Monday 11 January 2010

I can go with the flow....

I don't imagine that much sympathy will be forthcoming, but I'm actually finding this whole "being off work for 8 months" thing quite stressful.

As well as wading my way through the sludge of my last two weeks in the office, I'm trying to make sense of the swathes of time that are opening up in front of me.... most immediately, the 31 days between our landing in Sydney and our departure from Brisbane, and then the 30 days right after that, between landing in Christchurch and flying out of Auckland.

I think I'm wise enough to appreciate that the 8 months is going to fly past, and I hope that I'll be relaxed enough to know that things will probably work themselves out as we go along.....but even so, the lack of structure is beginning to fray my nerves. Pulling the flight details together gave us the skeleton of our trip, but we've not done much yet to put any flesh onto those bones.

I'm not daft enough to think that it is remotely achievable or even desirable to plan every last minute of our trip, but I'm getting twitchy nonetheless. I'm not a completer-finisher or really a planner of any sort in my normal, everyday life, but suddenly I find that I want to KNOW when we will be moving from point A to point B, and on from point B towards point C. Are we going to spend a few days in Sydney before heading over to Tasmania? Are we going to take a tour of Tazzy? Should we be booking it? Where are we going next? Melbourne? If we're going to drive the Great Ocean Road and pop over to the Grampians, shouldn't we be booking the camper? Are we going to learn to dive on the Great Barrier Reef at Cairns? Am I likely to pass the dive medical with MS? Will they let me dive at all? What if they don't? How do I find that out before we go? Are there any tours of Fraser Island that aren't aimed at kids with kegs of beer?

And we haven't even started on New Zealand yet.

We've begun answering these questions already: we've booked the hotel in Hong Kong and have generally started kicking the whole thing into shape..... it'll be fine.... but I still find myself gripped with a low-level anxiety about the whole thing and not yet quite able to relax and just go with it. 

Perhaps I should have paid more attention during those PRINCE2 courses?

Nah..... probably not. I don't think a detailed GANTT chart would be much use in soothing my nerves. I don't think anything will short of finishing work and just getting on with the trip.  I'm the same with packing.... I will worry terribly about what I might have forgotten, right up to the moment when we actually leave, at which point I just relax.  That's packing fret (and it's a delight still ahead of me for this trip).   This is planning fret - and I'm pretty sure it's just an extension of the same thing.

I'll manage.

They have the Internet in Australia, right?

What about New Zealand?  Doubtful, right?


  1. Sounds so exciting! The lack of plans would be driving me loopy, I like to know what I am doing when at ALL times! But I know people who have had nothing planned on their travels and have played it by ear and all has worked out fantastically well. I am so very jealous!!

    N xxxxx

  2. We spent November last year in Australia - we had a couple of organised trips planned before we travelled but otherwise partly played it by ear and partly relied on suggestions from our friends who live over there. It stressed me out as I am Ms Control Freak and like to plan everything to the nth degree. Needless to say we had a fantastic holiday.

    There was pretty reliable internet wherever we went in Australia. The other thing that was very reliable was public transport in the cities i,e, Sydney ferries (brilliant!), Melbourne trams, Brisbane buses and CityCat in particular. I would recommend the MCG tour as a cricket fan. We also hired a car (plus satnav) for a while and its easy because they drive on the left!! The area that we loved and found pretty much by chance was the Tweed Caldera, inland from the Gold Coast south of Brisbane - wonderful countryside - and around Byron Bay in northern NSW. I'm sure you'll have the time of your lives, and some much appreciated sunshine.

  3. You'll be fine. I embarked on a seven-month career break in 2006 under quite different circumstances - it was only gonna be three months, for a start! - and without any particularly clear objectives other than "sort my life out". I soon found that the structure/plan emerges and defines itself quite naturally.

  4. If you do end up driving in Oz, please be aware with kerbside parking that car has to facing in the same direction as the traffic of that side of the road. So the only acceptable way to take up a parking space you spot on the other side of the road is to do a u-turn (but don't cross an unbroken line to do it!). Oh God. I'm fretting now, too.

  5. relax. everythings going to be fine. kick back, sleep in, catch a movie, just because you're in Australia or NZ doesn't mean you can't do the same stuff you would at home. x