I made the decision to abandon the soul-destroying call-centre ship in favour of the bluer waters of international travel in 2009 when I was living in Cardiff and feeling thoroughly miserable with my lot in life. Back then I set my leaving date for May 2011 (determined to leave before my quarter-century mark) and set to planning my trip. I was forced to give myself a long wait since I was tied into a tenancy that did not leave a penny over at the end of each dreary carb-filled month and I knew I wouldn’t be able to save a thing until I’d moved back to my parental home and found another job (I cursed myself by swearing blind that I would never again wear that spirit-crushing headset – obviously I found myself under another one since an English Literature degree is apparently useless). Anyway; come Christmas 2010 and still having no money it was pretty apparent that the original departure date was not going to be a goer so I pushed it back to November 2011 and in the summer I pushed it back again to May 2012. In September I was just preparing to differ to November 2012 when my hands over-powered my cautious brain, picked up the phone and booked my internship for April. As such I have spent the last two and a half years planning my adventure to within an inch of its life and having phone conversations like this one:
“Good afternoon, how can I help?”
“Yeah I need to get a repair for my Aunty Margaret ‘coz her tap’s broken.”
“Ok that’s fine, what was your auntie’s name?”
An impatient sigh precedes “I told you – Aunty Margaret.”
A cupboard in my wardrobe has become my travel trousseau and has been steadily filling up with gear. I’ve read every travel book known to man and dissected every word of the Lonely Planet website’s Asia section. I’ve taken Luggage (my beautiful backpack) on a dry-run. Despite all this something odd happened last night; my older brother; oldest friend and confidant and down from London for Christmas, gave me a few uncharacteristically emotional words. I say uncharacteristically not because he’s not capable of emotional words but because he’s generally more inclined to re-enact Drop Dead Fred with his little sister and call me Snot-face. He told me how much he’d miss me and how proud he was and how brave I was and I choked up a little bit, I’m always a bit awkward with the open-hearted stuff and usually have to suppress a completely inappropriate nervous giggle reflex. Once I’d got the lump out of my throat I had a realisation: Now that Christmas is done the next big event is getting on that plane. Actually stepping into the airport, Luggage on my back and waving goodbye. After 30 months of that being an abstract ambition somewhere in the distance it’s suddenly very real. It’s so strange; it seems so different now than it did yesterday. Whereas I was dreading telling my boss I now can’t wait to get it out there, to scream it from the rooftops – I’m moving to Thailand! I’m starting a whole new life! All of a sudden I’m not worrying about how I’m going to afford my social life and save, I’m just axing the social life and not feeling bad about it, I’m completely motivated. And nervous. Not frightened – just nervous, I will miss my family so much but the time has come at very very long last.