ROAM TO REYKJAVIK || part 2
My bags were packed, neatly placed by the door a week before my flight. I felt it was a bit selfish to avoid saying goodbye to my friends, but throwing a party for myself seems odd to me.
Guilt prevailed and I invited a few of my people to a rooftop joint in Newtown (Sydney) to have farewell beers.
I have an eclectic bunch of mates. They all come from different parts of the city, geographically and culturally, but somehow they all made sense to each other... Mid-gathering, I took a moment to step back and observe everyone chatting away... At this point my gratitude and happiness put my emotions on a knife edge. It really doesn't get much better than this. Moment of creepy solo staring-at-everyone-from-side-stage over. I was beckoned over by my best mate to be informed that he and his incredible wife were pregnant. They wanted to tell me in person before I left. Instant man-tears and hugs.
And then there is Paige (pictured below). I've been blessed with the company of some incredibly strong and powerful females. In this moment, of this story, Paige deserves a mention... You are WOMAN! Paige was my backbone through a few moments of unrest leading up to flying away. She is just awesome check her out here and here.
I need to acknowledge the people who came to farewell me, and those who couldn't make it... You know who you are, you are all beautiful, and you collectively make up the most important part of my life, my people. It was so meaningful to have you all in one spot whether physically or in spirit. I am incredibly grateful to have so many amazing people to miss when I disappear overseas.
The next day I woke up at home. I double checked that the house was all locked up and quietly walked out the front door to the train station. I felt the December sun on my skin and smiled (with a tiny bit of longing), knowing it would be a little while before I crack a sweat on a 400m journey again.
This is probably a great moment to mention my crippling flight anxiety.
It started before I booked my tickets and carried on until about 2 hours into my first flight. I had some big chats with my friends, considered seeing a therapist, and beat myself up about it for months. Then, somewhere over the Philippines... It mostly went away. It probably had a lot to do with the view. Out over the wing of the plane, tinted by the smoke from the peat fires in Indonesia I let myself be there, in 57A, 35,000 feet above. (see the cover image)
If you get all cold and sweaty about flying here are a few things that helped me out:
- - PUTTYLIKE: How to deal with anxiety
- - GABA supplements
- - 5HTP supplements
- - Pranayama breathing
- - Rescue remedy 'sleep' drops
- - Air-stretching -
- - Noise cancelling headphones.
The most unmistakable trigger of my adventure mindset is the smell of cold metal and jet fuel. My heart pounding and my mind chattering, self-diagnosing a rolling catalogue of anxiety symptoms. Fumbling around for a distraction, I got my phone out and sent a text to mum and dad:
"I'm in my seat, on the tarmac... Heading off to be with the woman I love, in some of the worlds most amazing places. I'm so grateful in this moment for everything you have both given me: my morals, values and confidence. I love you both X"
Then I turned my phone to aeroplane mode. Then off, just in case I was the one asshole who mucked up the plane's navigation system with a 'cellular device'.
In Amsterdam it was daybreak, I'd been in an extended twilight/night 23 hours.
I booked my flight itinerary to try and trick my circadian rhythm. Leaving Sydney at 3pm > 11 hours in the air > Departing Hong Kong at midnight, with a couple of wines and a Temazepam > 9 hours of snoozy wriggling later... Amsterdam!
I disembarked then promptly connected to the free airport wifi and messaged my friend whose place I was crashing at. Then I put on my headphones and cranked this ultimate victoriously-disembarking-a-plane-on-the-other-side-of-the-planet track. I was clearly the most enthusiastic person in the passport check line. What!? It's a great song and I had my feet safely on the antipodes.
I got to Ant's place after a quick train and a walk over a few canals. I took my time and enjoyed watching the city wake itself up for the day. In his cozy habitat, I was promptly offered a curated selection of local, post-flight herbal remedies accompanied by bacon and eggs. You're a good bloke Ant. I asked him "where is a good spot to get a coffee?", on his way out the door to work he replied "Oh, there's a really hipster place called 'Scandinavian Embassy' you will love! I don't go there, I hate hipsters...", classic Ant.
I took his the advice and got a Swedish brewed coffee, in the Netherlands, served in a beaker-come-teapot on a breadboard by a person from New Zealand.
I guess Ant was right about the 'hipster' bit.
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