I’m currently leaving Australia and heading for Bali – I’m coming close to traveling for 3 months now. There are a lot of wierd stages I go through and I spend time in my mind chewing on these stages and try to make sense out of them or figure out how to simply get through them quicker without losing my mind.
As I reflect on my last 3 months I think about all of the stages I’ve gone through in my head. Back in Eastern Africa my head was obsessed with not having a job and not using my brain in any logical, money-producing way. In South Africa I was so worried about traveling on my own once my sister left I was scared that I would be bored and not meet anyone! In New Zealand I was struggling with my budget living and sharing spaces in hostels. In Australia new craziness entered into my head – mainly around spending too much money and generally feeling rather old and boring. During my time in Australia I was living my old life of spending – yet knowing that I didn’t have any money coming in was torturing me. As much as I desparately wanted to live that old life of shopping, having spectacular dinners, taking cabs everywhere, going out clubbing every night – basically spending about $100 on a full night out – I was wracked with guilt. I was painfully aware of the taxi meter, the cost of each bottle of wine, the cost of having an appetizer AND an entree – and I felt myself add it all up oin my head and then be depressed. The wierd thing is that I wasn’t upset about spending the mjoney as much as I was upset about what I was spending it on. I love going out – but I didn’t want to blow through my travel budget on a New York like existance – I wanted to blow it on something different than NY and the life I was so accustomed to. However in all honestly – there wasn’t that much different between Australia and say – California. Maybe that’s why I was on edge a bit. I loved being with Angie, but I was luke-warm on Australia. Sure it was nice, the cities were interesting, beaches were nice – but it was all really expensive there and I didn’t get anything that different for my momey. I didn’t have to struggle through a language barrier, the landscape was like the US and the food was pretty much the same as home. Except for the occasional ‘G’day Mate’ or ‘How you going?’ – I felt like I was at home living my old life. Yet – there was another thing missing in that scenario besides my old salary…my self image. When we would go out on the town I felt rather dowdy and old. Maybe I was just sick and tired of my clothing choices or the fact that I felt like I’ve gained weight or the lack of any male attention/interest for 3 months. I have no idea why I was so bitter about my self image – but I was. This then all mushroomed into me feeling badly that I douldn’t really vacation with Angie the way I used to – I felt like I was letting her down when I declined shopping outing to go to the free museum or go write at an internet cafe.
I have no idea where some of these neurosis come from – but they stick with me for a while and drive me a bit insane to a point where I’m not really happy with my behavior. Sometimes I wonder if I just have too much time to think now so I’m slowly driving my mind to insnaity! Or maybe this extra time is what I needed in order to stop and really think – without work distractions and everday life – maybe I was meant to ponder all of these things. Maybe I’m learning (in a sometimes painful way) what I like and dislike and what I want to get out of this year of travel. Hopefully this process will help me understand what is really important to me. I need to take these learnings and apply them to the next 9 months. The rest of my trip is fairly unstructured so I can contyrol my destiny a bit – which is a great feeling!