I've packed up my room back into a suit case and put everything I think I'll need for 3 months of traveling into a backpack. The walls are bare and the glare from the window without a curtain looks strange, like a hostel. Shoes are packed, bags away, candles and incense sticks and things I've already collected over the last 4 months in enviro-bags at the foot of my bed.
Alternating between bouts of nervousness and denial, one empty room later it's all starting to hit me. The trips I've done so far have been mini-holidays, often over-packing and having too many summer dresses, being too well prepared, having familiar faces around and always heading home just as my bed was getting cold.
This time I'll be heading out on my own, trying not go robbed (hey, I've got a pretty good track record so far), lose anything (my passport, my standards of personal hygiene, my sanity etc.) and taking everything in. It'll be two days here, three days there, a country a week or even every couple of days. It's going to be baguette fighting in Paris to the haunts of Dracula in Romania.
Recently returning from my post-university-exam vacation in Malta, I've been thinking a lot about being brave and what that means, about the incredulity at how different travels can be. I sat cross-legged on a ferry to the crystal blue waters of Comino reading about the travels of asylum-seekers washing up on the shores of Italy, Afghans detained back home in Australia and so many others in the true recounts of Caroline Moorehead in the book 'Human Cargo'... and again it showed me something bigger, braver. I watched the trailer for 'Go back to Where you Came From' and received emails from 'Welcome to Australia'. It's these links that put things in perspective, that show me what brave is, what it looks like. Somebody traveling to live.
Again, if you haven't checked it out already have a quick squizz on Will Travel 4 Life on what's going on, how you can get involved or just read up on the issue yourself. The links for the great campaigns that are also there and you can click on the links above.
The knots in my stomach are still there and there's a lump in my throat when I think about everything that lays ahead, the hours spent in transit, sleeping in airports, watching europe through the window of a bus, train and plane, the hostel after hostel after hostel. Yet with all the amazing things I'll know I'll see its the amazing things happening in the world bringing to the fore issues of Aslyum-seekers and refugees that it gives me hope and makes me brave.