I’m sitting here looking at our nearly empty apartment and feeling …full. We’ve been dreaming of and planning our departure from Melbourne for the last two and a half years, one foot constantly out the door. It is strange to be both here and not here at the same time; our thoughts have been mostly somewhere else. It’s a pretty shitty way to live, actually and I’m glad to see the end of it. Friends we’ve made here: this is not a reflection on you – John and I have enjoyed our times together wholeheartedly. But this has never really been the place for us long-term and we realized that fact pretty soon into the game.
Our time here has served its purpose: we’ve had a lot of fun in the city, met some friends we’ll always be in touch with and made advances in our careers. My visa situation played a large part in the saga, but now I’m an Australian citizen and no longer have to be here to fill out paperwork and wait around for documents, approvals and passport labels to come through. We see ourselves coming back to Australia to live again in the future, but not just yet.
John and I started planning our 2011 travels almost three years ago. We have always been nomadic. As I’ve said in another post, I’m a little homeless geographically speaking. I’ve lived in different cities in the US for most of my life. As a traveller I am by no means the most experienced, but I’ve been to many places around the world and lived overseas a few times. I have always been fortunate enough to have the means to travel, first with my parents and then on my own. John had been an expat for two years when we met and a backpacker for a few more. Next year will technically be our second “around the world” jaunt together and will only add to the long list of cities we’ve visited as a couple.
Everything from here onwards is unknown. We have considered our travel for one year and will plot our next move after that. We’re really keen to do an expat stint of a few years in the Middle East so that we can have a jumping off point for the region and also be closer to Europe and the US. I’ve lived far away from my side of the family and friends for a long time now and it would be nice to be a bit closer. We want to have a baby, which will change things forever (part of the reason for our hopping around so much next year – we should call our trip “places we must see while it’s still just the two of us”). But I can’t see us ever ceasing travel just because we start a family. I have visions of a month or so in Turkey with a five year old, who is bound to enjoy all the sights and sounds of such a lively place. We haven’t seen Scandinavia together yet and I desperately want to go there. There has been more than one conversation about taking a cross-country road trip in the US and Canada. We still have most of the Australian east coast to see. So many people have told me that travel with children is especially joyful and (good) different from travelling solo or as a couple – locals in countries that are family oriented come up to you because of your little one. You get to see things through a child’s eyes. These are all things I hope to experience down the road.
What’s so exciting to me right now is that for the first time since we came to Australia to live in 2006 we have no idea what is ahead for us. Yes, you never really know what’s coming in life, but we’ve had a pretty good idea for the last few years. It’s exhilarating. We’re not one of the true minimalist couples that get rid of everything and roam the earth forever. We’ll still have some unsold stuff in storage and will eventually move somewhere new because I think a home environment with consistency is ideal for an infant (though many location independent parents will probably disagree). But we’ll never stop travelling.
My thoughts drift now to my travel goals. I want to take better photos, slow down, be more mindful and try foods that don’t look very appealing (but probably taste wonderful). I’m looking forward to spending quality time with my husband where we aren’t constantly intruded on with the realities of dealing with our flat, our bills, our jobs and other home-based annoyances. I’m excited to finally be taking a real honeymoon because we barely had one after our wedding in September. Most of all, I’m ready to just be out in the world again and enjoy those feelings of freedom, motion and ever constant discovery. Only two more weeks until our journey begins.
Where are your travels taking you in 2011?
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