I realise it’ll be a breach of trades description if I get all carried away and start, like, planning stuff for this year. Recently, however, I did something which probably falls under this heading. It also, incidentally, made the miser sizzle, pop and disappear, like a witch in water (all that bringing stuff home out of bins was starting to get on my nerves anyway).
The thing I did was book a flight to Australia. I know, I know – this makes me the very model of a cliched, middle-aged gapper, away to find themselves on the other side of the world, when really both of me have been sitting here all along. I wouldn’t say a trip to Australia has ever been on my bucket list – I’d need to start a bucket list first – but I have often thought about going. Indeed, I always imagined I would. When it lately occurred to me that never again, this side of retirement at least, would I have total freedom to choose when and for how long I might go, I decided I had to.
This development shines a light on my oddly schizophrenic relationship with travel. I genuinely enjoy being anywhere new and different. I also, rather perversely, spend most of the run up scaring the bejaysus out myself about these new and different places. So it is that I’ve often found myself willingly signing up for trips to sometimes far-flung and exotic places, only to spend the time beforehand convincing myself that this time, for sure, someone is going to cook me and eat me.* (For some reason, I normally imagine this’ll be a taxi-driver. Sorry, cabbies). I have been known to phone friends from hotel rooms, reciting my last will and testament and telling them what to do with the jar, all because I didn’t like the look of the guy on reception. When I finally do get to wherever it is, I’m generally astonished to find it’s really rather like here, at least insofar as there are people and they eat food, wear clothes and don’t seem to cook the visitors.
Anyway, I’ll be going for a month in a couple of months time, and so far I’ve got none of the fear and all of the excitement, which is enjoyably novel. Does this count as planning? Maybe. I think of it more as making sure I avoid doing nothing at all.
*And that’s just getting the bus to Maryhill.