Countdown: Ten Days to Take Off

Ten days suddenly seems like a ridiculously short amount of time I have left to get myself together and be on my way. With eight days of work left, the thought fills me with even more foreboding. I’ve just about reached the point where I’m almost used to the constant feeling of butterflies in my tummy and cold feet that turn into minor heart palpitations at the drop of a hat.

But I guess all this is normal. Pre-departure jitters. The feeling of mild anxiety, trepidation and unease that will, as it has before, vanish the minute I’m on the other side of immigration, to be replaced by unbridled excitement and the sweet taste of anticipation.

My to-do list is slowly getting done, which is a relief and serves to somewhat calm my nerves. Getting my new passport was somewhat exhilarating.

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Left to Right: 1999-2009, 2009-2013, 2013-2019

The smell of freshly printed pages, blank and awaiting blue-red-black ink to form barely decipherable patterns that will one day be looked at with fondness as wave after wave of memory floods back, is intoxicating. I will rue the day that technology, and biometric passports, renders immigration counters and stamps in passports obsolete, for what then will I look at with nostalgia and wistfulness? Ah!

In any case. Despite my seeming efficiency, one of the things I haven’t done is pack. With effectively only four work-free days to prep for the trip, I’m starting to feel a little concerned, although it does help to remind myself that I can probably get by with very little, and whatever I do need but don’t have, I can probably get there anyway, so there really is very little to worry about. That said, I should, at some point, start throwing my myriad of belongings into the cavernous space I call my backpack so I won’t be rushing around like a headless chicken the day before I fly.

In the meanwhile, it’s been nice catching up with random friends, old, older and new. People going or returning from somewhere tend to elicit this flurry of meet-ups that inevitably die down as this-and-that gets back in the way. Such a pity, really. I would like to meet my friends (and family) more often. Time is a precious commodity only won by the highest bidder.
“Let’s hang out!”
“Let’s hang out because I haven’t seen you in forever!”
“Let’s hang out because I haven’t seen you in forever and it’s my birthday!”
“Let’s hang out because I haven’t seen you in forever, and by the way, I’m leaving the country on an epic adventure that may or may not end.”

Hands down; I win. A hollow victory, seeing as how these hang-outs and meet-ups will undoubtedly continue in my absence, and when I come back, I will have to face the awkward half-laughs I self-consciously force out in the face of countless hours, days, weeks, months spent apart, inside jokes too rooted to let anyone else in and uneasy shifting in seats as the sad realisation dawns that too much has changed for anything to be the same again. And where would that leave me? I’m not sure, but I’m sure I’ll find out, whether I want to or not. Such is the constant (I jest!) worry of one with tireless feet and a wandering soul.

What a melancholic turn this has taken. I did not mean to indulge in such retrospection and contemplation, but I suppose these pesky little feelings slip out unnoticed when you least expect them. No matter, no harm done. At the risk of sounding like someone with poor control of her emotions (although I definitely am), I shall go back to reveling in the prospect of my departure in nine (!) days!

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