THE BEGINNING OF THE BEGINNING

The moment we’ve been waiting for since around 2016 has finally arrived. Abel and I have left the country indefinitely.

Not long after Abel and I started dating, maybe a year or so into the relationship—once we realised things were serious and a future was definitely feasible—we started to make plans. Abel would finish his electrical apprenticeship at the end of 2017 and I would finish my university degree half-way through 2018. At first this kind of freaked me out. I thought he might be itching to get up and get out of here, leaving me behind, studying furiously and jealous of his freedom. He reassured me that no, 6 months was not a long time to wait around, because we would go on a trip together and some serious saving would be in order. So we began to talk and plan. I have a whole country that’s intrinsically a part of who I am, and there’s so much of it I haven’t seen. The US has such a vast landscape begging to be explored and we couldn’t deny our desire to get amongst it. To do that, we decided road-tripping would be our best bet. The trip-planning continued to grow and develop over the past two years. We went from saying, “Oh, not next year, but the year after”, then “Yeah, we’ll travel next year” and finally, “We leave on October 5th”. Being able to tell people we were leaving in a few weeks was the best feeling. Everything we’d been working towards was coming to a point where it would all begin. It’s pretty strange how we talk, plan and discuss something at such length and so in-depth before it even has a chance to start. I mean, our trip would be in shambles without the months of organisation, but it’s such a mountain to climb before you get to the top, and apparently the top is where it all starts.

People talk about turning points in our lives and holy cow, I never really knew how much you could feel it when it’s actually happening. I always figured it was something you noticed later in life, when you’re looking back at a period and you think, “Yeah, wow, things were really starting to go in a different direction for me then.” But this shift was like a sneeze: I knew it was coming.

Two degrees done and dusted and on the brink of my 24th birthday. October 10th marks the anniversary of when my family first moved to Australia. It was three days before I turned 12. As of next week, that was 12 years ago. Half my life in the states and half down-under. It’s a little ironic that I’ll be celebrating this anniversary back in my home country— don’t ya think? (Sorry, I had to).

Here we are now, sitting on our flight to Honolulu (the one part of America Abel has been to, but not me) and it completely rattles me to think I won’t be washing dishes five days a week at one of my three jobs any time soon. I’ll be able to read. I’ll be able to write. I’ve been wanting to kick-start this whole blogging thing for such a long time. My attempts have been fleeting, sporadic and often weak. I’ve always struggled with what to write about (in non-fiction terms; fake is easy). I could write posts about the horrid people I serve on a daily, but living in a small community doesn’t really allow for that. Although, I’m sure Judith and Gloria don’t get on the internet, so I’ve missed an ample opportunity to bad-mouth them for the past few months. But now I have all these new experiences headed straight for me, begging for me to share them with the (my) world. That’s exactly what I intend to do.

I’ll tell you a little bit about day one:

After waking early and ensuring every last item had been stuffed into my slightly underweight bag, Abel and I could finally start cleaning our space. For the past couple weeks things have been chaotic in our living quarters. Not only had we been too busy to think about it, but slowly accumulating all the necessary items for travel and not really knowing where to put them, took its toll on our physical surroundings. Piles of clothes, bags of toiletries and medicals strewn about; it was a sty. Moving these things to anywhere but the laundry or our suitcases seemed pointless, so we had to wait until majority of our lives were packed and ready to go. Then the space would be spacious enough for a vacuum.

The weather started getting pretty hideous yesterday—musty skies and fat water drops— but it held off for a brief stint this morning. We took our bikes out for one last ride along Werri path and it felt strange saying goodbye to our neighbourly ocean. Guilt overwhelmed me when I realised I hadn’t been for a dunk in a while. Sea salt has magical powers in every ocean, but there’s something extra special about the one you live next door to. You feel like you sort of know each other. You’re always watching the ocean’s temperament, while its helping with your own, and each night the moon shines on you both, whispering its own little voodoo. It’s pretty special and I often question how people can live away from the ocean— I know the US national parks will answer that for me.

Down at North Werri a few black, yellow-tailed cockatoos were playing in plain sight amongst the dune bush. I warned Abel that the bird-life in the US wouldn’t quite compare to what we have here. We take for granted the bright coloured lorikeets and the constant far-off squawking. Although I’m sure he’ll be plenty excited to spot a Robin or Cardinal—but probably more so a squirrel running along the telephone wires. It was nice that a little part of Australia came out for us just before we left, even though I’m going “home”, I know I’ll long for it. That’s why I made sure we packed vegemite. When I reminded Abel that we needed to get some he looked at me perplexed, “What? Who for?”

“For us!”

“I’ll be fine,” said the boy who eats vegemite toast every second day.

We got back from our ride and then it was just making sure everything was in its place. And then the one thing I was dreading most about leaving: saying goodbye to Winnie, my cat. I didn’t cry saying goodbye to anyone but her. For her, I cried much more than once. “She’ll be fine”, Abel constantly reminds me. Like, I know that. I’m very well aware that she’ll be ok— I just feel bad. She expects me to be there every morning to have a little snuggle with her and then, after a week passes, she’s gonna be like, that fucking bitch left me high and dry. I just hope she forgives me when we’re back. You’re all probably rolling your eyes and calling me a crazy cat lady, but I most certainly am not. If this was a dog you’d all be with me right now. But honestly, leaving a dog would be that much worse. They need you a whole lot more. Cats have their independence and I’ll let that ease my mind for now.

We’re about an hour or so into our flight and Abel’s watching Jurassic Park next to me and I’ve got Judy Dench to my left. She’s flicking through on her kindle and I think it’s about time I do the same. In approximately 8 hours we’ll be landing, picking up our car, trying our best to stay to the right, and headed for the beach.

I’ll talk about Hawaii when I know what to talk about. Photos included.

A

6 thoughts on “THE BEGINNING OF THE BEGINNING

  1. Loved this blog post Anni! It minded me of how I feel when I leave home/ second home in Australia💕 You guys are in for an adventure! Excited to see you two soon 😘

  2. Love your blog. Reminds me before there were such things I did a diary in duplicate and sent the original home by post and still have the carbon copy from 56 years ago. Wonderful to look back on so keep it up . Xx

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