“Let’s go travelling for 6 months, no sod it a year”! Said Asad, his eyes dancing with anticipation and excitement! He had burst in through the front door when returning from work and had literally jumped me whilst I stood in the kitchen attempting dinner!
Those words signified the beginning of our journey. The beginning of what I can only describe as a process of change – of realisation.
“Wow! Yeah – What? Six months – a year”? I said.
Through the excitement questions surfaced. I felt an uneasiness, no – a fear that shrouded my excitement. That fear was the fear of letting go.
Most of us by our late thirties and early forties have established careers, partners, children, elderly parents and mortgages. So many reasons and responsibilities that tie us down in one way or another to a routine that is safe and familiar. In our case we had successful careers that had enabled us to travel in luxury for a few weeks each year, but somehow the daily grind of work had started to feel futile and robotic. We didn’t just want to holiday, we wanted to travel! It had always been our dream to do so.
We were tired of wishing our lives away. We were both feeling restless and that coupled with family responsibilities had made us feel fearful and uncertain of the future. I was just coming out of having spent a considerable amount of time as a carer for my family and Asad had done his fair share too. Let me say for those of you who have experienced caring for a loved one – I understand! It’s one of the toughest jobs in the world. It’s an emotional roller coaster but an experience that is incredibly beautiful and emotionally rewarding. It also provides you with one of life’s biggest lessons – life is short.
This is no profound statement. We all know this. But it always takes an illness or something worse for you to realise the value of the here and now. The value of time and what each minute, each second can bring. To truly realise this and do something about it is not only scary but really scary! You can’t wait for your dreams to happen. You have to make them happen. Tomorrow is another day and we never know what’s around the corner.
So caring over, family all well. We knew we had to make a change. We had to take control of our lives. The world was a beautiful place and we had to see it!
One day we got a map and decided South East Asia was calling us. We watched countless episodes of GlobeTrekker, Michael Palin and of course the legendary Keith Floyd (just for the sheer pleasure and amusement of watching him guzzle wine and cook Ostrich whilst standing in a field full of Ostriches)!
We planned a rough itinerary, took care of the practicalities and dared to dream. We talked for hours, days and months about distant lands and ancient cultures and of course, the bucket list. Finally we put in place various ways for our loved ones at home to stay in touch – phone, email, Skype, satellites – you name it! Slowly, we let go of the uncertainties and what if’s. We let go of the fear. With the support of our wonderful parents – we booked the tickets and off we went.
Finally we had let go!