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Dreams of packing it all away

image Goa, 2005.

Nothing evokes in me a stronger sense of nostalgia and happiness then recollections of travels past. From my first solo overseas jaunt at age 16 to Malaysia, India and Nepal, I haven’t yet been able to stem the ever pervasive desire to travel.
That first trip, the plane stopped in Malaysia and I had one night which is a blur of a hangover, because my 16 year old self and my 16 year old best friend drank duty free vodka on the plane. Who said we weren’t mature enough to travel alone! We managed to make it onto the next plane, and 7 hours later walked into Delhi airport, backpacks on and absolutely no idea what to expect. My best friends boyfriend met us at the arrivals area, and we were straight in a taxi to the old delhi backpacker area. I can still feel the intense heat, the immediate strangeness, see the crumbling buildings, the acrid smell of exhaust fumes and the suddenly real flesh and blood children begging in rags, blind and hungry on every corner. I was 16 and thought I knew it all, how quickly I realised that all that I though I knew was just distant images, ink on paper, well meaning words.
The scent of exhaust fumes takes me back, and its a smell that I’ve grown fond of, having been back to India 5 times since those first fateful months. I travelled non stop until I fell pregnant with my firstborn, in 2009. How quickly time goes, its 2016 already, and my worldly self feels like a lifetime ago. As a childfree person, I had imagined that if oneday I had children, I would travel with them too. Being in a volatile and unpredictable, unsupportive relationship made reality quite different, and I soon found myself with all my savings squandered and in debt due to my naive trusting of the man I once loved. And alone, raising our child, pregnant with the second. Still I dreamt of the places we would go, and contented myself with travel in our beautiful country, visiting family and friends. When I started working again when my second son was 6 months old, I set myself a goal to travel before he turned two. Six months before his second birthday I bought tickets to Bali, and then set about organising passports and all the rest.
Two days ago Facebook reminded me of my memories from 2 years ago, which was my little family departing to Bali. I felt a mixture of happiness remembering our adventures, and sadness that two years ahead passed already and we were yet to travel again. I did actually have flights booked last July to NZ, which had to be cancelled because my ex stole our passports and he refused to sign a new application of course, and the process of me applying to have the kids passports issued without his signature was a long and complicated process. It was terribly disappointing, on the bright side the kids still got to see snow for the first time, and only 2 hours from home.
So here I am, wishing I was somewhere else. Maybe someone else. Constantly torn between staying on our farm giving my kids a stable secure childhood, opposite to what I had, and just packing it all in and travelling. I long for days immersed in a culture so foreign to this one, for new horizons, adventures, challenges. The only thing stopping me os the fear of not having anything to come back to. We might travel for a year or two or more. But then what? We will have nothing to come back to. No home, most likely no money. Or we might not want to come back. I don’t know what to do, but I have a lump in my heart, in my gut, and I know that deep down I didn’t choose this life. I’m not happy with this life. Its uninspiring. The people around me here are uninspiring. This close to normal life scares me.
The possibilities are endless, and following your heart is something most people never regret, I figured its the finance factor that has my staying put. An old friend of mine recently travelled around Australia with her husband and two kids and they are not affluent people. Thinking about them, I realised that its the fact that I’m single that stopping me. If I was in a committed relationship and the other person wanted to to travel, I would have no hesitation. Because I would have a confidant, a partner, help and support. I’m not scared to be alone, I loved solo traveling, but for my children. I can’t judge whether it would be the right decision for them. Do I trade security and stability for adventure and life experience ?

Published inRaising boys

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