Sunday, 30 December 2012
When I first flew to Australia that was the longest time I had ever spent on a plane. Not only that to get to Heathrow I had taken the train from Aberdeen so already spent a large part of my day travelling before I even made it to the airport. I travelled to the other side of the globe and to the other hemisphere so surely this would be the longest journey I would ever undertake? Boy was I wrong. I left Broome for my friends’ house at 07:00 on the 22nd of December and arrived there after 18:00 on the 24th of December and only a three hour time difference.
So how did it take so long to get there? Well since I am so indecisive and played the will I or won’t I leave game in my head for over a month by the time I arranged a leaving date with my manager I seemed to have agreed to stay until just before Christmas. Having left it so long the flights had become unsurprisingly expensive so I booked myself on to the bus. Broome to Perth: 2370km or 33 hours and 20 minutes on the bus. After getting the bus from Sydney to Melbourne which was about 20 hours if I remember correctly I am sure I swore no more than a day on a bus, however for a saving of over $300 I was willing to eat those words. Of course it might have been more interesting had myself and a friend communicated since she left on the same journey four days before me instead I got the benefit of her experience. She reminded me that the buses get cold and to layer up and whilst seeing her off I saw people with multiple water bottles and took note to make sure I did the same.
Therefore I arrived at the bus stop alone but well prepared. You know something, it wasn’t as bad as I feared. Two other people close to my age got on and we were sat near one another. We got chatting and after the girl left the guy and I continued to talk which I was really thankful for later. Now I am not going to have a size-est rant but when a lady of extremely large proportions sat beside me my heart sank. I was wedged between the window and her large frame. Even turning the pages of my book was difficult. Thankfully it wasn’t long until the next stop and my new friend had been moved to sit beside a sprawler. In case you need clarification this is the person who will sit with their legs apart and arms on your seat with a complete disregard for personal space. So bus friend and I had a chat and decided to ask to be moved to sit together, even better he preferred the aisle seat and I the window. Well it worked out great for me but apparently I felt quite comfortable with this guy because instead of my usual position of hugging of the window when I fell asleep I decided to spread out and he was worse off than before. I maintain that he should have shoved me over and/or woken me up but he kindly let me sleep and contented himself with winding me up about it for the rest of the journey. That aside we kept each other and a few other passengers who joined us company all the way to Perth. In-between the random chats and napping I also managed to read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. This is a book I was lent last year when I was working in the mountains but only managed to get 2/3 of the way through before the friend who lent it to me and I went our separate ways. I’m glad I didn’t finish it. I am in a very different place now and a lot of what Pirsig wrote made sense and rang bells with me now in a way it wouldn’t have last year. Some of it I couldn’t grasp on the first reading. It is definitely one of those nooks which has to be read repeatedly, especially for someone with a scientific rather than philosophical background.
Due to various delays we arrived in Perth at 17:30 on the 22nd of December, an hour and 10 minutes later than scheduled. I had spent thirty four hours and thirty minutes on that bus. Thankfully the hostel was only two stops on the train and a short walk away. Once checked in I dug out the necessary and headed straight to the shower. Ah, pure bliss! Once I was showered my next priority was to book a taxi for 6:20am the next morning. I had considered going straight to the airport on the last bus that night thus saving myself the taxi and hostel costs but my friend who had preceded me on the earlier bus was still in the city so the manager of my Broome hostel phoned and booked me into the same room. I am soooooo glad. The shower alone justified the cost but seeing my friend again and spending the evening with her made it worth every cent.
The next morning I was up early again and on my way once more. My taxi was waiting when I left the hostel and I didn’t have far to go to check in and drop my luggage however I had difficulty checking my backpack in as it kept falling over making it difficult for the machine to scan it. A helpful staff member sorted that out for me then another helpful lady helped me pay for my excess baggage on the check in systems. I could have become flustered; I had too much stuff and my carry on bay was a food bag from Coles which was I was afraid would not last the journey. However with much juggling of possessions I made it through to the departure lounge and even managed to buy a muffin and some water before finding a much needed seat. I am glad I didn’t let my disorganisation get to me as if I had been in a bad mood I would have missed out on an interesting conversation with a lovely older lady who joined me at my table whilst we waited for out flights. She was had accompanied her daughter to the airport as her daughter was on her way to Melbourne to visit her son for Christmas. In the thirty minutes I waited for my flight this lady and I kept each other company whilst her daughter sorted herself out. The muffing and conversation put me in a really good mood so even the juggling of my bag and laptop didn’t faze me as I boarded my flight.
Once on the plane it soon became apparent that the family assigned the seats next to me would find their journey easier if I swapped with one of them. I immediately offered to swap and moved two seats back and apparently impressed one of the stewardesses in the process as she promised to look after me. She really was lovely, we had chatted as I boarded and I joked that maybe I could swap my bulky laptop for one of the iPads that Qantas now use to provide their in-flight entertainment. Obviously I was only joking but even if I hadn’t been I would have changed my mind. The iPad was fun but after watching one movie on it I soon became bored and returned to my own laptop out so I could access my own files.
Despite her promise to look after me I didn’t think there was anything the stewardess could do for me as most of the time I am an undemanding passenger but I was proven wrong. Whilst writing my blog in the later part of the flight she offered a complimentary glass of champagne for being so lovely. Who says kindness doesn’t pay? Even more impressively, as we came in to land she also gave me a bottle of red wine to share with the family. I already preferred Qantas to Emirates but seriously folks, fly Qantas! I’m happy to say that next May I will be on my return to Australia. My only complaint was that we arrive half an hour early and I wasn’t finished writing my blog.
Finally I was in Sydney! All I had to do was to collect my luggage and find the pick-up point and wait for my friend to find me. Well it took her a little longer than anticipated but she finally worked where I was and how to get to me despite the airports one way system and I was on my final leg of the journey. An hour and a half later and we were at her home being welcomed by her lovely family in their very Christmassy home. I had arrived and it was quite definitely Christmas!
Monday, 24 December 2012
Friday, 21 December 2012
Way back in June I decided that it was time to take back control of my life which included giving up alcohol for a while. I felt that I had taken the living life in the moment concept too far, my lifestyle and my personality were conflicted and my grieving process had hit a brick wall. In short I felt like I was a complete mess. Therefore when I arrived in Australia, much too some peoples chagrin, I stuck to my no drinking rule. When my funds got low I accepted that the sensible thing to do would be to get a job in Perth and stay put instead of trying to travel north and run out of money somewhere along the way with no idea if I could find employment or not. When it became obvious that I wasn’t settling in Perth I saved as much as I could and moved on as soon as I felt I had enough money to live off of whilst I job hunted. I even postponed my plans to tour the west coast and flew straight to Broome on the understanding that I shouldn’t spend the money I had until I knew there would be more coming in to replace it.
Once more I was fortunate enough to find work quickly but my caution was well deserved as I needed to live off my savings whilst I waited for my first pay. Once I was earning I let myself go a little. Instead of saving I spent my wages on tours as though I hope to tour the west coast next May I wanted to see what I could whilst I was here since I am well aware that plans don’t always work out. Once the tours started to stop I started to save and study. Though I hadn’t planned it this way as well as stopping drinking I also stopped socialising. I wasn’t in any hurry to make friends and the people I did get to know were mostly by accident; the odd person passing through Broome on their way north or south and of course my study buddy. Instead of taking a break from drinking I ended up taking a break from life. I got lonely and I missed my friends but I saved and I studied and I knew I was building something for my future. Through my counselling sessions I realised that I also have a few trust issues. I don’t trust myself to be a good judge of character which has made me hesitant about trying to form new friendships. What if I trust the wrong person?
Well in the last few weeks I have rejoined the human race. It has involved some drinking but not a lot and not often. I’ve made friends with some people that I think I shall not mind leaving behind but I also made friends with some people who I am sad to leave behind (or be left behind my in two cases!). I’ve often read that is the things we don’t do that we regret the most and I think that I finally understand this. Yes I have done some stupid things in my past but mostly those things now make me smile at their ridiculousness or sheer idiocy however I needed this time out. I needed to go to the other extreme of control so I could fully appreciate that there is a happy medium. I’m not sure where that medium is yet but for the first time in over three years I feel like I am me. Not the me I was before Jonathan died or even the me before I met him, I am the new me and I am starting to grow comfortable with who that is. It’s hard and there is guilt because Jonathan never got to find out who he was without me. There is guilt because I love my life and have no desire for a life that resembles my old life in any way. That doesn’t mean I am glad Jonathan is gone or I wouldn’t have him and our life back in a heartbeat it just means I don’t want that life without him. If I meet someone else they’ll be very different because I am so different and I want different things. I realised a lot of this last year when I was travelling but I ignored the guilt. I pretended that the two lives were separate and unconnected. My time out has given me time to start to accept that they are not separate and I can be grateful for what I have without taking anything away from what I had. The guilt is still there but now I know it’s there and that means I can start working out what to do about it. For now though I think I’ll work on the acceptance of the new me and my new life. After all I know that all my friends, families and especially Jonathan would want me to be happy with how things are because no amount of guilt, wishing or anything else will make it how I though it should be once upon a time.
Sunday, 16 December 2012
Thursday, 6 December 2012
Saturday, 17 November 2012
All that I was has gone forever.
All that I shall be is formed in this,
You treat me like medusa,
As if my eyes so full of pain and sorrow,
Could turn you into stone.
I felt like Icarus of myth,
My happiness and joy not wings but wax,
Now I know I am the phoenix.
Love will give me wings,
And lift me up once more.
One day I won't just rise again,
One day I will soar.
Now almost three years later I am living a life more different than anyone could have imagined and recently I wrote this:
Sunday, 11 November 2012
Friday, 2 November 2012
Wednesday, 24 October 2012
Tuesday, 23 October 2012
Tuesday, 2 October 2012
Back at the hostel I had time for a shower and quick lunch before heading back out this time to Cable Beach. For once I didn’t walk but took the bus as I wanted to arrive in plenty of time for my camel ride. I had planned on getting the free bus but once more made the mistake of turning on the internet and missed it. There was a paid town bus half an hour later but it meant that I arrived with only twenty minutes to spare which being me I managed to spend taking photos as I walked to the meeting point leaving the postcards in my bag still unwritten. The camel ride was fun and though I was disappointed that the owner of the business was absent due to injury the other guides were knowledgeable and friendly. I learned a little about camels as well as enjoying the scenery from a different vantage point with the added experience of changing my camera battery whilst on a camel, not as hard as it sounds but not something I’d like to repeat either.
Saturday, 22 September 2012
After a mid-afternoon snooze a skype chat with a good friend then another with Jonathan’s parents I was still tired and sad but in my usual way. Jonathan’s mother took her laptop out to his garden so I could see it and that helped as I could see ‘him’ and blow ‘him’ a kiss and say I love you. The storm had broken and passed and the next day in work I was a different person. I was smiling not my slightly manic I’m-alright-really-I-am smile but a genuine I’m-sad -but-I’m-ok smile. I’m back on track to remembering how fabulous my life is. Yes there is a part of me that is sad and wishes life were otherwise but it’s back where it belongs, tucked away in the what-might-have-been-but-is-impossible-now place in my heart that keeps my happy memories safe so I can enjoy the life I have now and make more different happy memories. Memories which will fill the new parts of my heart that grow every day I remember it’s good to love the life I have just as I love the life I used to have. Not as a replacement, not more, not less, just differently.