Resfeber (n.) The restless race of a traveller’s heart before a journey begins, when anxiety and anticipation are tangled together; a ‘travel fever’, which can manifest as an illness…
I’m sharing this post from a very unexpected location, 9000km away from Queensland where I wrote it over a month ago. I’m really ashamed that I invested so much time into this blog while I was stationary on the farm, but then forgot to hit publish on such a monumental bit of news about my movements once I became swept up in the travel frenzy that ensued after I booked my flight out of Australia.
So although this post was about planning a big move which has now, in the literal sense, already happened, I still wanted to share the feelings I had in the build up to it… and about how your journey can begin long before the wheels of your plane have left the tarmac. I know most of the posts on here are written retrospectively anyway since I’m so bad a keeping The Wanderlist up to date, but this was written in it’s entirety back in August. So let’s just pretend.
*flashback to August 10th*
Tucked away in this little farmhouse in Queensland, I’m actually in my element. I’ve had the time and space to indulge in some of my favourite things. Some of them. Admittedly, there hasn’t been much drinking and dancing during my time here, or many people to talk to; those favourite things will have to wait a little longer until I get back to Sydney at the end of August.
But I’ve been buried in Lonely Planet guides, up to my eyeballs in flight-bookings and drowning in my own to-do list. I’ve fallen behind on this blog, my laundry and keeping in touch with friends and family. My dreams have gotten progressively crazier, and my workdays have become paiiiinfully slower.
I’ve said it previously: I left my heart in Asia. So now I’m going back to find it!
I leave for Sri Lanka in two weeks.
Since my Australian Visa is about to expire, I figured I might as well spend my farm-earnings and tax return on seeing some more of this world on my journey back across it to the place I call ‘home’. I want to go out with a bang, not a whimpering stint in a dusty farm-shed in the country.
It’s been a given for some time that I’d do this, but since I’m the most indecisive girl to have ever gotten her shit together just enough to travel in the first place, I dragged my feet with booking the flights. Now is as good a time as any to drop in a token Nietzsche quote: he famously said, ‘I and Me are always too deeply in conversation.’
My I and Me only ever argue with one-another.
I wanted to go to Sri Lanka and New Zealand, but Me was dead set on flying back to Europe for a blow-out at Dimensions Festival on the coast of Croatia. Granted, a four day party in an old abandoned fort on the Adriatic Sea was tempting, especially to a girl who’s been living on the fringes of the Australian outback for three months. Can you blame Me?
But after reassessing flights only to find they’d gone up in price, I soon realised it would drink up all my farm earnings in four days flat, replacing it all with nothing but a steaming hangover. Dimensions can wait ‘til next year.
And since budget airlines Air Asia and Jetstar connect New Zealand, Australia and Asia cheaply via the airport hub of Kuala Lumpur, I found flights to Sri Lanka for $350 (about £180), and another set of flights to fly me back across to New Zealand via Malaysia for five days, for under $400… which, after way too many painfully indecisive weeks, settled it.
I’ll be flying out of Sydney at the end of August and into Sri Lanka’s capital city of Colombo, just in time to catch a train to Kandy and see the magical Esala Perehera festival. That’s as far as I’ve planned.
I’m so, so, excited to visit this country. I expect it to be like India, but more gentle and polite. Like Southeast-Asia’s Buddhist countries, but less gaudy. With less tourists, spicier food, and more focus on incredible wildlife, since there are wild elephants, leopards and whales abound.
Top of my list lies a safari in either Yala or Uda Walawe National Park (which one? …Anyone?), riding the trains through the tea-plantations between Colombo, Kandy and Ella, and learning more about the art of Ayurveda at some point: something I never got the chance to do while I was in India.
After close to a month in Sri Lanka, I’ll be heading to New Zealand where hopefully the weather will be getting a little warmer and the skies a little clearer, to spend another month bussing round both the North and South islands. Then, it’s home in time for Christmas.
…And, here’s the thing. Since Matt and I nolonger want to compromise, and he would prefer to stay in Melbourne and work, in order to save up more money to take home for Christmas with him (and we’re close to killing eachother after so long spent in eachother’s pockets on the farm)… I’m going alone!
I’m already stressed about my countless flight-transfers, worried about how I’ll make friends on the road and how I’ll manage to scrape by on $25 a day whilst in Sri Lanka. I’m already practising safely crossing busy Asian roads by myself, averting unwanted male attention, and bartering with rickshaw drivers in my head.
I’m lost in Booking.com listings, spending hours reading reviews of guesthouses, trying to decide which one looks the friendliest.
My mind is constantly filled with images of colourful sari-clad ladies in tea plantations, children’s beaming smiles from behind the open shutters of old Sri Lankan trains and embellished elephants rocking their way down the streets of Kandy during Esala Perahera.
My imagination is running into overdrive conjuring up scenarios for my time in New Zealand: whale-spotting, swimming with wild dolphins, hiking in Milford Sound, climbing Mount Doom and staring up in awe at Mount Cook and The Remarkables.
I’ll sit there, glued episodes of Rick Stein’s Southeast Asian Odyessy and similar travel programmes, or reading The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux, and the hairs allover my body will stand up on end.
In fact, I feel exactly the same way I did in the months prior to embarking on this huge, life-changing trip back in February 2014: stressed, tingly, breathless and dizzy at the thought of the places I’ll go, and the planes, trains, bus journeys and hikes I’ll be putting myself through to get to them. All-consumed and unable to concentrate on anything else. I already feel crushed by the weight of the history, scenery and new ways of life I’ll discover, and exhausted from the ride.
And I’m utterly overwhelmed by the idea of doing all of this alone, without anyone’s hand to hold, or even share the experience with.
I’m in awe of not only the things I’ll see and do, but the girl I might become if I manage to get through this all in one piece (and I will, somehow).
And most of all, I feel sick to my stomach with nerves!
I’m sure every fellow wanderlust-sufferer will be able to empathise with what I’m going through right now, and be able to relate to this crazy, frenzied fever which builds and builds until the day you fly.
Despite the stress and anxiety that planning a big trip can cause, we must learn to embrace the anticipation and restlessness. We have to savour every second. It’s the most amazing feeling in the world.
Because now that Sri Lanka and New Zealand are booked and I’m stitching the seams together, reading all about what I’ll find when I arrive, and imagining the smallest of details of my journey from the comfort of my sofa, I’m already there. My adventure has already begun.
And what now? Two weeks deep into Sri Lanka? This country is even more beautiful than I expected it to be, but most of all, it’s its people who have made this trip so magical. There’s barely a day that goes by that doesn’t make my hand shoot up to my heart whilst I’m exclaiming my gratitude because their warmth and kindness has moved me so deeply.
Now that I’m in one place for a few days, high in the hills with an endless supply of tea, more on that will come soon.
When was the last time you were so nervous and excited, that you were sick to your stomach?
(If you can’t remember, you need to do something about it!)