A Backpackers Fears: Preparing to Let Go

What a difference a week can make. Especially when you feel like you’ve been moving at 100 Mph for the last 6 months, on an unsatisfying energy source of cheap coffee, hummus and Sex and the City reruns! Life for the first half of 2015 has seemed to move both mind numbingly slow and overwhelmingly fast in equal measures.

On the one hand, I’ve impatiently anticipated the day I finally fly the UK nest and take my lazy green ways on the road trip of a lifetime. The days have dragged as I’ve lived as frugally as possible to save for my dream one year trip around the globe.

On the other hand, days have seemed to blur into weeks faster than the TGV, and I’m left with just 9 days to go before I fly (and an ever escalating to do list!)

I know, I know, it’s hard to feel sorry for someone who has quit their job and is about to embark on a year of galavanting around the world! But there is unfortunately no calm before the backpackers storm, and it seems that the most stressful part of a round the world trip is the preparation period itself, where your whole being has a last minute freak out, and yells: “what the hell are you doing?! Lets just run back to where we came from and hide under a rock where it feels safe!”

Have I confirmed my flights? Do I have all my visas? Did I buy enough spare underwear? Should I research my destinations more?

 

As soon as I step away from home with just a 46L bag on my back and (if you must know..) 5 pairs of underwear to my name, there is so much to anticipate and little awareness of how much you should plan for in advance. I wake most days in a shivering, sweaty panic that there’s something important I’ve forgotten to do, or not do, and I’m overwhelmed with a feeling of pure stress. I’ve long moved past excitement, and hopscotched straight into dread!

Learning to let go

But I figure anything that makes you shake and quiver with uncertainty is actually a good sign. It means something is shifting, and you’re moving to a new, stronger position. Like a newbie yogi in boat pose, or a baby lamb taking its first jelly-leg steps, any move toward the new is wobbly to begin with. After all, we’re testing out muscles we haven’t used before.

For me, this past week (in which I have shunned almost all my worldly possessions, moved back home and left an awesome, well paid job) has shown me that the new muscles I need to test out is my ability to let go of the known and embrace a new kind of existence.

After all, this is finally my chance to live my zero waste, minimalist consumer lifestyle I’ve always dreamt about, and fervently value experiences over things. It’ll be a huge adjustment but my legs can, and will,  slowly finding ground.

Embracing the new

As soon as I step on that plane next week, I don’t just let go of my best friends and family 12 full months, I let go of control. I open myself up to the universe and allow life to happen with and to me. I allow myself to challenge my own perceptions and expectations of the world. And more importantly, I discover the many gems of this planet which is worth fighting for; both physically and spiritually.

In this way, I’m bursting with excitement to let go of any old worries, fears and home comforts, because I know they will be replaced by new thoughts, new ideas, and new memories to treasure forever.

So, for now, I’m going to embrace the art of doing nothing, and step away from my to do lists. I’m going to read my paper, sit in the warm autumn sun with a cup of tea. Because sometimes, no matter what adventure lies ahead of all us, all we need is five minutes to put our feet up and switch off for a while.

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