THE SILVER LINING, or WHAT THE HELL 2016?

Less than a fortnight ago, I wrote a blog post that started with the simple words “2016 has been an interesting year for me”. As it turns out, I was somewhat premature, though my assessment was still correct. I have been once again thrown into the maelstrom of opportunity, excitement and interest. 

I have been laying low in Sydney for close to three years; working, hanging out, and enjoying travel as a backpacking vacationer, but I have had a growing desire for long slow travel through distant places. Life in this city is comfortable and easy. I was getting lazy. So I committed myself to getting back on the road by my birthday in 2018. Two years away. I told myself I needed some time to get my shit together and save some cash, without having to forgo travel completely. Really, I was just putting it off because, as I said, I'd gotten a bit lazy. 

Alice: How long is forever?
White Rabbit: Sometimes, just one second.”
— Alice in Wonderland

I am not a true believer in “things happen for a reason” yet sometimes even I have to raise an eyebrow in the face of my own scepticism. I am sure most will understand when I say how surprising it is that monumental, life changing events can happen in just a moment. I had another of those moments two days ago. A meeting was held. Outsourcing, the grand nemesis of IT departments, had come to town. Everyone in my department was a victim. Redundancy. We have five months. Well...shit.  

Initially, there was some shock, a bit of disbelief, some concern for my friends, then I couldn’t help it. I started laughing. I mean, come on. Seriously? What the hell kind of year has 2016 been? As I did in my previous article, I once again took all my plans and threw them out the window. 

Immediately after life-changing news like this is either the worst time or the best time to be making plans. They’re the worst because you rarely have all the details you need and making emotional decisions can lead to unmitigated disaster. However, it can also be the best time, because during situations of high stress, I often find out what I really want, my true goals come into focus. And what I really wanted was to keep travelling. 

After a day of watching my workmates progress through various stages of mild panic, disbelief and, for those who are staying, survivor's guilt, I did what any normal person would do...I went to an Asian influence concert at The Sydney Conservatorium of Music with a rather interesting young lady, and learned to play a metallophone in a Balinese gamelan. I can assure you, this ranks high on my list of "Ways to Clear Your Head". 

The Balinese Gamelan at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music

I already had tickets booked for April 1st to Iceland. I’m sure not going to give them up for something as silly as financial security, personal comfort, and job stability. In fact, why the hell was I even coming back? I’m a fit and healthy, adventurous, employable bachelor who will soon have a redundancy payout and a lot of spare time. 2016 has been waging all out war on my comfortable, stable life, and here I am, smiling like a fool, with a growing sense of excitement. 

Today the feeling has remained. I am nervous of course, but I also feel so alive! What better way to live life than on the edge of the unknown? There is a lot to organise between now and April. Everything may fall apart again, but I know I will keep pushing forward. 

And so, to all my international friends, keep an eye out for me. I will hopefully see you all sooner than expected. I do not know where I will end up, but I know it will be fun getting there. Here’s hoping the rest of 2016 plays nice. Even my optimism has limits. 

Happy travelling!!