Friday, 31 December 2010

A Tale of Two Cities

"It was the best of times,
it was the worst of times,
it was the age of wisdom,
it was the age of foolishness,
it was the epoch of belief,
it was the epoch of incredulity,
it was the season of Light,
it was the season of Darkness,
it was the spring of hope,
it was the winter of despair,
we had everything before us,
we had nothing before us,
we were all going direct to Heaven,
we were all going direct the other way."
- Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities.

I was reminded of this opening passage from A Tale of Two Cities the other day and it struck me as being somehow appropriate to my circumstances both right now and for about the last six months of 2010.

I've had the absolute time of my life on this trip. But it hasn't all been fun and excitement. There have been a few big spanners thrown in the works along the way with significant implications both here and back in Australia. In fact the reason I've been so quiet lately is because I've been working through some personal issues for the last few weeks that will have a big effect on the remainder of this trip for me.
No matter who you are, things happen in life from time to time. They don't choose a convenient time to happen, they just do.  This is one such time for me.
But this is a travel blog, not a personal diary or a gossip magazine.

Being the start of a new year, it's also a time for reflection on 2010. I'm left feeling many things all at once. But strangely, despite being in such a difficult time, bitterness isn't one of those things. I've had my share of dark moments, especially recently, but I'm now slowly turning that negativity into a strong determination to get back into my travel and really make the most of it before I return to Australia, and then be ready to hit the ground running with momentum when I do return.
All my old travel plans are now tossed out the window though, and I'm in the process of making new plans.

For the first time in a long time, the rest of my life is a blank canvas waiting for me to make my mark. It's daunting to think how much work I have ahead of me, but the infinite possibilities are also very exciting.
And it all starts right now.
I don't know what country I'll be in this time next week, but I doubt it will be France.

The last time I felt this liberated was when I was sitting in my Kombi van in Devonport in 1997, waiting to drive onto the ferry to Melbourne. I had $1000 in the bank and all my worldly possessions in the kombi, with no plans except to drive around Australia until I found somewhere I wanted to live. It was an incredible sense of freedom leaving Tasmania with no real destination in mind.
Six months and many adventures later I arrived in Perth with a couple of old friends I'd picked up along the way (a big hi to Kath and Chrispy if you're reading this). We were to stay in Perth to earn some money and then head north up Australia's west coast, but 13 years later I still find myself living in Perth. I guess I found that place I wanted to live.

My current situation isn't exactly the same, as I do have a few responsibilities back in Australia (property, vehicles, cats), and there is of course some sadness about what I'm leaving behind, but on the positive side I have the opportunity and means to do things I couldn't do back then.
But in both cases I have the excitement of a completely unwritten destiny, the means to travel, and the luxury of time.
Let's hope I can do something worthwhile with that.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Paris, France

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