I did something a little bit rash a few weeks ago. Yet another week of the 9-5 thing had ended, only to be followed by a weekend of getting drunk and ending up in the valley for no reason other than having nothing better to do. I was feeling particularly unenthused about life (read: hungover) one Sunday when something snapped. But instead of going for a run or talking to a friend or seeking professional help, I booked a one-way ticket to Europe. As you do.
As much as I’d love to say it was a complete spur-of the moment decision, going travelling again is something I’d been thinking of doing for a while. But up until that point I hadn’t had the guts to upend everything to spend an unknown amount of time carrying 20kg of my most prized possessions around Europe all for the sake of ‘finding myself’. Naturally, the last couple of weeks have been filled with explaining my (lack of) plans to friends and family, resigning from work, and coming to the realisation that I might not come back to this city for quite a while. Unless I run out of money in two months, which is entirely feasible.
But the last few weeks have also had an unintended side effect: I’ve never felt so inspired in my life. I can’t pinpoint exactly why either. Sure, travelling is supposed to be inspiring, and if I had a dollar for every aunt or uncle (or for that matter, anyone over 35) exclaiming how much I’m going to ‘grow up’ while I’m there, I could easily fund my entire trip. But I think the source is something closer to home; I’m slowly beginning to realise what it is that I want to do with my life. As someone who changed degrees four times in three years, it’s a refreshing feeling. Resigning from Mediacom, while I’ve really enjoyed it there, has opened my eyes to all the things I can be doing that don’t involve sitting behind a computer five days a week and pretending to be interested in the shit that other people watch on commercial TV.
I’ve also been doing a lot of reading. After seeing this article on Medium, I’ve started a ‘Spark File’ – one central place that can house all of my brain-vomit and crazy ideas that will probably never come to fruition but that I also don’t want to forget. Already it’s filled with quotes, ideas and random thoughts, many of which have been penned after a beer or six. I also discovered Findings.com, a service that collates quotes from articles I’ve read. I’ve never really got into the Google Reader/Instapaper thing, but I’ve fallen in love with Findings’ simple and easy way to keep track of bits of the net that have inspired me. It’s been tweeted and retweeted to death, but of particular note is that piece in the Guardian about finding what you love and letting it kill you; even if you’re not a concert pianist, there’s a lot to be said about how effectively we’re using the 24 hours we’re given in a day. I certainly don’t want to spend my spare time on the couch watching celebrities belly flop into a pool.
A decent chunk of inspiration is also coming from somewhere that perhaps I’d never looked hard enough before: Brisbane. I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with this city, and I think it’s taken the possibility that I might not come back to make me realise that there are a lot of amazing things going on here. Since booking the tickets I’ve made a conscious effort to do all the things that I had put off up until now. I’ve been taking workshops at the Edge, volunteering at 4ZZZ, going to Pecha Kucha, spending time at Metro Arts and the Powerhouse and all the other venues and theatres that make up the creative heart of a city that is often derided for being a cultural wasteland. Watching and meeting all these people who are doing things that they love (even if they aren’t getting paid for it) has made me realise that now is not the time to be stuck in an office chasing up emails and worrying about the politics of who didn’t clean the coffee machine. It’s the time to be living dangerously close to the poverty line and doing something you’re passionate about so you don’t end up regretting everything when you’re 45 and buying a Ferrari.
So what does this mean? In some ways it makes me want to skip the trip and stay here and start making a name for myself in a place that I’ve finally realised has a ton of opportunities for those willing to work hard enough to take advantage of them. The travel bug is an insatiable disease though, and if I don’t do it now it’ll undoubtedly be in 6 months or a year’s time. But that’s all still 7 weeks away, and I’m quickly realising that I’ve got a lot to get done here before then.