Tag Archives: travelling

Getting on with it

I don’t like being unemployed anymore. As in unemployed and not travelling. Being unemployed because you’re travelling, now that’s great. There’s a purpose to that. Right? It’s fun anyway: life’s an adventure and anything is possible.

I’d like to say I’m treating every day, right here in Bristol, with the adventurous attitude of the traveller. I do sometimes, and that’s great. I do my best the rest of the time, and that’s ok too. But…well…it can be hard.

Nonetheless, alongside trying to sort out my work life and whatever else, I’ve been working on achieving another goal. Something that’s really quite important to me. Something I’ve faffed about with pretty much since I came to Bristol. Or longer really. I am going to become the cyclist I have for years envisioned myself to be!

Oooh, wow. Don’t laugh. You see, I can ride a bike fine. I’ve even quite recently thrown myself around a New Zealand forest on a mountain bike. But: I’m scared of traffic, not all that hot on the correct use of gears and get stopped at times by an annoying mix of gravity and the mildest of hills. And then just the other day I investigated and realised that my bike, which had suffered, al fresco, through the British winter in my absence, was in need of mechanical help. The brake pads were rubbing on the wheels, creating a horrible squeaking. But I arranged for a knight in shining armour (or a fetching fleece anyway) to be sent, free of charge, courtesy of the Cycling City project. All fixed now. Fantastic!

Next stop: my first cycle training session on Wednesday. Watch out, world!

This could be me!

New year, new stuff

So here we are in 2010. On New Year’s Eve Mom and I ventured downtown to ‘First Night Tucson’, taking in music performances at various venues, some improv comedy, even an Ansel Adams exhibition at the museum of art. (Very cultured of us!) That New Year’s blue moon was beautiful. Here it is as it hung over downtown Tucson that night.

One of my early achievements of the year is this genuine crocheted ipod cover, which I fashioned with my very own clumsy hands. The photo makes it look like a giant (it’s not, I didn’t go that wrong.). It’s based on the one here, but with a big old button instead of a bow. Quirky, no?

I am both excited and jittery about my upcoming travels. I have fears, but they are just fears and, really, what a nice alternative to work and winter I face. Besides, I have done far scarier things. Four springs ago I moved to a city where I knew no one. My first days in Bristol were probably some of the hardest of my life. I have nothing to fear from travelling solo. Not jet lag, not loneliness, not the things that will go ‘wrong’. It isn’t that those things won’t be part of my experience – they will. It’s just that it’s worth it for all the other things I’ll experience.

I’ve been reading Without Reservations: The Travels of an Independent Woman by Alice Steinbach. She writes about the time she took a year off from her job in America and headed to Europe. She includes the ups and downs of her travels and speaks of the adventure inherent in taking off for parts unknown. I like this quote from the introduction: ‘you are a woman in search of an adventure, said the voice inside. Take the risk. Say “Yes” to life instead of “No.”

So, tomorrow: I fly to southern California, where I will stay with my dad and stepmom. The following evening they will deliver me to LAX where I will board that 14 and a half hour flight to Sydney. Me, a backpack (which I carry with authority, I tell you, you should have seen me parading around the back garden the other day…), and a daypack stuffed with novels, food, a passport and other essentials.

I’ll take my trepidation with me too. But hopefully, like Alice Steinbach, I’ll be ‘guided less by expectations than by curiosity’.

Ready to go

The time has absolutely flown since I made the decision to leave my job and go travelling. There has been so much to do to plan such a big trip at such short notice but somehow, and with the patience and wisdom of friends helping me along, I’ve now made it through the vast majority of my To Do List items. I have flights, insurance, a range of currencies (including the surprisingly water resistant Australian dollar), accommodation sorted for Sydney, and as I type this my bags are more or less packed.

It’s been stressful at times and I seem to have spent an inordinate amount of time making phone calls about travel stuff. Then there was the threat of the British Airways strikes and things got all the hairier. Now, sitting on my bed in Bristol, surrounded by sheets of paper representing numerous travel tickets and accommodation bookings, and having said ‘farewell, see you in March’ to my friends in Bristol, I think I’m just about ready…

It was my last day at work on Friday. Leaving my job of three years was quite a leap but I feel happy. Change is good. I worked with some people who I really will miss, but we shall meet again!

I wrote the following during my last hours in the office. I think it captures the mood I was in.

It’s my last day at work today. I feel excited, and a bit mischievous. Like I’m plotting to play hooky. And I like it.

Walked to work as usual today. About 45 minutes through the frosty air, making my way round the ice-edged mud puddles. I tend to propel myself to work partly by virtue of the tunes on my ipod,  and today some good ones shuffled their way to my ears. But I could also hear the external sounds around me as I made my way, not feeling like I needed to hurry today, being mindful of my surroundings, taking time to notice.

When I got near the centre, buses were making their hissing, diesely noises in the street. Noises evocative of journeys. When I set off on this adventure from Bristol, those same sounds will inhabit the coach station where I’ll perch, ready to go.

Ah, bless, quite the little writer. But yes, here I am, ready for that journey tomorrow. First stop by air: Arizona.

Where I expect it will be a tad less snowy than it was here in Bristol today!