*I will include snippets from my diary from my travels, and base my blog off it, while also providing reflections in hindsight.
“It’s so hot today. I pack slow.” I went down to the village green (the one with the infamous mermaid statue) with my sister to get a ‘99 (whipped ice-cream for those of you not from Ireland) the day before I left. I’d got my hair cut short that morning, for free. All of 14 inches of ponytail were cut off for the Rapunzel foundation (for children with alopecia).
I lied to the hairdresser about some details of going away. Of course Thailand came up in conversation. She was, naturally, intrigued. She asked if I was going with anyone. I guess I picked up something from her, like she’d be shocked if I said no. Quicker than I could think about it, I shot out a ‘Yes, a few of us.’ We’d collected money, packing bags in Dunnes (I didn’t want her to think I could just pay over a grand to completely fund myself for the whole trip - money hard earned and saved, but, all the same, I’ve no rent or bills to pay. All I have is disposable, and I’m all too aware of that). She was relieved. I was a little surprised at myself, and tried to remain off topic as much as possible.
Back to my haircut. It hadn’t been an act of complete selflessness. I’d been planning on getting my hair cut some months back, but I had only been a few inches off the required amount for the foundation, and thought, hey, I may as well! Especially if I wanted a simple bob for the humidity of Thailand. And it turned out that I appreciated (if also slightly detested it at times) my ever so slightly uneven, (I guess because of the ponytail, it happened, and maybe the hairdresser didn’t really pay too much attention to my freely cut hair) no-fuss do so much. I didn’t do a single thing with it for a good month and a bit, apart from using a clip sometimes (an a brush, don’t worry!), I swear. And when I did, all I did was a ponytail. Wow! I know, right?
“Nervous and excited” I had this inexplicable feeling of sadness, a sadness that was meant to account for all I would miss while I was gone. The sea, the fresh air. Potatoes and bread. My family, my friends, heck, even the people at work! My bed, my room. Playing the piano. After I’d finished packing my ginormous suitcase (it was a choice between that 25kg suitcase and a 10kg one-as I would soon discover, I should have picked the 10kg, or the hiking bag), I ran down the hall, telling my dad I’d be back in a half hour, in time to leave. I relished the cool summer air, full of hope and beginnings, things beginning to grow, fresh aromas. Soon, my ears picked up the lulling rhythm of waves crashing ashore. I walked along, so full of emotion. Joy, at the splendour before me, beneath my feet. Energy, excitement for the life happening all around me, what was to come. Sorrow, to have to leave the beauty of all that made up my home. It really was so beautiful. All of it. The land, the people, my whole world.
My whole world was about to get a lot bigger. I lay down in the sun, beside some small dunes, closing my eyes, blissfully apathetic to the few people who walked by. The sound of the sea intensified ten-fold. As sad as I was, I was ready, so ready for adventure. I didn’t want to leave, and I did. I was curious. This time tomorrow, I would be there, be right there, in a whole new country, embracing a new culture, with one of my best friends. What would it be like? How would I be then? What awaited me? What did I await? A very wise woman, someone I really hold in high esteem, rang me. And she told me the best thing anyone could have said. “Forget the heat,” which, really, ridiculously, but truly so, was my biggest fear, “and just enjoy it”.