It was shortly after joining the M25 that I realised I had probably packed a bit too much into my car. All three lanes of the motorway had been closed due to a big accident and everyone was being diverted to a single carriageway to join an A road. It was as I was trying to navigate between the other disgruntled drivers then that I discovered the major disadvantage of not being able to use any of your mirrors.
My poor old Ford Ka was packed to the ceiling and the passenger seat was filled with an assortment of bags and boxes which threatened to fall on me every time I turned a corner. Packing light has never been my forte – which doesn’t really bode well for a solo round-the-world trip – and the trip back home to Scarborough was no exception. Thankfully a kindly white van man took pity on me and gave me the space to get out, otherwise the chances are I’d still be sat on that motorway with my indicator blinking now. (I say kindly, but I think the beeping could probably have been interpreted in two ways).
The past couple of weeks have been a bit surreal. Finishing at work, leaving my friends in Brighton and saying goodbye to my family are all things I knew were coming but I hadn’t let myself think about too much.
Leaving Brighton has been particularly strange as I have no idea whether I’ll be moving back there in nine months time.
As I was packing up the three-and-a-half years worth of stuff I have managed to accumulate, I came across a lot of things which reminded me of when I first moved to the city, when I had a very different life to the one I’m leading now. Other the last few months, as we all prepare to move onto different stages of our lives, my friends and I have spent a lot of time talking about how things have turned out. In our most brutally honest moments the conversations have often turned to “this isn’t where I thought I’d be”.
When I moved to Brighton I was in a long-term relationship and thought the last years of my twenties would be following the traditional route of settling down and thinking about a family.
So when the relationship ended suddenly I felt completely lost and it took a long time to figure out what my new life would be.
And even after finally making the leap and giving up everything to go travelling solo there have still been many, many times when I’ve questioned my decision. But back at home as I was trying to cram my many possessions into the bedroom I grew up in, I came across my old school year book. Among the questions about our most embarrassing moment and what we’d enjoyed most about our time at school, was the question: “Where do you think you’ll be when you’re 30?”
While many of my 16-year-old classmates had written “married, living in a nice house, with two children”, I’d answered “A journalist, travelling the world.”
So, strangely enough, it seems I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.