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Of course, I’m scared.

What? Would the story sound better if I pretend I’m not?

Well, sorry. I’m scared. Doubly scared, actually, tonight. We’re leaving in just a few hours and I’m terrified something will go wrong and we won’t make it to the airport or board plane #1 or plane #2. And then, of course, I’m scared of what’s coming next—travelling.

Wouldn’t you be scared? I mean, it’s just us and some 12 kilos of belongings wandering around places the media repeatedly warned us about. It’s not so much the fact that—cue in Fox News—”anything could happen” because anything can happen anywhere, anytime. What’s truly scary is that we have no plans. We don’t know where we will be tomorrow, the day after, two weeks from now.

Complete freedom is a scary concept. We all work hard filling life with commitments and filling time with structure, buying stuff we don’t need and setting up routines we end up hating. This is gone when travelling. Well, mostly gone—we still need to eat and sleep, but we don’t know what or when.

Of course, right now I’m scared but I’m also looking forward to hitting the road again. I signed up for the adventure and I worked hard to make it happen.

Oh yeah, that’s the other thing—since we’re being honest with each other, I have to stress that even though I make our backpacking trips sound impromptu and easy, they’re not. Going travelling requires a lot of work even if we don’t plan the route and book ahead. Ask anyone who attempted to set up a coffee date with me over these past few months—since we came back from France, I’ve been working 10 hours a day, seven days a week. Fall was busy with plenty of projects and opportunities to make a living and save money.

At one point, I started getting ready for the trip on top of my usual workload. We had to plan Christmas before Christmas, tackle business we wouldn’t be able to take care on the road, buy travel essentials and pack.

I paused after typing the paragraph above. What the hell did I actually do over the past few weeks? It felt like I was always busy but I already forgot the many small, tedious and necessary pre-travelling steps I had to complete.

And this is exactly why I don’t usually stress on all the prep work. It’s not because I want to project a perfect image of myself but because it’s secondary to me.

I enjoyed the past few months. I was productive—my clients sent rewarding assignments, I finally took and pass my G driver’s licence, I went to the gym five days a week, everything went fairly smoothly at home and the weather was typically Canadian but bearable (hey, no tornado this year!).

It’s only when I stopped taking new assignments earlier last week that I realized I was exhausted. I never sleep enough. I’m always working or stuck in the tedious time-sucking routine all parents and professionals know too well. Twenty-four hours is never enough time to complete everything I’d like to do and it’s frustrating.

We spent the last few days packing, running up and down the stairs, cleaning, washing and fixing stuff. Tables and desks collect everyday clutter—bills, paperwork, receipts, socks with holes, schoolwork, souvenirs, broken shoes, mismatched gloves, cords, etc.—and we had to deal with it, kind of like a spring cleaning.

I’m looking at my backpack right now and I’m amazed it took me so long to fill it with everything I need. It’s pretty small but it was a lot of work.

I hope I didn’t forget anything.

Fuck it. I’m not going through my packing list again.

It was pouring rain on Saturday, then it turned into a blizzard and Sunday was bitterly cold and very windy.

I couldn’t wait to leave winter behind.

It’s only—4⁰C tonight and windless.

The urge to run away is almost (temporarily) gone but curiosity and the need for an adventure are still here.

I have butterflies in my stomach. It’s part of the experience, I suppose.

I should go to bed. We’re leaving early.

Now you know the truth—even experienced backpackers are scared of travelling.

Finally done packing, Ottawa, December 16, 2019
Finally done packing, Ottawa, December 16, 2019

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