Trip Start Dec 03, 2004
85Trip End Nov 31, 2005
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Sometime in the second week I realized that I'd had the key in my back pocket all along, and that the six months couldn't be approached like a test, but as an experience of their own. Not as a quest for independence, but as an expression of it.
I don't really know what I was expecting from Australia; there were high expectations because it's a tried and tested backpacker route, trodden by millions of feet just like mine in the years before; if I failed, it would be embarassing because so many have succeed
That all changed, too. By the fourth day I knew I wasn't going to fall spectacularly on my face, that I would always be able to keep my head above water, that even small setbacks (losing my watch, breaking my sunglasses, forgetting my rain jacket in Sydney just when I might need it, same for my flashlight) wouldn't be enough to derail the experience. At that point I acknowledged that the country itself, as well as just the experience of travelling, had its tread marks all over me, indelible on the skin.
I woke in a cold sweat on the fifth day from a dream in which I somehow found myself returned early to Canada and unable to come back. I ranted, raved, cried: how had this happened? Let me back! Don't hold me here, with the rest of the trip unexperienced!
I do know that someday in the distant future I will have to go home and leave some things undone, some trails untrod. But I've already got that big key weighing down my back pocket; there are doors to open in so many more places.