About a million years ago, when I was setting off to find my fame and fortune as a journalist in London I had a leaving party the night before.
Thinking about it now, it had been a stressful week beforehand. I had flown down to London only a couple of days earlier to find a flat. Three days on my friend Sofia’s couch in Shoreditch to go house hunting, two days back home to pack and put my life into a few bags, then off to London forever. I executed the plan perfectly. It was an absolutely horrific plan. I’m not sure how exactly to describe what transpired at that leaving party, but “spoilt teenage meltdown” comes close to doing it justice.
I don’t really know the best way to relocate in a stressless environment, but I do have a few perfect examples of how to get off to a terrible start.
I was notified I had the position in Brussels only a fortnight before the job started. It was approximately 12 days before that same job started that I discovered my passport had expired. After I’d renewed it and booked the fights, changed my entire life savings of about £500 in to euros, packed and said my goodbyes, all that was left was to entirely relocate to my new home city and find a place to live.
I’m just saying, if there’s an easy way of doing it, it still eludes me.
This time, leaving for Europe I knew one thing: there would be no leaving party. I intended to sneak out the back door. To me I was just leaving for a trip.
However, over a far too extended period of a fortnight, I seemed to be spending a lifetime saying goodbye. The stress of a leaving party, spread concisely over weeks. And so it was, I got it wrong again.
But here I am in Copenhagen, the sun is streaming through the fourth floor balcony and open door, and instead of the happiness of being about to start a new adventure, I’m sitting here having second thoughts.
I made the decision to finally leave and go wandering in December, probably by being the living embodiment of every mid 30s cliché in the book.
I had just got out of a long term relationship earlier that year, I was in a job going nowhere and suddenly I had an inflated sense of freedom, along with my usual feeling of self importance. It also seemed that everyone I was meeting at the time was travelling.
Wonderful and captivating anecdotes of the freedom of solitary travel.
One of these heroic travellers I met last year was a girl who wanted no commitment, didn’t see a future between us and didn’t feel that we should have any obligations of fidelity to each other. This wild and free feeling of complete liberty was a heady sip of wine.
But when that girl drives you to the airport months after you first met her, it’s never as straight forward as you’d hope. That had never been part of the plan. This really fucked with the plan. But that’s how plans work when they get hijacked by life. I think you can either have one or the other: A life worth living, or a set of plans. They mix as well as oil and vinegar. They jostle for position and you really have to pick one and stick with it.
And so, under a cloud of doubts and indecision, I set off for Europe.