Airport Woes 

I hate the airport. It stresses me out. It makes me angry, and frustrated. At the airport, I am not a nice guy. Tensions are running high, and everything annoys me on a greater scale than usual. From time to time, I find myself there, though very rarely (if ever) for reasons of my own. Usually when I’m at the airport, it’s because I’m doing the pick up. Tonight, it was for my brother, who flew in from Darwin for his two weeks of annual leave. 

I drove down, fighting my tired eyes by blasting the air con and loud music in my car, in an attempt to keep myself alert. It went smoothly enough at first, but there were the roadworks, which forced me to take a different and completely unknown route to the airport. Then there was the driving around, the finding a park only to then be ushered away because I had been there “too long”, then there was more driving and…well, I hate the airport.

If I’m lucky, all I have to do is find a park, pick up my person, and drive away. If I’m unlucky – and I usually am – I have to go through all the rigmarole, getting increasingly angrier with every passing moment. If I’m really unlucky, I have to actually go in to the terminal and do the baggage collection, and the waiting, and all that other not-so-fun stuff. Honestly, in no way do I envy those people who often travel for work, and spend a significant portion of their time checking in and out of terminals, collecting luggage, waiting in lines, getting randomly selected, hailing cabs or busses…

I don’t go on trips myself. At least, not the kind of trips that involve needing to board a plane. I’ve only ever had three occasions to catch a plane; once when my mother and I visited my sister in Queensland when I finished year 12, once a few years back for a compulsory work related assessment conducted in Sydney, and most recently to Queensland again for my sister’s wedding. On all three occasions, they were trips essentially planned by others, for purposes not my own. In fact, the only real holiday I’ve ever had was to Tasmania, and I travelled there by ferry. Not that that was a particularly pleasant experience either, but at least it was less stressful than the airport.

I like to go on solo adventures, and long drives. It might take me longer, it might even be more expensive. My butt might get sore, my eyes might get tired. But would I take those slight inconveniences over the much greater one of having to endure the airport? Every. Time.

Take me to Oregon 

I’ve been contemplating the possibility of going overseas to work for six months. Ireland is top of the list because let’s face it, it’s Ireland. It’s no secret that I’ve always wanted to travel there and listen to all the wonderful accents, and see all the beautiful places, and probably never leave. But right next to Ireland on the top of my list of places to see is Portland. No, not the one in Victoria. The one in Oregon.

I’ve been torturing myself lately, looking at pictures and researching things to do in Oregon and feeling an ache of longing for a place I’ve only seen in my dreams. My friend and I are hopefully travelling to the U.S next year and I’d really like to see Portland if the opportunity arises. And that’s kind of what got me thinking about this potential ‘live and work in another country’ thing. 

I actually looked into it about two years ago, with full intentions of going overseas. But life kind of got in the way a little bit, and so here I am, never having set foot off Australian soil, and still desperately wanting to travel the world. But I’m struggling with things a little bit at the moment, and the idea of running away certainly has its appeal. Except the last time I did that I ended up more angry and unhappy than I have ever been in my entire life. So if I am going to ever do it, I need to do all of my research first. And make sure that I’m fully prepared.

Maybe not this year. Maybe not even next. But at some point, I am gonna see the world. And if any of you have ever worked overseas, and have some tips or info for me, I’m fully open for conversation on the subject! And hey, if you’re a local Portland…ian, I’m also open to suggestions of cool things to do and see! *insert supposedly cheeky wink that is actually more likely to be super awkward and embarrassing for everyone involved*

Little Anxieties, and Experiencing Life

I don’t have anxiety. Not in the diagnosed sense, and not warranting any kind of medication to alleviate. What I do have are moments of anxiety, which I think everyone has. Having anxious feelings is surely part of the emotional spectrum that comes with just being human, right? Anyway, I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently, and how those little moments of anxiety affect the decisions I make. Or don’t make, such as it is.

If someone were to give it a name, at a stretch it could be said that I have a mild social anxiety. Being in unfamiliar situations makes me uncomfortable, and I’m rarely content around other people, particularly those that I don’t know. Large crowds – and small ones – have a tendency to make me nervous, and I am much happier just hanging out with a small handful of people that I know, and have spent time with before.

I was thinking about my holiday. Except for the two nights I hung out with my friends that live in Tassie, I spent my nights in the motel room, watching The Knick, or writing, or sewing. And that in itself isn’t a bad thing. But all I ate for dinner in the motel during that week, was crackers and dip. I know, I am a poor excuse for an adult. The thing was, the microwave in the room nearly exploded the first night I was there, so I couldn’t heat anything. And in my defence, I really did try to get proper food for dinner. But every time, I was thwarted by crowds.

I made trips in to the city centre for food four times. Four times I looked up places to eat, or got a recommendation. And four times, I went in my car and navigated my way there. And four times, I couldn’t face the front door without unease. The fish and chip place on the wharf was so packed with people that I got in my car and turned right around as soon as I found a parking space. Similar situation with the pizza place I tried the second night. And the supposedly excellent Italian restaurant that offered takeaway was closed when I went to check. It was only on my last night in Hobart that I actually succeeded. I put aside my nerves, walked right into the pizza place I had tried earlier in the week and made an order. And I ended up back in the motel room with one of the nicest (if priciest) pizzas I have ever eaten.

I do a similar thing when I eat at restaurants that I’ve never been to before, with an unfamiliar menu. For example, whenever I have Asian food with friends, I tell them to order me something because I have a terrible fear of pronouncing something wrong and making a dick of myself. It’s only when I become familiar with a place that I start to order things for myself. I’m not a big fan of ordering drinks at a bar, and I’m the absolute worst when it comes to making decisions when I’m around other people. And off the food topic, there have been many times when I have wanted to check something out, or do an activity, and have ended up leaving it because I can’t face up to doing something unknown on my own.

I feel like I am probably missing out on a lot of cool things, simply because I get myself too worked up into a state of nerves at the prospect of potentially making a fool of myself. And the thing is, that’s all entirely in my own head. That fear of being judged for doing or saying something wrong is completely unfounded, and I am aware of that. Most people aren’t even paying me any attention, much less watching to see if I make a mistake. But I can’t seem to get past that momentary anxiety in the moment. I need to take a leaf out of my best friend’s book. He is going on a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia in May, and we are discussing his trip via text as I write. It’s going to be a total culture shock, and he has already planned all the awesome things he is going to do. It is going to be a completely new experience for him, and instead of standing on the precipice of mild discomfort at the thought of all that different, he is going to throw himself wholeheartedly into it. And rightly so!

Don’t get me wrong, I love new things. I love trying different food, and exploring different places, and finding out what different things result in the best orgasm. I do a lot of day trips on my own when I get the time, and indeed my trip to Tasmania was a solitary one. But I think I allow my small anxieties to get in the way of having really fulfilling experiences. And I would like to change that. When he first mentioned he had booked his trip, my friend asked if I would go to Vietnam (at some point, not to join him on his trip) and I said, honestly, that I would. Because as I said, I love having new and different and exciting experiences. But I think, despite being a pretty solitary person in general, that overseas travel is something I would like to do – at least at first – with someone else. Anyway, the point I am trying to make is that a life lived in fear is not really a life fully lived. After all, how can one really enjoy all the wonderful things life has to offer, if one is too busy being nervous about the unfamiliar?

I’m not big on personality overhauls, mostly because I think it’s impossible to change who you are. But there’s nothing wrong or impossible about changing smaller aspects of your personality. So I’m setting a goal for myself. My trip to Tasmania was the start, but I want to do things, without my moments of anxiety stopping me. I am going to try and do things outside of my comfort zone; really put myself out there, and throw myself into life’s experiences. My best friend has inspired me, so I’m gonna make him proud. You watch, I’ll be a thrill seeker in no time!

Holidays and Happy Things

I’m back. You may not even have noticed I was gone, such is the nature of a blog site. Unless you have set days to post, which I don’t, people don’t tend to pay too much attention to how frequently you post a blog. But I digress. You may be wondering, now that you are aware that I was gone, where I went. Well, you see, I took a holiday. The first real holiday I have ever had and, after the last six months especially, extremely well deserved. I went, for eight glorious, peace filled days, to Tasmania. And I have to say, I have rather fallen in love.

You may have read, prior to this post, that I was not doing ok. The inside of my head had become an increasingly dark space, and I was sinking deeper and deeper into a chasm of black that I wasn’t prepared – or capable enough – to drag myself up from. Had I not have taken this holiday, I think I would still be there, in that darkest of places that perhaps only some of you have ever been. But away I went, and from the moment I walked away from my shop at 4:30 pm (a blissful half hour earlier than usual), I felt a literal lightening in my chest, the heavy weight that had settled there easing more with every step further away from work that I took. By the time I boarded the ferry, I was positively giddy.

Now, the ferry itself was not particularly pleasant, simply because a recliner is not really all that conducive to a good night’s sleep, especially when the one next to you is occupied by a male stranger with terrible breath. However, sleepless nights are not entirely new to me and so I made it through the 11 hour trip by staring out the window at the night darkened water, reading in the dim light, and listening to my ipod. When I disembarked upon arrival, something in my soul just started to…sing. Sounds New Age-y, I know. But it was as if I had come home. Now of course, a significant factor in my contentment has to do with the fact that I was away from work, and from the city that I have come to despise. But still, despite never having been to Tasmania before, I was positively overwhelmed a sense that this was where I belonged.

I didn’t take this trip with any real plan in mind, and as such most of what I did came from split second decisions, and very limited research. But it was utterly spectacular. I did the Tahune Airwalk, took a guided tour through the Hastings Caves, drove to the top of Mt Wellington, explored the incredible history steeped grounds at Port Arthur and took a 3.5 hour drive, just so I could wander down the pristine white sands at the stunning Bay of Fires. I ambled through MONA, went to see Logan (review to come), and spent the day with a couple of friends, wandering the Salamanca Market, drinking cider at the Cascade Brewery, and playing with their adorable puppy. I drove all over the place, saw some of the most beautiful sights, ate so much awesome food. And for those entire eight days, I wasn’t angry, or unhappy once. My default emotion was completely absent, even when a driver nearly collided with my car after failing to give way at a roundabout. And see, that was the thing. It wasn’t just the things I did, and the places  saw that had me feeling so cheerful. It was everything. The air was clearer, the people seemed nicer, even the water tasted better. It would appear that I have found the place where I could see myself living, long term.

I returned on the ferry yesterday, drove home (not the city) to visit one of my favourite people, and then when I arrived back to the house I live in, I cleaned and tidied, and murdered the ants that had set up shop in my bed. I could feel the discontent start to simmer beneath the surface of my skin, could feel the blissful calm of the previous week start to slowly dissipate. I dreaded coming to work this morning. But I am determined to make it through this next month as positively as I can. You see, as of today, I have exactly one month left at this dingy little shop. My boss informed me before I took my holiday that they have taken on another shop, and I will be running that instead. One more month, and then no more city. I mean, I’ll still technically be living in the “city”, but I won’t actually be working in the actual city. Which is going to do wonders for my mental state. And with the move of shop, comes the prospect of once again living on my own; a marvellously wonderful possibility. It would appear that good things are coming my way.

Evidently all I needed to improve my dark state of mind was to go away for a while, clear my head and create (which I am happy to report that I did, a little). So here’s to better things, to a happier head, and to Tasmania. I will be back for you, one day.