And so i wait; the endless and anxious wait before i set off on the road once more. It’s difficult to get across to people the stress i feel when i’m in this position – regardless of how many times i’ve been here and done this.
It’s my last day at work before leaving and as usual, i’m leaving straight from work. As soon as i am let loose the shackles of my contract for a week, i’m off, the car now packed and ready to go (ish, it needs a rearrange to stop everything rattling around and finding small nooks and crannies to settle in). There’s the usual worry that something crucial is missing, mixed with the knowledge that as long as i have my phone, keys and wallet that nothing can stop me. But that security is fleeting at best and soon replaced with the worry that i am missing that crucial ingredient between a good week away and a week of troubles and misery.
I’m driving out solo and that in itself is a source of discomfort. Will the car be okay? Again, i’ve done this plenty and god knows i’ve been in some bad situations and made it out okay many times. Even so, as above, this reassurance matters not and every small creak or unusual noise in the car for the past week has been amplified out of all context and led to me fretting that some terrible event will occur and leave me stranded somewhere, unable to make my ferry. Worse, it could leave me stranded in Northern France somewhere. My mind is eased slightly by the thought that my transport is an old Land Rover Defender and that it’s easily repaired if the worst should happen. Nevertheless, the mind worries more.
So an overnight trip it is, with only Tess for company before i collect Simon from the train station at 3 o’clock tomorrow afternoon. Both of these are a source of more concern – what if Tess is ill or injured while we’re there? Will she be okay in the forest? And what if Simon doesn’t appear? All of these are not things that will likely occur but again, the logic of it doesn’t ease the pain. She’s been plenty before and loves it, Simon knows the score and is capable of looking after himself. I keep reminding myself of these, to try and ease the thoughts.
Oddly i never worry about me – about my own frailties. I know not why but it never bothers me; my worries are always about others and things i’ve done. And this is not new: i go through this every single trip. The new one on this trip is ma cherie, with the relationship still new and exciting and the thought of spending a week apart not a pleasant one. But this is the way it has to be, us both compelled by wanderlust and a desire to experience life. My conscious mind knows it’s not a problem but as ever, this is not the problem, for the demons in my mind speak the loudest.
So i sit and drink tea and ponder smoking another cigarette – despite the fact it’s been merely half an hour since my last. It’s not productive and doesn’t help, the routine of my allotted smoking breaks helping to give my life some structure. I try not to ponder whether my stove will work and instead search online at articles and videos of my destination and projects to come.
The biggest thing that helps is the familiarity to it all. There is nothing new here, i’ve done this many times before. The failings and tribulations of my past help to comfort my tortured mind: if i can get back from Austria in 2013, nothing will stop me! And once i’ve left, all will be well. All i can do now is wait…