….but we are all fabulous.
What is it about travel? I love planning my next trip, get itchy feet if I stay in the UK for too long and lust over all the exotic places I have yet to visit. Yet once I’m on my way and out of my comfort zone, I become a bit anxious and fearful and on the lookout for SIGNS OF DANGER… as a result I see them or their potential all around.
But as I get older and amass more of these uncomfortable yet intoxicating experiences, I realise (not for the first time) that my experience is completely normal.
There is a poem by the Merlion in Singapore by Edwin Thumboo. One section reads as follows:
“I kept faith with Ithaca, travelled, travelled and travelled, suffering much, enjoying a little; met strange people singing new myths; made myths myself.”
Ulysses by the Merlion, Edwin Thumboo, 1977
Now I have enough money, not enough to travel in first class, but certainly enough to be comfortable and not to have to “suffer” or to rough it unless I choose (which I don’t very often), but still, being away from family, friends and home can be really unsettling and uncomfortable until the unfamiliar starts to become familiar.
A few days later
So we’ve been in Singapore 5 days now. Just long enough for the travel weariness to be easing off and to be getting the hang of how things work. We are leaving later today and off to Sydney and whilst I imagine the acclimatisation time will be shorter thanks to the shorter flight, fewer hours time difference and greater familiarity (we’ve both visited Sydney before), I will need to remember that the initial disorientation does pass.
What’s more, I am now starting to feel the benefits of being away from home. Freed from normal routines and domestic chores (for these few days we are in a serviced apartment), I can feel space opening up in my mind. This space is what facilitates some of the worry (see Early Days above) but as that settles, it also facilitates new ways of seeing your own life and from a work perspective it facilitates fresh insight and renewed enthusiasm. I have written and submitted a paper this week, starting from scratch, something I rarely have the mental space to do at home.
Space and clutter
Space is something that my OH and I have noticed on a domestic front too. We have both started feeling the need to declutter considerably when we get home. It’s a far from original observation but living out of a suitcase you realise how little you need to live. Furthermore you also realise how much the clutter of possessions can be like a physical and mental weight. Just thinking about my office at home makes me feel tired, so it’s no wonder that I feel less productive there. We will be returning in January – just in time for a good old spring clean!!