Thursday, February 9, 2012

Why Do People Travel?

I've recently been wondering: what am I doing here. Every now and then, aside from the beach and the summertime weather, the food and drinks and laughs, and the freedom during the day, I get a little time to think, to realize, to put myself in the real time situation, and I wonder: what am I doing? And I have no idea. NO IDEA. Why do people travel? It's like: why do people go to the beach and sunbathe? They're just lying there. Doing nothing. Just absorbing the sun. I've always found that odd, even if I like to do it. What do people absorb when they are traveling? Besides developing a nice tan of clustered freckles, seriously, what am I doing here?

I went to downtown Perth for the first time yesterday. I arrived off the train and got off, looking lost. Did people realize I was lost, I thought to myself. I felt lost. I felt as though I looked lost. I started following the crowds, not knowing what else to do, looking around at city life, and eventually found a tourist information booth where I picked up a map and some local pamplets. I normally don't like to look like a tourist...but why is that? When I was in Dublin last spring, I wasn't living there, but I had a ton of people come up to me and ask me questions and directions - I loved that, I loved feeling like a local. Anyways, I was wondering around Perth, following the map, following my instincts, not really sure what to do with myself. I found the Bell Tower and snapped a picture, covered every inch of North Bridge, maybe twice, felt at home and loving all the British food in London Court, but as I was doing what I thought I should be doing, I thought wouldn't it be nice to have someone to share this with? I'm wandering around the city, checking off the things to see on my list, but am I seeing them because I want to or because I feel that's what I'm supposed to do? Sure, there is an enormous satisfaction in finding your way on your own, stumbling upon little side streets that aren't mentioned in the tourist books, striking up conversations with locals and other wanderers, having the absolute freedom to take a left if everyone else is going right, but would I miss it if I didn't know it was there?

Downtown Perth 

 As I was meandering around the Bell Tower, looking for a photo opp along the river, (like I'm supposed to..?) I came across a booth offering ferry rides to Rottnest Island. It's supposed to be beautiful, white pristene beaches.... - AND there's a place to see PENGUINS - isn't that why I always wanted to come to Australia? yes - so as I was checking out prices, the guy in the booth started talking to me. Immediately, in the back of my head I hear his Irish accent and pick up on it. I start talking, sounding like I'm from a weird part of Donegal - it confuses people. Where are you from he asks. Ummm, I decide to go with America; where are you from? Ireland. Duh, what part? Dublin. Ahh my dad's from Arklow! Strike up a conversation GO. I just love it - I love the conversation, love the interaction, the thrill of meeting new people, especially from Ireland! I dont even know his name, but I feel connected, or maybe just love hearing his accent. He had just arrived the week before as well, over with some friends and I immediately want to be friends with them, want to meet people, want to have that abroad experience that we're searching for - that's why we're here, right?
The Bell Tower

I've been staying in the suburbs, hanging out with myself during the day and starting to miss the interactions and stories that I came here for. Sure, I kinda secretly like playing the semi-house wife making dinner for my rent, but the city life just excited me and I couldn't wait to go back for more. So, no, I have no idea what I'm doing here, what I'm supposed to do, what's expected of me. I enjoyed my first two weeks of "holiday" but now, now I want, I need, something more, but I think I'm intimidated that I don't know what that is or don't know how to get it, especially on my own. I couldn't possibly be more grateful for the hospitality that I've been given, its been unbelievable, and I don't know how to repay the thanks, but I can't expect anything more, can't ask for anything more, and certainly don't want to intrude more than my welcome.* Maybe there could have been something more, there's great potential for it, but there isn't, and I almost want to apologize, almost feel as though it's my fault, although there is nothing I can do about it. So, on to find a job, find out why I'm here. It was easy going across the world to someone that I know. But leaving that, leaving to the unknown, is absolutely terrifying. Like wandering alone, it's nice to have someone to do things with. Leaving might be the scariest thing I've done in my life. Terrifying. I'm not exactly worried as I know it will turn out the way it's supposed to, and everything so far in my life has turned out pretty ok, but I've never been in this position before, never had to put myself out there before. I guess this is why I'm here.

*since writing this post last week, I have been back in the city, met more people, and have been kindly requested to get my shit together. 

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