Friday, August 17, 2007

The Storm is Coming, but Where's the Calm Before it?


Some of you already know. Some of you may have heard rumours. You may have noticed our odd behaviours, the pinched and exhausted looks on our faces. You may have observed the tendency to snack, the decrease in socialization, the whispered conversations, the furtive phone calls, the mid-day "appointments". Others have not noticed a goddamned thing. Others still have no clue who the heck we are.

No matter what your circumstance is, we hope that you'll want to share in our story. We're nervous and scared, busier than we ever thought we could be, overwhelmed at times, exhausted, and ridiculously excited too.

It's not like we're the first couple to ever embark on such a life-altering adventure. We know that. We also know that this is the kind of thing that, though terribly difficult at times, though frustrating and draining and frightening, is one of the most rewarding things we will ever decide to do. It will make us see the world in a different way. To use an already-tired cliche, it will make us better people.

Just to clear the air, let me start off by saying I am not pregnant. But I really did have you going there for a second, didn't I! No, the pot belly isn't baby at all... it's a mass of gummy bears and red wine. Anyway, the truth is in some ways much scarier -- we're taking an extended, extended vacation and travelling around the world.

Our adventure officially begins on October 1st, when we depart Toronto for Kathmandu, Nepal. However, in a lot of ways, the trip began this spring when we started to really plan this thing in earnest and not just talk idly about "doing it someday". I don't think either of us really knew how much work this was going to be. We had to decide what to do with the house and car (sold both), our belongings (storage/garbage/donated/sold/gifted), our cats (staying with family... sniff...), and our jobs (still pending.) We had to work out the finances of taking a year off of our jobs and budgeting enough money to travel in not-very-much-style so that we could get to the places we wanted to get to. We also have had to organize insurance (health, travel, baggage, and [ugh] life), get vaccinated, pack for the trip, organize the moving of our stuff out of our house and into storage, and essentially put our lives here on hold.

The trip planning is exciting but hard. Round-the-world tickets are not as flexible as you think they should be. There are mileage caps, travel restrictions, and time limits that make them difficult to work with. Guided tours are expensive. Volunteer bookings require applications, references, police background checks, resumes, and statement letters. We're trying to take into consideration the timing of a family wedding, world weather patterns, and the expectations of two independent minds.

All of this is a breeze, however, compared to the one task that we haven't tackled yet. It hasn't had to happen yet, and I don't know how I'm going to do it.

Sooner or later, we will have to say goodbye.

We are getting on that airplane on October 1st and sometimes I almost don't want to go. I don't have the words to express how woefully bereft I already feel when I think of leaving my family and my friends. I've cried myself to sleep; I've cried in the shower, at the gym, in the grocery store, on the couch, in the car, and now, in front of my computer. To say that I will simply miss them isn't strong enough; to say I will be sad is pathetically weak. I've imagined the moment when I have to say goodbye for real and I can hear a tearing sound in my mind as I release myself from the comfort of a sisterly, motherly, or friendly embrace. I think it's the sound of my heart being torn out of my chest.

Tomorrow I'm going out to buy a tube of waterproof mascara. I have a funny feeling I'll be needing it.

No comments: