Twenty-five months since I left Australia: I’ve achieved everything and absolutely nothing.
I’ve lived and worked in London.
I’ve skied and apres-skied to the best corny music the Germans have produced. I’ve climbed the Tatras mountains in north-east Slovakia and white-water-rafted the Tara Canyon that separates Bosnia & Herzegovina from Montenegro; I’ve cold-water-showered in an elevated basin two metres from a highway and feasted on a breakfast only of Albanian coffee and raki (local spirits). I’ve galloped helmet-less through the Montenegrin mountains on wild horses and whooshed along the longest zipline in the world thereabouts; I’ve scampered through the longest cave in the world near Lake Shkodra with an local guard too keen to use his AK-47, and scaled forts and ruins in unheard-of small towns. I’ve kayaked the Dalmatian Coast and been led willingly on a ‘ten minute’ walk to the Black Lake that took 1.5 hours and included an emergency car ride. I’ve hiked the five towns of Cinque Terre, finished a glass of wine and hiked back, and I’m one half of the only pair of women to canoe across Lake Como; I’ve climbed the Stairway to Heaven (hell) between Italy and the most boring town in Switzerland. I’ve been on the edge of a fjord and thrown an involuntary tantrum due to sugar deprivation in Trondheim, Norway.
I tried to rent a hostel room with a writer in Barcelona just to go to the toilet at 3am only to be told the rooms were full but the toilet was free around the corner. I’ve danced on tables in too many places to name and witnessed a stabbing in Istanbul. I’ve been disappointed by Auschwitz (tourists!) but taken over by Sachenshausen Concentration Camp (solitude) and London’s Imperial War Museum (panic attack); I’ve trajectored my reading obsession of the German narrative of WWII to the Soviet Union’s involvement and their Cold War. I’ve replaced pages of books with a kindle and found that kindle-induced happiness is my favourite kind of happiness. I’ve read over 40 books, living through times and in places I’d otherwise never have the opportunity. I’ve made friends in every town and city, on every hiking path and in every floatation device. I understand English through accents I never knew and understand universal sign language for the unlearned fluently. I consistently ‘like’ posts on Facebook in languages I don’t understand – I’m glad my friends are happy.
I’ve worked a 9-5 job in London but found it under-stimulating so I started editing on the side for the purposes of validation and with the benefit of pay. Since then, I have critiqued the crap out of and re-written a PhD thesis, edited and proofread journal articles, dissertations and a book soon to be published. I’m about to re-write a website. I also started this blog: I didn’t know how much I needed it.
I’ve met soul mates in each country. Soul mates, unlimited by age, sex, sexual attraction or story. The kind of people who make you feel you’ve been in neutral all this time and now you’re suddenly in gear. I have couch-and-tea’d with my closest friends in London too regularly to propose a number. I have conversed with an Austrian pilot at a restaurant in Florence after midnight who closed its doors but supplied us with wine for the morning, been deep in conversation with an American academic in Prague, discussed the unethics of community work on a dance floor in Chamonix, swapped my favourite punctuation marks with another punctuation-lover in a Catalonian bar, ridiculed the idea of the audacity of society to expect long-term relationship commitment from 21st century citizens with Norwegian boys in Budapest, laughed my way through Vienna with soul mate Emma, fluidly mixing ridiculous banter with spiritual theories and our evidence of them.
And, after all this.
I know where I am. But I have no idea where I’m going.