Out in the distance it looked so small. The city that had been my life for the past 9 months. The vast, all encompassing entity that had housed me, fed me and given me countless insights in to life and myself felt incredibly distant. The skyline, no more than the size of my little finger anymore.
I couldn’t help but stare at it though, rom the top floor of the airport. There was no longer any way of me moving towards, no way to go outside and take one last breath of the crisp, foreign air. The only direction I could move now, was away.
All I could do was look, longingly, through the window. Past the ghostly looking, distorted, hollow reflection of myself.
That’s probably the best way to describe how I felt.
Not because of what I had done, not because I had been there. But because it was over. I was leaving what, were at the time, the happiest days of my life behind.
The city – that to this day I still hold dear to my heart – wouldn’t ever know I was gone. I was just one less footprint on the pavement. Soon to be replaced with another arriving by bus or airplane. No matter how much I wanted it to, this city would never miss me like I would miss it. The high rises and skyscrapers were not looking back at me, feeling the same way.
In the moment though, most of the world was tuned out. I had my headphones on, listening to the music that would forever remind me of the trip. Songs that made me feel the sand between my toes, the satchel on my back and the sun beating down on my skin. The only contact to anyone on the outside was the occasional flicker of a silhouette passing by in the windows reflection.
From the outside in, I must have looked like I was staring. Just a guy looking out of the window, devoid of all conscious thought. But on the inside, there was a highlight reel playing. The things I’d done, places I’d been.
The crystal clear waters, long breath-taking leaps off rocks and the mountainous valleys I’d surveyed from afar. They all came flooding back to me, in what I can only imagine as the barrage you get before you die. The moment when your life flashes before your eyes.
There were no memories or pain, rejection or unhappiness. Just ones that will serve me well for the rest of my life, which nobody can ever take. That keep me warm on cold days, happy on sad ones and focused for the days yet to come.
The music on my iPod suddenly came to a stop. I’d been looking, lost, for what seemed only a few seconds but had actually been a whole albums worth. I was drawn, suddenly back to reality. Back to where my feet were, suddenly all too present.
I wiped a tear from my eye and accepted that the moment was over, that it was now time to press on with my journey home. I took two steps towards the window, kissed my hand and blew it out to the city. I knew full well that I wasn’t going to be making any stops in Perth any time soon, so for me my final moment had to count. Goodbyes have always been one of the things I’ve struggled with most my whole entire life – I’ve always felt a send off should be fitting and emotional. Not concrete and shallow like most usually are.
Turning around to face the entrance to the terminal is when I knew. When it finally hit me. Although one chapter was closing, another, more exciting one was about to open. A fire in my belly had been ignited, and – for the foreseeable future at least – I was about to surrender myself to a life of traveling.
A life not dictated by ‘If’s’ and ‘Buts’, and not filled with ‘What if’s?’. But one full of ‘When?’ and ‘Where?’ and ‘Oh wells’.
Question: When did you discover your passion? When did what you’d like to do, become what you wanted to do? When did your dream become tangible?
If however, it’s not – don’t fret. In the words of Baz Luhrmann ‘The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t.’
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