I’m writing this as I am currently on a five hour layover at LAX waiting for my connecting flight to Mexico City. Usually in this situation I’d be sitting at the airport bar telling myself that it’s 12pm somewhere in the world and enjoying multiple icy cold beers. Not in this case however. I’m currently sitting on some seats away from the crowds high up on a mezzanine overlooking the departure lounge with some of Aero Mexico air hostesses. Since selling everything and being homeless the past three weeks, it’s given me much time to reflect. It’s not like I’m going away forever but you just can’t help and contemplate a few things
Stoping to smell the roses
I found myself paying more attention to the little things. Sometimes I’m guilty of drifting off when I made an effort to listen. However, I’ve been taking time to get back to people and making it more meaningful. My friend Paul says it’s me talking Zen but I’m just speaking my mind drawing on experiences thats lead me to take some time out. I’m usually a smily person but I’ve made an effort to and said hello more to people. It wasn’t that hard really. All I had to do was take off the headphones, smile and ask them how their day was going. I just got off the LA Airport transfer bus from the arrivals to departure gates and at each stop, passengers getting off would say thank you and the bus driver would acknowledge their appreciation and respond with “A great afternoon to you too”. I don’t think us Sydney folk do that enough.
Friends and farewells
I caught up with many friends, eating so much food, drank lots of beer, wine and shots of cafe patron. You could have called me Sir Lunch A Lot those last few weeks, To top it off, I had four farewells. Three work ones and a none work related one. I was worried that I wouldn’t make the flight out of Sydney from just pure exhaustion. It’s hard work saying goodbyes but in the end it was great to catch up with those who I’ve become close with since moving to the big smoke. As a result, I had to buy some liver detox tablets the day before I flew out.
I spent a few stressful weeks worrying whether or not I would be homeless for the last three weeks after moving out. Needless to say I feel humbled and lucky to have a lot of offers from friends to crash at theirs.
My poor mother has been the typical mother with a black belt in throwing down the guilt trips. She hasn’t held back on telling me how much she’ll miss me, but it’s time her little Jimmy left The Shire for a most excellent adventure. It will be hard for her since both my sisters live in Scotland and in Perth, so for the past 12 or so years it’s just been myself flying the flag. I don’t think she’s gotten used to the idea of me not working for a long period of time. In my youth I had aspirations to be a professional golfer but mum somehow managed to talk me into going to uni and get a higher education as what most Asians would. Hopefully I can somehow convince her that despite not working in a “career” for the next whatever months, I know for certain will gain a lot more experience and maturity than I would if I stayed in the same job doing the same thing during that time
I started getting rid of my possessions a couple of months ago. It all started with the clothes. 13 garbage bags of them in fact. I had previously used shopping for clothes as an excuse for traveling and made the decision late last year to go on this trip so any there was an immediate ceasefire on the bank balance. Mind you, I didn’t get rid of the 13 bags in one hit. It was a process of about 4 trips to the charity clothing bins. It started with getting rid of things I definitely knew I would never wear again. The next time would be things that I had only worn a couple of times but had no attachment to. The third time were items I had never worn but in all honesty thinking back I’m like “WTF were you thinking Jimmy?” The final visit was shedding the final dead weight in order to keep all of my clothing possessions stored in a large suitcase. As I made these trips to the clothing bin, I realised that it had become apparent that I had spent quite recklessly over the years on crap I didn’t need.
This I will miss the most. Beef Pho, Crispy skin chicken, Mud Crab Congee. The list goes on. I was going to bring a bottle of soy and also a jar of Vegemite to remind me of home but decided against it. This trip is about Jimmy Eats World, not Jimmy Eats a bit of Oz in World.
Overall, everybody has been extremely supportive. A few of my friends in the past 9 months have made big life or career changes It must be the 30+yr old itch. Even thought I’ll most likely be back in a year, I’ve been following quite a few blogs out there on people who have spent years travelling. I can only applaud that they decided to take the plunge at an age many years younger myself but hopefully what I am doing can inspire other old hacks like myself to take a leap of faith and scratch that itch.
I’ve been asked a lot if I’m nervous and I’ve said no most of the time. In all honesty I do feel a little nervous but I’ve prepared myself to realise that I will be in difficult and frustrating situations almost every day. Today I realised that even fewer people here in Mexico City spoke less english than I had originally though (Yep it’s been a couple of days to get there since I started this post). I would rate it up there with China difficulty wise but at least the spanish understand the universal sign language. Despite this challenge I still find this place fascinating and I have yet to scratch the surface of it yet and I haven’t made up my mind on when I’ll move on to the next city.
So friends. What’s the longest you’ve ever been away and how did you find dealing with it pre, during and post trip?