45 minutes ago I went to bed. At that point I had 5 hours sleep before I would have to get up to head to the airport. I was going to enjoy a comfy, blissful final night in my bed. Then my mind went in to overdrive. Tomorrow, I set off to Asia. Maybe for a year, maybe longer, maybe less. Who knows? Suddenly, it's starting to feel a little more real. Not completely real perhaps. Not that when I walk out the door in the morning it will be the last time I get to see my dog for a year, or tonight was the last time I could lounge on the sofa with my family chatting shit for a long time. It doesn't feel that real. Not yet anyway.
But then again, it might not sink in at all. It didn't the last time I went on a prolonged 'cultural experience' (yes, I know, this is my third one). Not when I got to the airport and hugged my mum goodbye, nor when I stepped on Blighty grounds for the last time and boarded my plane. Not even when I arrived to the shock-of-senses in Hong Kong. And maybe that will be the way tomorrow, who knows? It would certainly make it easier that way.
The pre-trip anxieties have crept in as well. Not so much whether this was the right thing to do. It was, I'm certain of that. But the fear of travelling alone. I've done it once but I was 18 then carefree, a little cocksure not giving a flying fuck what anyone thought of me. But, while I've got a little more confident over the last 6 years, I'm a little more self-aware. I certainly have my flaws and what if the people I meet notice those flaws and dislike me? What if where I'm going, I meet no-one, or even worse, I come across nothing but fucking couples.
I must make one thing clear, I have nothing against couples per se. I've been a member of that particular demographic over recent years. But when you're carefree, young and single on the road there are only 2 types of people you want to meet. Likeminded guys, that you can tag onto for the bits of the trip, and girls. Hot girls. That's it. Ok, there may be a few more to add to that list. Locals, slightly odd yet interesting 40-something bohemians that might have met Lennon or been part of the original gatecrashers at Glastonbury. I'm sure there are more, but it's late and this is a post just to get my thoughts down.
The truth of the matter is, I have no idea what the next few months has in store. I will be a teacher, whether I will be a good one or not I have not a clue. Whether I will meet people on my trip, and whether I will get along with those people, is also up for question. But what is for certain, is that it is going to be a much more interesting and varied year than the one I've just come from.