Three months, that’s all. That’s all that’s left between me and the fulfillment of my oldest and dearest dream, between me and a promise I made to myself when I was very, very young, between me and the first time ever that I see a world beyond the Wide Brown Land that I was born in.
I’m going overseas for the very first time. I can’t wait! I’m going to America!
Now, to fully appreciate the enormity of this you’ve got to know a few things about me, and about the thinking that happens down here. First of all is this: I’m from Tasmania. Know where that is? It’s a little island off the coast of Mainland Australia. Yes, it exists (I know this because I live there). It’s very pretty, it’s rather small, and pretty much everyone who’s born here, at least for a season, thinks/dreams/talks about what it’ll be like when they leave.
I was a lucky kid, because back in the 80s when airline travel was hugely expensive I still got to go to the mainland once every couple of years or so. I kept all my boarding passes, airline refresher towelettes, napkins, you name it, if it had the airline logo on it I brought it home. I adored traveling. When I was old enough to get an atlas for school I pored over it, looking at all the countries that, when I was old enough, I would go to, and wondered how big my collection of airline paraphernalia would get, and I’d plot with a ruler how far north I’d been each time.
Not very far. North became my god, my dream, my ultimate. I’m from Tasmania. Check that out on a map. Now look up about five centimeters to the very bottom of mainland Australia. Not very far north at all, really. I kept dreaming.
Life happened, as it does, and by the time I was at the age when all my friends packed up for their big overseas adventures I stayed home and stewed in silent jealousy and practiced my best fake smile when well-meaning people told me “your time will come!”.
My time has come. Three months. Twelve weeks is all, and I’m sure that by the end I’ll be so sick of airline paraphernalia that I’ll never want to travel again.
Yesterday I decided for the third time that it wasn’t a good idea to go, that it was just not safe, that things would happen that I’d have no control over and I’d be stuck and lost and foreign in a place where people say words like “trash can” and “root beer” and they wouldn’t understand me when I tell them how desperate I’m feeling. This has happened before. Not the lost and foreign and desperate (well, unless you count my visit to Canberra), but the I-can’t-go. The first time it was transport. Too hard. Wrong side of the road. Ditch the whole idea. The second time it was guns, and the third time it was tarantulas (or, if you like, trianchulas)).
Now, here’s the other thing you need to know about me: I’m fearless. Nothing scares me. I’ll try anything, and most things I have, and sometimes more than once. Throwing caution to the wind and stepping out and doing it anyway is one of the things I’m best at in life, for better or worse. Except, it seems, when it comes to staying with friends in English-speaking countries in comfortable houses in the suburbs. Why, tell me, is this scaring me so much?
I don’t think it’s just me (Not the America thing, there are a few hundred million Americans who think America is the most normal place on earth, even when they do say “trash can” and “root beer”). I think that deep inside all of us is a fear of stepping into our deepest dreams. I don’t know why.
The only person who’s trying to sabotage my dreaming is me. I think it’s time to stop. And, in three months, it will be time to go. There will be guns, and possibly even spiders. I will see trash cans and drink root beer and be misunderstood and overtired, and probably cry more than I want to, and on the whole, it will be everything I ever dreamed, and then I’ll come home and never be the same again. Dreams do that to you, don’t they?
What a wonderful post. Thank you so much for this wisdom.
And by the way: I once met a Tasmanian in America (a guy) – he seemed to be doing just fine ,o)
Haha, thank you!!
You made me laugh. I’m glad he’s doing fine 🙂 I had to give myself a good shake-up once and remind myself that my friends actually LIVE in American, you know, go to the supermarket and school and work and stuff, it’s not a spider-infested war zone. For an otherwise sensible woman I can be quite ridiculous sometimes, apparently 🙂
oh, we ALL have our ridiculous sides, that’s for sure 😉
This trip is a good, GREAT, MARVELOUS idea, Megan! And I’ll rename the trash can in honor of you.
🙂 Oh NO Susie, what will you call it? Frank, perhaps?
You can call it the trash can as long as I’m not bawling and homesick, then you can call it the rubbish bin to cheer me up, okay?
Rubby the rubbish bin. 🙂
“…by the end I’ll be so sick of airline paraphernalia that I’ll never want to travel again.” I’m sorry to tell you, but this won’t happen. Once it gets in your blood … well … that’s it. You’ll come home and dream up a new adventure, maybe even more than one. 😉 I’m travel-hooked too. Every time the sky is blue and the sun shining, I want get in the car and go and keep on driving. Or a plane. It doesn’t matter really. I just itch with it. LOL
Yeah you’re right. I do know it. I’m already thinking of this trip as a “scouting” opportunity – checking out how it’ll be to take the kids in the next couple of years. LOL. I haven’t even been yet!
The last two paragraphs really got me, especially “I think that deep inside all of us is a fear of stepping into our deepest dreams. I don’t know why.”
I’m not going to a foreign country, but it some ways it kind of feels like it, stepping onto some new life territory. I hope your travels go well!!
Andrea It’s a hard place, stepping into new stuff. It’s good to recognise that there is fear, and that’s (apparently) normal, even when it’s good.
I wish you all the very best.
It really is – I am impressed with your ability to write about it so beautifully! The best to you as well 🙂
I am guilty of self-sabotage, but am getting better at recognising the signs and pushing through. It’s always worth it. I’m scared the reality won’t live up to the dream – and sometimes it doesn’t, but at least I know. And root beer (sars in Aussie) is MY FAVOURITE drink.
Good one Meg. I’m dealing with the self-sabotage in another area as well. Recognising it is such a big step. We;re such funny creatures.
Oh wow, I didn’t know root beer was sars! Oh that’s cool!!! Exactly the same? I guess I’ll find out in 3 months. I’ll have one when I have my first baloney sandwich too 🙂
hi Megan. This is also me to a tee. Except the part of actually booking a trip. I’m 41 (sheesh) been married for almost 20 years with two beautiful teen and tween boys and have passed up so many invites and opportunities to travel outside of Australia (btw we’re Tasmanian too). I have encouraged my husband and supported his trips but never had that itch that really needed to be scratched. Perhaps that will change and wish you all joy and blessing on this new fearless adventure -and look forward to reading all about the fun and misadventures along the way. 🙂
Thanks Heidi! Yup, I’m sure to report back on all the (mis)adventures…LOL!
Funny how some people are desperate to travel and others aren’t. My husband loves the idea, but hasn’t ever had the itch either.
And speaking of being Tasmanian and knowing everyone…I used to work with your sister, I think! 🙂
Hi Megan – my sister which one please? (now you have me intrigued…)
Ha! Heidi I realised a couple of days after I wrote that that I might be completely wrong…I used to work with Jess Richardson, who had a sister called Heidi, but the thing I realised was Richardson was her married name, so there’s only a wild coinciental chance that her sister Heidi would also be a Richardson (although in Tassie these things do happen)…so…sorry about that. But ARE you Jess’s sister?
In response to your question no I don’t have a sister with that name. I like your methodology and rationale though. Thanks for taking the time to clarify that point 🙂
Love it. You’ll be fine. This also makes me super excited to as I’ll be getting own passport in the next few months for a trip to the states to see a friend next year. On my own. No kids. No hubby. Just me. Scary shit, but I ready for it. Although as I write this, I recollect your own words on self sabotage… And think, eek!
Oh Jen that’s AWESOME! So thrilled for you. There’s something amazing about the idea of going over without hubby and kids too – it’ll be my first time without kids (save one night) since I’ve had them. Wowzers! Whereabouts are you going?
Hey Juneau – what was the guy’s name? We probably know him. Just joking – not everyone in Tasmania knows everyone else. But be warned, Megan, when you travel, should you meet some who knows someone from Tasmania, they will expect that you know that someone too. And before you can explain that Tasmania has more than 200 people, they name some you went to school with, are related to, lived next door to – it’s scary, it is.
Haha…yes!! I’ll have to remember that.
Hmmm. Wonder if I’ll meet any other Tasmanians over there. I’ll have to say “Do you know anyone called Juneau?” 🙂
I relate to this post in so many ways. The fake smile, the waiting, the longing to go, the fearing to leave. And amanderings is right. You’re doomed.
Wanderer I think you and I would make good friends. You should come for a visit to Tassie sometime 🙂
An Australian afraid of American spiders? That’s a good one. I didn’t leave my classroom when I studied up in Albury once because a huntsman decided to hunker down by the exit.
LOL! Yes, I’m not unaware of the irony, having heard a bit about how Americans see Australia as little more than a dangerous animal enclosure.
But seriously, huntsman aren’t as scary-looking as tarantulas, are they.
Granted, tarantulas don’t come into the house. And I, too, have refused to enter/exit a room because of huntsman before too 🙂
Hi Megan, go for it! I went to the US some years back for four months – it was an experience I would not trade for the world! Yep, I understand your apprehension – I almost didn’t go, but I knew if I didn’t I would be left with that feeling of “but what if I HAD gone, what would I have missed out on”, I knew I would always wonder. You’ll be just fine. Savour every moment. I found that most Americans love those of us from across any pond, I’m a Brit and found everyone over there was friendly and falling over themselves to ensure I enjoyed the experience. Hope that encourages you. I look forward to reading about your trip!
Thanks! I’m getting all inspired now to go NOW and blog all about it!
My American friend says the same – people will love me just because of my accent. I tend to find myself falling a bit in love with America too, just waiting for this trip. Every time I hear an American accent down here now (once a month or so) I want to go and make friends and ask them all about where they’re from!
oh, and yes – for some reason they do think that those of us from smaller countries know everyone else! Couldn’t convince them that I had never actually met the Queen or Princess Diana!
HAHA! England may be small, but it has a LOT more people than Tassie.
Heu, my cousin lives in England…do you know him?
Sure! The dark haired guy, nice smile – yeah I know him!
‘’The only person who’s trying to sabotage my dreaming is me.’’ You sound like me, I do it all the time and blame it on things like ‘I couldn’t leave dad, the cat etc to cope on their own’ or ‘when I have more money I will’ ‘when my son is in a happy relationship I will’ is another one. What I really think is we are afraid that if we follow and achieve our dreams they won’t live up to expectations and we will be disappointed.
Take your trip, even if you don’t enjoy it you can say you did it.
Ohhh, that’s sad. I know a few people like that, and it’s so obvious to me that they hesitate only because of fears, and so obvious to me that their fears are based on things long dead. But we get ourselves in these habits, and what’s obvious to me, an outsider, isn’t obvious to them at all.
I’ve booked the ticket, and no fear of anything is going to stop me from getting on that plane now, which I’m glad of. If I was waiting to get a cheap flight just before the time there is a high change I’d change my mind, but I can’t now, and I am glad.
Hang in there, it’s so good to recognise that it’s fear holding you back. Maybe it’s time soon for you to buy a (metaphorical) plane ticket to a dream?
Megan I think you are one of the bravest women I have ever known…and you know the saying ‘fortune favors the brave?’ it surely does already on you. You are so brave to say what Im thinking too about my dreams…getting so close but wanna turn back….why? . NO. TIME TO CLAIM. The stories we will tell Meg, the stories we will tell….. xx
xxxxx love you my friend! Keep pushing in. We can encourage one another xx
Guns? You live a stone’s throw from Port Arthur.
Spiders? Australia has a few of these, too.
You’re going to have a marvelous time, Megan!
Yeah Francis, the stone’s-throw-from-Port Arthur could just be why I’m frightened of guns in the first place 🙂
But thanks for the support cuz, yes. I will have a good time. I will! I will!!!
Hi Megan, I think your apprehension is understandable, after all this will be a mammoth first time experience for you. I’m Irish (small-ish island), live in London and have been to the US on numerous occasions…and love it. Part of the experience is the anticipation, the US won’t disappoint. You’ll look back and wonder why you worried. I’ll look forward to reading about it. Have a great time, live your dream!
Thank you!! You’re right about the anticipation – the countdown has been a gift in itself. Funny, that. I can imagine coming home and feeling not disappointed in the trip, but desperate to go again.
Relax Megan…:) Me an my wife went to St. Lucia deep in the Carribbean in 2010 some 2,000plus miles from home and it was a great experience where we made a new friend we still keep in touch with ….I hope you have a great time here in America….don’t worry we don’t bite much and the closest I came to owing a gun was made of rubber bands, bottle tops and clothepins when I was a kid…:). You Gotta try pizza, hotdogs, hamburgers, milkshakes, apple pie, spaghetti (homemade)…..I deem these all must haves when in America….If I think of anything else I will let you know…wish you a safe trip coming and going.
Thanks Philip! Yeah I’m so looking forward to it, even in spite of my crazy fears that try and derail me from time to time. I’ll add those foods to my list of must-try’s. And twinkies. I don’t care how awful they are, I must try twinkies!