London, United Kingdom
Well, where do I start?
I’ve always had a desire to travel the world.. I suppose you could call me a hobo.
‘hobo; hobo is an itinerant worker, a career which sprang up during the depression. A hobo, unlike a bum or a tramp, is more than willing to work, but mostly for a short duration, as their main impetus is travel, the love of the journey above the actual destination.’
“Why Australia?” was the main question several people asked me when they found out I was going. My answer?
“I haven’t been there yet.”
Yes, it was that simple. No, I hadn’t read books about how Captain James Cook claimed it and threw all the convicts over there. I wasn’t fascinated about how the Gold fever lured in a chaotic carnival of entertainers, publicans, illicit liquor-sellers, prostitutes and quacks from across the world. I certainly had no idea that the Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of an Allied expedition that set out to overtake the Gallipoli Peninsula, which sadly claimed many lives. Lest we forget.
No, no, no… it was really just a, ‘Ok, looks like it’s a snow day today. I’m bored. What shall I do? Ooh, let’s have a look at Australia. Oh, that looks nice, lets see how long the visa application is. Not bad.. No, I do not have tuberculosis. Yes, I do have a job. No, I do not have a criminal record, unless you consider a telling off from the police officer when we were 5 yrs old cuz Ben and I accidentally ran over his foot with our bikes, is enough to refuse me entry. Card details? Hang on, this is all too sudden. Abigail, stop typing. No, Abigail. Stop it. Do not press. ****, I pressed it. ****. I have an approved Australian Working Holiday Visa now.’ kind of moment.
So, I told my mother. She took it surprisingly well. I told my friends. Some took it well, some laughed in my face and said I wouldn’t leave, some attempted a Swanton bomb wrestling move and said they wouldn’t let me leave. I told my nan.
“YOU ARE NOT GOING ON YOUR OWN.”
Awkward. I’m a grown woman, and she still treats me like a child (she still cuts up my sandwiches into little pieces)..
So, I had to find a travelling partner. Cue Samantha Lauren Smith. I was drinking in a fine establishment, otherwise known as The Pyke in Soho when Samantha walked into the joint. The conversation went like this.
Abigail: I’m going to Australia.
Sammy: Really? I’ve always wanted to go there. When are you going?
Abigail: Mm.. I’m thinking, September or October..? Do you want to come?
Sammy: This is fate. We were meant to meet in this bar, and have this conversation, and decide to go to Australia together!!
Abigail: Well, it’s Emma’s birthday party, so it was kinda obvious that we’d bump into each other, but.. **** it. Lets go to Australia! SAMBUCA!!!!!!
The next morning, I sent her a text checking to see if it was still on. It was so very much still on, on like King Kong.
Fast forward to August, and Richard Harte and Laura Simpson are now part of the crew.
So, it’s September.. and I start to freak out. I’m going to miss my babies. I’m going to miss my friends. I’m going to miss my family. I’m going to miss Revenge! Daniel finally knows who Emily is! How I met your mother! Who is the lady in the yellow umbrella?! I’m leaving a perfectly good life.. for what reasons exactly?? But I calmed down. There’s always FaceTime – I can easily talk to my babies, my friends and family. I can always FaceTime Lee and Mark, and get them to place the phone in front of the TV and watch Victoria’s twitching eye..
As for why I’m leaving everyone, I tried to appeal to my rational side and told myself that you only live once. I want to get married to the woman of my dreams, to have children and create a home with a warm, comfortable and loving atmosphere. I don’t want to one day realise that I have essentially signed over my life to my wife (which I am more than happy to do, for the record) and my children, and that everything I do will be for our children – I can’t just one day up sticks and leave everything behind, and I do not want to resent them. So.. as much as it pains me to leave everyone, I’m doing it so I won’t kick myself in 10 years time.
Travelling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose all sight of that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things: sleep, dreams and ambition.