The visas are in the bag (60 days for Indonesia), Dawn has finished work and bade a bittersweet farewell to friends and colleagues amidst a haze of alcohol (twice); the flat has been emptied, cleaned and vacated, and the last long and seemingly endless journey from Melbourne to Adelaide has been endured.
Bags are packed and Paul has been gazing at their bulging seams quietly calculating how he can reduce the contents without Dawn noticing (and Dawn has been wondering how long she will get away with stowing so many clothes and whether she really needs those tiny curling tongs and other items that seemed vital at the time of purchase because her back can cope with the weight and she knows she has to shed some belongings).
Final farewells have also been made to friends and family in Adelaide, Skype has been installed onto Paul’s Dad’s computer and plans made to experiment with this (to him) new-fangled and cost-free mode of communication. While a mobile plan remained in place, calls have been made to the UK to make similar promises to family there to keep in regular touch. Even though we have been gone from there for 3 and a half years, there is still a sense of leaving.
Since the decision was made to embark on this trip the time to reach this point has felt long and arduous and now it is hard to believe we are finally on our way.
Like our bags, we will settle. We are heading to the Prince John Dive Resort in Donggala, Central Sulawesi for 2 weeks rest and relaxation before embarking on our trip proper. Those first two weeks will, we anticipate, be like a holiday: familiar, easy and relatively luxurious, and the journey from Adelaide has been booked weeks in advance. Once we become accustomed again to carrying all we own everywhere we go we will look again at what we can take with us and what we should leave behind. Items which we once believed to be important to our comfort and wellbeing will be discarded and soon forgotten about.
Donggala will give us both that space. The space to unwind, to immerse ourselves gently back into the Asian way, and the time to shift our priorities and decide what is important. To be fair, Dawn more likely needs that space and although she knows the time will come, she needs the time to consider what is necessary and what is not, and the space to make that decision in an environment where those decisions are more easily made.
So, like our stuffed bags we will relax and fit into our new life for the next few months. Possessions that once seemed vital will be left behind and forgotten; once again we will realise how little we actually need and our bags will be lighter and so, hopefully, the travelling much easier. And when we reach that point it will be liberating however getting to that point may be bumpy and a bit tense at times.