I’ve done it. I said that I would do it, would do it, would do it, I said that I would do it and indeed I did! I’m taking a break from work to travel.
I haven’t posted in a few weeks because I’ve been rather busy. I’ve been finishing up my current assignment at work without anyone to officially hand over to, done four performances of the musical Chicago with my theatre group, given up my cats to a new owner, and completely emptied my flat.
Such a brief list doesn’t even begin to describe what I’ve been through this past month. My mum often refers back to a school project I did on Helen Keller. At the last minute, my friend had told me that the project was due a week earlier than I thought, so I stayed up all night doing something that should have taken the full half-term holiday to do. I got a good mark for the project, although my messy handwriting was criticised; and of course it turned out that the deadline was later just as I had thought, and in fact my friend had not spent her holiday working on it at all, grr. But my mum’s point is that I demonstrated an incredible determination and stamina to get it done under extreme time pressure.
So I guess I have once again illustrated that tenacity in staying up until 2am after all-night rehearsals to pack my things into boxes; getting up at 7am to have workers come to fix my walls that the cats had ruined by scratching off the wallpaper; coordinating sales and donations of furniture with various friends, colleagues, and neighbours; remembering all the lyrics and dance moves for Chicago, also understudying another role; closing open projects at work and trying to ensure that the systems and frameworks I’ve set up will continue when I’m gone; spending time with my friends and their babies before going away; and trying to eat, drink and sleep somewhere in between. I had a huge amount of help from my amazing friends, one in particular; I had a severe migraine halfway through the dress rehearsal; and my immune system has now given up and I’ve come down with a bad cold. But I did it! I’m now officially homeless and free to travel around South America, including a week-long cruise in Galapagos and a four-day trek to Machu Picchu, as I’ve long longed to do.
I’ve been talking about taking a break from work to travel to South America for years but it really was just talk. I’m not sure what changed – one trigger at least was a lunch I had with someone I barely knew but who was super supportive and inspired me to actually turn my plans into reality. And if you can’t do this kind of thing when you’re young and single, when can you do it? So after not taking any decisions for six years, I’ve now taken them all in one go! Throughout these stressful few weeks, I’ve felt 100% certain that I was making the right decisions, and this has given me an underlying sense of calm. I’m fortunate that my work allows for a personal leave of absence and I have a guaranteed job to come back to, so I have freedom but at the same time I have a cushion of security. I look forward to my journey, both physical and personal, and hope you’ll enjoy sharing in my adventures from afar. Wish me luck! I’m off to Paradise Falls…