see you for four months?

That’s what she said to me before she got on her train.

Like she couldn’t believe it was real. That it was really happening.

As if to say, I know you’re going away for four months, but does that really mean I’m not going to see you for four months?

That’s what it does mean. That’s exactly what it means.

I suppose we can derive from that statement that she will miss me.

We were playful tonight.

Trying to swap her table mat for mine in the restaurant because she was embarrassed she’d spilled her drink on hers.

Me trying to swap it back. Then her deliberately spilling drink on mine too.

Flicking grains of rice at one another across the table.

Discussing crazy nonsense like which two halves of an animal would be the most perfect, and me mocking her suggestion of an ostrich legs and a elephant body because it would collapse.

Her belly laughing to the point of exhaustion.

The clasping of her hand on my arm to get me to stop making her laugh.

Which just makes me want to continue even more, of course.

It was fun.

I love being the one who makes her laugh.

Then those awkward moments when the other two people we are with, who are a recently engaged couple, look at each other, look at us, then smile knowingly to each other and we all know what they’re thinking.

So, um, yeah, quick – change the subject.

Accidental but incredibly noticeable brushed knees under the table.

Slightly awkward, nervous, almost intimidated feeling when we first arrive and it’s just me and her. Why? Why that feeling?

Her describing her friend’s brother who she thinks is “cute” and who “makes her laugh so much” and me thinking, “I bet I can make you laugh more” and feeling instantly jealous and competitive with the person I don’t know.

Suddenly feeling awkward and weird as she speaks of him and becoming very aware of myself and my hands and not knowing what to do with any part of my anatomy or where to look or what to say or how to react.

And then, shit, I’m not going red, am I?

And then being annoyed at myself because why don’t I know? Why am I feeling like that? She’s just a friend describing someone she likes. Why these physiological reactions?

My body cheats my brain and reveals me. I didn’t want this reaction. Where did they come from? I have no control over them. Go away.

Why do I not know how to react? It’s like being possessed by someone else.

Then there’s the intermittent, off the cuff references throughout the night of “I don’t think you should go.”

Other questions like “Will you have your phone?” and “Will you be able to message me?” and “I want daily updates.”

Then, at the end of the night, goodbye and a hug followed by those words:

Am I really not going to see you for four months?

That’s right. She’s not going to see me for four months.

It’s nice to matter. To someone. To her. I will miss her.

N x

The post that has a question

I’ll get right to it, shall I?

This is all hypothetical, by the way, and not representative of my current situation. But it is representative of something that might, might, be a choice open to me in the future.

It might very well not as well.

I’m just really interested in your opinion.

Let’s say you have a job. You don’t particularly like it. You don’t hate it but it is a bit tedious. And it can be annoying at times. It bores you on occasion and it’s unfulfilling most of the time.  The pay is poor and you have to watch what you spend. You get by with sacrifices.

Let’s say it’s a 5/10 job at best.

Your job, however, allows you to live in a particular way. It allows you to have a certain overall lifestyle that’s not easy to find and it’s one you really like. It’s not perfect but you enjoy it.

Let’s say it’s an 8/10 lifestyle.

So, my question is:

Would you be happy with your 5/10 job, as described above, if it meant you could have your 8/10 lifestyle, also as described above?

Do the ends justify the means?

I know what you’re thinking and yes, you’re right. It depends on probably loads of things and it’s not as simple as that and etc etc etc.

But, just for fun, just for the purpose of this little blog post, written by this little bloke (I’m 5 ft 10 – it’s average) who’s just interested to know what you’re initial gut feeling is, I’d be eternally (alright, not eternally, but temporarily) grateful to see what you’d do. Or what you did if you’ve faced that situation.

This isn’t one of those things where I’m hoping to get a certain answer either.

I’m unbiased.

I don’t want you to think this is all take take take on my part so, as an incentive for you, here’s a picture of a monkey carrying a puppy.

A monkey carrying a puppy.

You’re welcome.

N x