I sit here in the sky. It’s quiet aboard my flight as it’s long past midnight Australian time and we have fourteen hours ahead of us before we land in Abu Dhabi sometime tomorrow morning. We’re crammed in like sardines so I’m finding it difficult to sleep. The little girl beside me keeps cuddling up to me until her mother smiles apologetically and shifts her again. It’s not bothering me because I know that what is a long flight for me will seem like an eternity to a small child.
And besides, I have a lot to think about. See, over the past week I have decided to actively pursue long-held dreams to be a traveler. It’s not been an easy decision and certainly hasn’t come without sacrifice. But sometimes it’s the difficult decisions and sacrifices that are the most important to make.
In the southern hemisphere spring, I will be leaving the life I’ve spent the past 15 years creating. I’m selling my beautiful big house with it’s lush gardens and spacious rooms to live in a tent for the foreseeable future. I’ve given my boss notice of my plans so I’ll be leaving my highly-paid professional job to live on a shoestring and see what new opportunities come my way. And I’ll be leaving a 16 year relationship to become a solo nomad (I will not be discussing this aspect of the change here on my blog out of respect for the only woman I’ve ever loved).
My plan is to fly to Patagonia to spend some time cycle touring what looks like an amazing part of the world. From there, I’ll travel north through Uruguay and Brazil until I’ve either seen enough of South America or reached Georgetown in Guyana. My rough plan is to cycle my way around the world. Whether I do and where I end up is still a mystery but my rough mud map is to fly from either Brazil or Guyana to the USA, where I hope to spend some time exploring the natural wonders that country has to offer before popping up to Canada. If I’m still enjoying life on the road, I might hop south west through Japan, South Korea and Taiwan to south-east Asia, exploring Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia. From Malaysia I think I’d like to fly across to Sri Lanka and cycle through India to Nepal. Right now, the ‘Stans don’t appeal to me so I might end up flying to Turkey as a jumping off point to explore Europe and Scandanavia. But who knows, the experiences of a few years on the road might change that – it’s too far away to say. But I know myself well and know I’m not a dare devil; so I’m not going to feel guilty if I skip the tougher stuff.
My planning is not intended to create in me an obligation. Rather, my rough planning has been for the sole purpose of showing myself that this adventure is possible. I’ll create no route maps nor will I set time frames. I’ve been doing that my whole adult life. Rather, I’ll borrow a guide books for South America from the library to learn a little about South America (until Friday, I didn’t even know where Uruguay was on the map) and I will take some Spanish language classes because I can’t imagine spending all that time without being able to hold a conversation. I’ve got some items I need to buy (like pannier bags), a house I need to sell and an exit strategy to execute at work (I’m not in a job where I can just give notice and leave).
I have the full support of my family and friends who all tell me they can see why I need to do this and that they also believe it’s the right decision for me. Time will tell what the journey holds. But for now I can go to Kenya with an open heart to fully experience what I see, hear, smell, taste and feel knowing that it is the first page of a new chapter in my life. One I never even thought possible until a week ago (I move quickly once I see opportunities knocking).