‘Round about April 1, I started getting really antsy, the sort of restlessness that some have called wanderlust, but in my case, I’m not so sure. That will be a discussion for another time.
As my friends have told me, I’m a doer, and I felt that I wasn’t doing much of anything. I was staying with my brother and sister-in-law in Phoenix. I had prepared a good proposal and sent it to several agents in hopes of having someone invest in my book project so that I could return to Australia with more money in my pocket. I had also sent off many applications for work, and even tested with a temporary agency that was quite optimistic about placing me. Nothing. In all of this, I was plagued with doubt about what I should be doing. Sometimes on a morning walk I would pass an apartment complex, the sort that is a series of boxes dressed up to look like something classier. People walked their dogs, moved in, moved out, nearly fell down the stairs carrying too many boxes, struggled to fit the box spring around the corner. I watched these people living their lives, becoming inordinately depressed, because I imagined myself getting a job, moving into one of those boxes, trying to get my piano up the stairs.
My sister-in-law and I became good friends during this time, and I would share some of my frustrations – and fears – with her. I know that there were times that she noticed my swollen eyes after a particularly anxiety-filled day. I was working my plan, being responsible, mapping things out, determined to do this the right way. I talked to my oldest sister, who has always been supportive of my dreams. I talked to my other sister, who is analytical by nature, but told me, hey, if this is your dream, you better do it. And my brother, no stranger to risk, who farmed for years and runs his own business, said pretty much the same thing. My sister-in-law, when I confessed so much doubt, said “stay the course.” And finally, my brother, who is an engineer and whose life has been lived in concrete and sequential terms said, “I think you should go for it.” I also spoke with the dogs about these issues, but found that they were more interested in what they thought was going on outside.
My friends asked when I was going back. I told them , it depends on this. And that. And this and that. One day I confessed to one that I had plenty in the bank to buy a ticket, and maybe I should just do that.
And still, I didn’t do it.
Finally, during a visit to Rancho Mirage I spoke with my spiritual advisor. We sat down together and I started explaining what was going on, how there wasn’t a job and there wasn’t an agent, but there was a great proposal, and that everything was in place except the balance of the savings account. She listened. Asked a few questions. As I answered them I understood that (once again) the only one getting in the way was me. I started laughing (a little hysterically) and surrendered.
Shortly after that, an Internet search revealed a pretty good one-way fare to Melbourne. My travel agent found one that was $200 more good. I bought it. After which my dear friend M. pointed out, “Hey – it’s the leap of faith, not the fall of faith.” I’m counting on that.
Part of that leap was letting my car go. Little Ms. Putt now has the honor of being a young girl’s first car. Her Mom has a Beemer, so does her grandmother and her aunt, and her cousin … they know what she’s getting into. Her dad has a detailing business, so Ms. P. will always look good. It is the last remnant from my old life.
A couple weeks before I left, my sisters and I had a weekend together, just the three of us. We goofed off, ate too much. I bought a pair of earrings that I didn’t need but were too nice to leave for a stranger; K. found a really cool vintage dress and K. found a plate to add to her ceramic collection. We visited and went ice skating and got awesome foot rubs and visited museums. I cried when I got on the plane to leave. As much as I wanted to return to Australia, I wanted to cling to something that I no longer have here, and maybe never had, if I even know what it is. One thing I know for sure: leaving feels different this time.
Since June 2011, I have lived in 21 different places, some only for a couple nights, others for a few months. In just a couple weeks, it will be a year since all of my possessions have been in storage and I have not had a lease. To those of you who have supported my goals and dreams by sharing your homes and lives with me, thank you.
And to those of you who will be allowing me to stay with you in the next year, I can’t wait to meet you.
It starts in Melbourne.