Discovering the soundtrack to my travel journey

Right. I got to get up early tomorrow and get to the meeting point by 8:30am for our ‘girls weekend away’. I haven’t got myself organised at all, so I pull out what used to be my carry-on luggage. My funky little sky blue and orange Mountain Equipment duffel bag. Geez, I think to myself, I haven’t opened this in a while… Oh hey, my bathers! Oooh, I’d hate to see what I look in them right now. I cringe and throw my bathers to the back of my wardrobe. OK focus – I need to pack.

I put on some tunes to keep me busy, and hit my ‘travel’ playlist. On comes Ends of the Earth by Lord Huron. Oh gosh, emotions! I’m transported to a time and place not that long ago when I was also packing my bags, in Canada, when I was preparing to fly home to Australia after a year of travelling. I was both excited and nervous, and worried whether I was doing the right thing; throwing in the towel and going back to my former job, back in the city I never wanted to return to.

“Its all part of the Master Plan” I remember telling myself, “just stick it out for a couple of months, save like crazy, and you’ll be on your way to travelling the world again. It beats working your bum off for minimum pay at a burger joint in the northern winter!”

I start chuckling. Its funny how the grass always seems greener. If only I had known how difficult it would be to try and fit my new self in my old life.

Then the rhythmic piano beats of Cats and Dogs by Seattle band, The Head and the Heart start chiming in. I’m transported again to different time and place. Its Christmas in merry old England when I was visiting from Canada. Its raining cats and dogs (Ha! Maybe the trigger for this memory?) but i’m actually having a blast in the ‘too cool for school’ vibe of London. I’m running, feeling fit, and enjoying spending time playing aunt with my family. But I’m also dealing with feelings of homesickness conflicting with repulsion at the thought of ever going back to my desk job. Questions about direction and my future were plaguing my mind.

I realise things haven’t changed that much. After all this time I’m still asking myself those same questions.

The lighthearted melody of On top of the World by Imagine Dragons begins and my thoughts are pulled even further back in time. Its now the start of Fall and I’m gallivanting around Seattle and Vancouver with my new friend from Newcastle, England. I had just finished 5 months of travelling and was on a high.  This was an exciting time; I was finally about to fulfill my dream to live and work Canada. I had visions of wowing people with my career credentials, landing my dream job, and making great strides in conservation work with the Canadian wilderness as my office.  I was ready to start an adventure and a new chapter of my life. I really did feel on top of the world.

Of course Jupiter mustn’t have been aligned properly with Mars – or whatever – as things didn’t work out the way I’d hoped they would in Canada.

I was about to stop daydreaming and get back to packing, when Retrograde by James Blake started and brought more melancholy memories to the fore. I’m in Budapest, on the end of an amazing tour where I met people that would forever change my life. We had all just gone our separate ways and I was sad and alone in a foreign country. I remember staring out the window of the bus at the beautiful architecture of the city, with James’ husky voice reverberating the thought-provoking lyrics in my head –“now all you’re friends are gone; show me why you’re strong. Be the girl you love. Be that girl you loved.” I’m wondering who I really am and what I’m supposed to do with my life.

I snap back to reality and find half an hour has passed, and I still haven’t packed. While I get to it, I get a little flutter of excitement in my stomach. What other experiences will I have had by the end of the year? What will my travel soundtrack be like by then? If I’m ever going to find out, I firmly tell myself, I better get busy living my life…

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