it was 3am on monday, november 11, 2013. exactly two years prior, i was arriving in portland for the first time in my life. cari the blue cavi packed full to the brim and me unprepared for the adventures and magic that would unfold over the next 24 months.
they tell you to make a wish when the clock strikes 11:11, and believe in superstitions or not, arriving on 11/11/11 must have shifted the universe in my favor because all my wishes keep coming true. wishes i didn’t even know i had.
two years later, on that same fateful day, i sat staring at my computer. flipping between delta and expedia and southwest and the australian government department of immigration and border protection tourist visa information page.
after a conversation with colby and then one with ryan, there was a new adventure brewing. the butterflies in my stomach were starting to emerge from their cocoons. my current vagabonding was not even over. i was in vegas prepping to head to portland for a quick check-in and then off to bishop for thanksgiving and then onto san francisco for a week with three of my favorite women (aunt viv, ruthie, and aunt pupsi) and then home for a cold, hopefully white, chicago birthday, christmas, and new year’s eve.
but then, in my sleepy stupor, i found myself clicking “apply now.” ten minutes and A$20 later, i had a 12 month tourist visa to australia.
those damn butterflies were having a wwf smackdown inside my belly. was i just tired? was i sick? what the hell was my stomach doing? it is just a visa. it was just $20. i could easily change my mind.
and then, in some sort of out-of-body experience, i was clicking purchase on a delta flight: LAX > SYD > BNE.
now don’t get me wrong, i am very excited for this chance to get to know a new, wonderfully enchanting country, so a few of you are probably wondering why the dramatic build up. sara, you always do this. fly by the seat of your pants. but do you fly 7,286 miles to the other side of the world? where it is actually already tuesday?
what most people don’t perhaps know about me is that i am surprisingly anal when it comes to planning. despite my current trend of leaving flights until the very last minute and not alerting my family that i’ll be back in chicago until i need a ride home from the airport, i am a organization freak. i write down things in my planner and create endless lists and will organize your emails or photos into perfectly segregated and color coated folders if you let me.
while average americans spend months researching and planning before they book their once-in-a-lifetime trip to australia, i was giving myself seven days. in exactly one week, i would boarding a plane to the land down under.
i usually consult at least seven friends and family members before making a big decision like spending up to three months in a foreign country. i talk it out in a million and one ways. weigh the pros and cons. let them play devil’s advocate.
but this time, i didn’t.
now, if you have been keeping up with my blog, you already know why. if you have no idea why i would spontaneously spend an absurd amount on a plane ticket to a foreign country, give up my southwest a-list status, and miss the holidays with my friends and family, i’ll give you one guess. (and then you should probably read my last few blog posts.)
although i get a lot of slack for my inexplicable nature to end up in new cities due to romance, it has served me well and given me a life that will make screenplay writer jonathan west rich one day.
chase a boy to ann arbor and have an amazing educational experience worth every penny of my student loans. chase a boy to grand rapids and build a resume full of respectable real life experience. chase a boy to portland and take the leap into location independent self-employment. yet all these instances were the same: date boy for a year or two, decide to move somewhere new, end relationship almost immediately after arriving in the new setting.
never before have i chased a boy that i have only known for a month to a country on the other side of the globe on a whim (and a hunch). i think my odds are way better with this method.
yesterday i got my hair cut in portland. figured i would clean up a bit after living in the woods for two months and before meeting a bunch of aussie strangers. the stylist was indulging in my silver-screen-worthy tale and adding her own chapter about “her aussie.” (it seems everyone has their own what i am now calling aussie-ism.) she reflected that there is just something about them. this “rugged manliness with a soulful interior” that just captivated her from the moment she met him.
we are crazy.
or maybe just i am crazy.
either way, at 6am this morning my buddy luca picked me up.
we loaded my suitcase into his trunk taking bets on if i would have to relocate a thing or two into my carry-on to meet the 50 lb. weight limit. he guessed 45, 47 tops. i said 52. turns out it was 52.5 lb., but she let me check it anyways. with all my traveling, my right arm has become a pretty accurate luggage scale.
awhile ago someone gave me a little booklet about the size of an index card that was titled travel. it is full of quotations about exactly that. it has been in my backpack ever since, but i rarely open it and read it. the other day i did.
“journeys, like artists, are born and not made. a thousand differing circumstances contribute to them, few of them willed or determined by the will…” – lawrence durrell
one plain bagel with cream cheese and tall blonde roast with cream later, and i am sitting on a flight to los angeles due to “a thousand differing circumstances” not one of which i would change. charly bliss belting out blondie in my ears while my tummy butterflies flutter a dance only my gypsy heart can understand.
see you in the outback.