Last month I mentioned about a Book that I had started to write about my travels and year spent in Australia. I started this back in 2010 and it is very much work in progress. I’d like to share the First Chapter with you all today and am equally keen to hear back from you regarding it. Who knows if I get enough positive feedback then I may carry on and complete what I’ve started! Right here goes….
I lay there, it had been a strange night, a cocktail of mixed emotions. The night previous to this I was there with my close friends celebrating my exciting holiday, this morning I just couldn’t move. Last year I had endured what could only be described as the year of hell, well probably not that bad but as the year played out it certainly was eventful but mainly for the wrong reasons. I experienced many things, asked my girlfriend of 3 years to move in and then watch her move out, allow my work to take over my life which probably led to the previous thing and then move out back into my mother’s home. I really had no idea what was to follow but subconsciously I had to ask myself why I had done these things, there must have been a part of me that had already realised that I was not returning home.
The alarm sounded and as I looked across with surprisingly focussed eyes I could make out the red figures on my side clock. It was that day, that time, it seemed so distant when I booked this flight but the time had arrived. I sat up for what felt like an eternity and found it hard to muster the energy to get out of bed, this was not due to the fact I was tired, in fact that was far from the real reason, I just didn’t want to step one foot outside of the warm duvet. It was winter in the UK and the country was enduring one of those normal winter periods. I worked in the Building Industry and following a year of rain, floods and snow it really did challenge the company I worked for. As the months passed by and the year was drawing to a close it hadn’t recovered and the fact I knew I was ready to escape from it all was a welcome reminder of why this was the most exciting day of my life so far.
Flash back to a couple of weeks previous, my family obviously upset that I would not be spending Christmas with them had made their arrangements for me to at least experience some of the festivities ahead of my departure to the other side of the world. I was at my Dads with his new wife and my step sister sitting down sipping a hot caffeine filled mug of coffee. As my cold hands clasped the warm mug we sat and discussed what I was hoping to do once I crossed the globe and touched the land in Adelaide. I really had no idea, my mind went blank. I was fortunate to have had nearly every book, travel guide or article on life in Australia presented to me by my Dad, he was very keen to ensure that I knew what to expect and to make sure I experienced everything that was potentially on offer to me. My Dad was a planner and to be totally honest this was just what I needed, without even realising to myself right then just by the things we spoke about part of me had given in to the fact that this was probably going to be more than a holiday. I had a copy of the Lonely Planet Guide to Australia, this was the most reputable guide I had heard about and one that formed part of the small library of literature I had accrued to date. It was this book that painted the most striking picture and one that that to this very day sticks firmly in my mind, not that I would know that at this exact moment. As dinner time approached and the most delightful roast dinner with an array of steamed and roasted vegetables was presented in front of me the conversation went less direct. I sat there and soaked up the moment, time seemed to pass at an almost standstill and everything in front of me slowed right down. If ever there was a more crystallizing moment than this, then I had yet to witness it as of yet.
Returning to the present moment, as thoughts passed through my mind from previous occurrences I was out of bed. It was an almighty effort, but following what seemed like the longest stretch possible without damaging my back I was up and ready to finalise all the packing that I had left to the very last minute. I was never really a planner, one trait that my Dad had failed to pass onto me, but I always had the ability to complete tasks with the smallest amount of time remaining. The shower felt great and refreshing and quickly changed I launched myself into it, what on earth would I need? I wheeled out the biggest red suitcase, the one that had served me well from the Majorca holiday of almost ten years ago. I had not used it since that eventful trip with my best friend James and I had to rip off all the airport tags and stickers that dressed it, so that I would at least stand a good chance of my luggage arriving in the same country as me worst case scenario. I am a typical bloke when it comes to working out exactly what I require; I think the maths in my head went something along the lines of… 4½ weeks = 31 days, worst case I can use x 3 times etc. etc… Anyway let’s just say for somebody who started his career as an estimator I really had left myself short!
I am convinced as most guys are, that mothers know of this fault and as I finished my breakfast I was almost certain that my suitcase seemed heavier than when I had left it just 20 minutes previous. The main thing was that I was packed, not ready but packed. I don’t think I could ever really be ready. I was certain not to spend the day pottering around the house in anticipation for my Dad to collect and drive me to Heathrow in London, so I made the most of things and my two best mates kept me company that afternoon. It was real commitment from them both especially as they had booked the day off to do so but at the same time I felt like it should have been the three of us going to endure the biggest adventure of our lives together. At the beginning of 2007 when I had decided I was going to Australia, we all had an agreement albeit verbal that if nothing major changed in our lives regarding jobs or security that this was going to be our holiday, unfortunately I was the only one to proceed with booking the flight. I could tell by James and Mikes reactions that they wished they could join me, but just been near them on this day albeit temporarily, took my mind off the day’s flying that lay ahead of me that evening. It was a nice feeling being able to spend with my two best friends, however as time was passing slowly, it meant I could not help but constantly think about that flight. I had only ever flown a couple of times that I can recall, once to Majorca as mentioned previously and the other time was to Munich to watch my beloved Leeds United play in the Champions League. These were both relatively short in comparison to what lay waiting for me. As the afternoon passed the time finally arrived, my phone in my pocket started ringing and without even having to look at the screen I knew who and why they were calling. Without too much hesitation I answered the phone, grabbed my luggage and said goodbye to my Mum and friends.
To be continued?