(Three months later)
I'm sitting on the green leather couch like Yoda. For hours. Nothing moves. The cat cuddles against my thigh and purrs. He has grown on me. I'm okay with the absence of action. I've given up trying to reconcile myself with Australia. I can't make something out of nothing. Maybe in 20 years, I'll take a second try, maybe not.
A few months ago, I was standing in a private hospital in Sydney in the operating room number 5. Before me, two "hot-shot heart surgeons" operate on an (unidentified) body, while a machine takes over the work of the heart. It pumps blood through transparent tubes while the unused heart peers out defenselessly between the sterile layers of blue paper. The mood in the room is electrified. As if all particles have changed direction. Quiet background music sets a scene of pure concentration. I stand there with my camera in my element. And I realize that I could've done what they are doing if I had made some decisions differently. But I didn't want to and do not want to today. I'm where I'm meant to be.
Everything seems to be possible from the other end of the world. Everything. I've never felt invincible, but now I do. It's as if a curtain fell from my eyes. It's a paradox because I've rarely had as little creative agency as in this country, but that shows me how many things I've already made decisions on.
I now know that I can travel around the world without an aeroplane. The pedants among you will say, "In fact, you've already failed. You had to get on the plane twice." But I would reply with that old saying: Failure IS the best teacher. No decision has taught me more than the step into the aeroplane. Three hours in the air, neither destroy nor influence the experiences I've had in the three years I was standing with both feet on the ground.
My onward travels seem to be a process I have to go through, the countries more like stepping-stones on my way home. Of course, there are many countries I still would like to see. 90% of them are in the northern hemisphere, however. Greenland, Iceland, Scotland. Everything in between doesn't interest me as much. Then there are the skills I still want to learn: Spanish or maybe Portuguese.
My route changes drastically. Initially, I wanted to travel from Australia to South or Central America, via the USA, Canada to Greenland, through Iceland and Scotland. Now I'm moving on to New Zealand and from there to South or Central America. And then I will head home. At least, that's what it feels like at the moment. It's becoming increasingly clear that this won't be my last adventure.
My journey will still take a long time despite the route change. About ten months in New Zealand, at least six months in a Spanish speaking country and then however long it takes for me to land in Europe. I have had enough of anglophone countries. I can visit them when I'm old or rich or both or never. My heart stays calm, my soul quiet. I have no overwhelming desire to make seeing them a priority. If your soul and heart are quiet, don't travel.
I lower my legs, take a deep breath and get used to the silence. My head has been busy for a long time. I have carried these decisions with me for the past months. At some point, after a phone call with Leo (vom eins2frei blog, who is in a uniquely similar situation), everything was suddenly easy. Within five days, I decided everything that had bothered me for two months, and now I'm just a little bit nervous. I am not working in the last couple of months in Australia. I organize my onward journey. Visa. Containership. Psyche. Sleep. I read. I cook. I bake. I enjoy the silence and the space that I can occupy here. In New Zealand, I'll have to be content with youth hostels and shared rooms. Who knows when I'll be as comfortable again as here in Meg's guest room.
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