I ought to be more self-aware by now. I ought to know that although travelling is one of the things I love most in my life, I just can’t plan travel.
Not the actual nitty-gritty itinerary building and transport booking: I am amazing at that (thanks Mum) — actually getting down to it in the first place. It happened when I tried to book south America, and it happened this time.
It’s so easy to put off. And I did. For ages.
I can’t pin down why. I think it’s because the idea of walking down a street in Jakarta — a place my guidebook calls “a dynamic city of daunting extremes […] that throws up challenges and surreal juxtapositions on every street corner“, or seeing one of the places in the collage below doesn’t feel like it could happen.
My day — my life — is getting on a bicycle; sitting at a desk working on books; going into London to do London things. Maybe it’s related to my anxiety, but when I’m in the nice little
rut routine of everyday life, picturing places and cultures that don’t fit that mould is almost impossible.
I’ve been to the Taj Mahal; the Nazca Lines; Machu Picchu; Ajanta and Ellora and Khajuraho and the Amazon. I can picture those places, but it’s really difficult to picture myself in them.
So forcing myself to picture myself in a place I’ve never been in before, with all the adrenaline, confusion, and sensory overload that comes with that, requires that I use a lot more energy than I do most of the time. It’s hard to summon that up.
What a first world problem, eh?
Anyway. I pulled myself together and I have an itinerary.
Why are there two colours? Because for the first half I’ll be with my lovely boyfriend Matt. (The fact that I have planned things now rather than the week before is probably because I’m going with him).
We have some good stuff to see. As two people who love historical monuments and religious artefacts (i.e. old shit), we are going to have an amazing time.
As I was putting the list together and researching activities in Java, I felt a thrill at the sheer variety of things Indonesia has to offer for tourists. Not because I want to do them — watersports, beaches, trekking — but because once again, they’re things that are outside my comfort zone; they’re not something I do or hear about day-to-day.
I know it’s only a two-week holiday and nothing like the proper travelling trips I’ve done before (believe me, I know).
But I’m heading back into that world. The world where I meet people from all corners of the world who are doing extraordinary things. The world where every day is different from any I’ve had before. The world where every day, every hour, is outside my comfort zone.