Iz Going Travelin' - Written April 4th 2013

Disclaimer: Forgive the lack of punctuation ... this used to be my stylistic flow

The past 12 months I've maintained a miserable lifestyle - in this time I have moved, attempted to finish my bachelors, resorted to getting a roommate (a good decision after time) and became public enemy no. 1 at my work - I'm exhausted and terribly unhappy  - and it's beginning to show - this is also the longest I've spent without family, my closest friends have begun to ignore me and my idea of fun is sitting on my phone looking at mobile dating sites - life is too short for this so when a friend propositioned me to move overseas I asked that she not allow me to dream out loud - moving out of the country has been a life long dream - something that I just couldn't imagine for myself - something that was meant for other people - however, she convinced me that now is no better time - being that we are young, single and childless - we had no real responsibilities - and she made travel seem casual and attainable - as long as I got a passport - the time and money would come

That notion came months ago and since then plans have changed ten-fold - I imagined myself boarding a ship with all my personal effects and embarking on a new citizenship - but I quickly realized a one way trip was more tedious than that. The claiming of ones finances, the ownership of so many "things", Visas and such - there was no way I could just take the leap - so I proposed an extended trip of sorts - one where there was luggage and hotels - however my friend was more interested in house shares and villa rooms - she arranged French lessons - she bought a ticket to London - she would stay there for six days and visit friends - then she would travel by train to her destination - and once there her accommodations were already booked

So back to the drawing boards - how could I ever keep up? - whatever she had paid for I wouldn't have the money to match it - I couldn't ask an airline to hold the seat next to hers for months on end - I didn't know anyone in London - I don't even want to see London - so it occurred to me that dreaming out loud was a mistake - something I never should have engaged in - I have a car, two dogs and a job - why would I walk away from all of this just to be alone in a strange country - just whose idea was this anyways - and it was clear - her plans won't be my plans - but having planted this idea to go I could link up with her - on my own terms - each of us could make it what we wanted - the decision was to be made on my own - I could come in June - after her classes were complete - we could be acclimated to the city and then travel the rest of Europe - blow dryers, cafes and footed baths - this is what modern travel was made for

From this point on began a world of dreaming - imagining my style of dress I tore my closet apart - I shopped with Paris in Summer on my mind - I thought about the luggage I would buy - I began to learn the language - I even smiled a bit more than usual - and then the bad thoughts came - would I arrive with 90 days worth of tampons? - how on Earth would I leave my job of 8 years? - who would take care of my dogs? my car? - as much as I liked the idea of jet setting and resort hopping - nights in Ibiza, beach trips to Nice, beer in Belgium - there was no way of affording the actual travel all the while seeing and doing everything - I know what you're thinking - why would you make elaborate and high-risk plans knowing you couldn't fund them - I was dreaming okay - and living vicariously through someone who was decided and perfectly capable - someone who had less to lose and a lot to give - and it felt good at first - and then it became something I had to live up to - to follow through with - by any means 

In the past month, I've trolled for every blog, travel log, tips etc to learn the best way to travel overseas and see the most for the least amount of money - I thought to myself I'm Black and there will be some Black girl travel blogs about going overseas on a budget - I found plenty of Black girl travel blogs all right - women who married and left America with their prince, women who opened businesses between Europe and the States and women who didn't really explain their back story but who happened to travel all over all the time - and their only advice was Black people do travel - well having seen that - I wondered what was the alternative - and there was none - for me by people like me at least - so I began to research backpacking - I truly wanted to unload not to take on - and I felt as if traveling between house share to hotel with my friend was not only going to be expensive but very materialistic - I would need a zillion things - I would be bound by check in times and tourist itineraries - backpacking would eliminate it all and save me a great deal of time and money - and both were luxuries I hadn't had in some time 

When I looked at backpacking sites - I thought there has to be some refined way of doing this - I don't have to be technically homeless with camping gear on my back - I thought European shops are only so big and stairwells are steep - I'm a very short and chubby person - I couldn't really dig the idea of going out rolling down a spiral of stairs or knocking over some keepers priceless steins - I continued to hunt for ideas, alternatives - little packs - rolling cases - ways to bring a laptop - options for bringing a few pairs of normal shoes - I imagined wearing old cotton weekend shirts, ripstop shorts and Tod's loafers - I could relax on the trains at night and stay in air conditioned galleries by day - I would partake in street food and conversational French - I'd close the day with a beer and meet a new friend - when stressed I would blog - internet cafes were everywhere - I'd have a decent phone to call "home" with - I'd stay at hostels most of the time - and every two weeks I'd contact my friend and stay in a nice hotel or inn - there I would do the maintenance I was accustomed to - like exfoliate and wash and comb out my hair - re-pack my things - send things I no longer needed home etc - this was backpacking - but my way - on another level

From the moment I made up my mind on this things began to fall into place - I was able to get an unlocked phone - work became harder therefor easier to leave - my family was on board - my roommate was okay with taking things I could live without - it was easy to go through my possessions and devise what would be taken, left behind or sold - I began to plan myself - and when I informed my friend - she was happy for me - and now it wasn't dreaming - it was known - it was verbal - you could see this climatic change from a complacent retail employee to a free worldly woman - I thought to myself I may not be able to do things like sleep with nine pillows or microwave a burrito - but I would be seeing so much - and really doing things while evaluating myself - getting to know me on another level - and that is why I had to make the choice alone - it was never about having some BFF trip to Europe - it was about us both making some serious changes- I don't really know her end goal - I know she wants to move to France - but I cannot say if I'm ready for that - I can say if I manage well for 90 days across a continent - I may chose to live nowhere for a while

The closer I get to a one way ticket, a decent bag and my passport arrival I think I'll be more inclined to make an extended decision - for now it is all about putting myself in a place where I am not tethered - I will quit my job, my car and dogs will go to my mother and only my functional things will be put in storage - my material things will be sold or given away and I will take my life savings and go - the timeline to leave is less than 60 days - which is very rash in comparison to bloggers who have taken years journaling the way over - the plan is to go and see what I can in 90 days - if I like where I am and wish to stay I'll attempt to secure a place and a job within that time - I will return after that to collect my personal effects, my dogs and possibly my car and go "home" - if I get there and the nomadic life speaks to me I may not come home until I a. run out of money or b. get into trouble - if I go and nothing seems worth it I'll search for a place and another job online and go site unseen into a new life - I say new life because I hope to be ever changed - I hope to be better off - I may return physically run down and financially broke - but I think I may be very wealthy internally - in mind and body

My friends last day is soon - I'm fastly approaching my own edge - most of my things are already packed - my mother will be here in less than two weeks - the plan is to pack up and restart my life in less than a month - we'll both drive back to her place out of state in my car with the dogs - if we survive that trip I'll stay with her and my family for about two weeks - once she is privy to every private detail about my life - I will board a plane to the unknown - I may have to manage for a week before seeing my friend - she'll be staying just outside of Paris at an old friends - she would have been there for at least 2 weeks - I will await her classes end - and I hope she'll accompany me - but as the plan has changed a few times so can her mind - and so far I'm psyched out enough to go it alone - we are supposed to discuss an itinerary but I'd rather not - I know what I need to see and what I need to do to see it all - the only plan is to survive, sleep and eat without missing anything - and I've accepted that some days I may go hungry, I may not have a place to sleep or I may be tempted to call home for a hasty extraction - I just don't want to concern myself with what I left behind or stress myself with the expat procedure - I'd rather just embrace my well deserved freedom and roam - and when I think of blow dryers, cafes and footed tubs - I'll recall the Ecstasy of St.Therese and Champs Elysee and afternoons of Spanish tapas and constant daylight of Prague - and the sacrifice of such small meaningless things will be well worth it - heres to dreams ….

No comments: