8.41am Tuesday 16th February
It’s my first day back at work after several days of fun under the sun in Rio de Janeiro. I am in Dalston Kingsland station. Not my usual station, but Dalston junction is closed for the next 10 days. I’m cold but glad the train has finally arrived. Only to find that the train is so packed, even the tip of fingernail wouldn’t have had enough space on the carriage. 8.44am another train arrives. All sanity and morals decline as everyone barges their way onto the train. I can’t afford to be late, so I also play my part in this ritualistic madness us Londoners accept as rush hour. I already was meant to be at work 8.15. But it’s 8.55 am and I haven’t even left the train platform! I’ve missed two trains and about to get on my 3rd. But as I was waiting impatiently at the platform edge, seconds away from death if anyone accidentally barged me, I contemplate if a 9-5 office job in the city is really for me. Surely there must be more to life than spending hours of one’s precious day in a sardine packed stuffy carriage. I honestly believe God did not create us to endure
this socially constructed normalised hell rush hour on a regular basis!
The next day I quit my job. But it’s not as dramatic as it seems. At this point I’d been in my position at the Red Cross for one year. I thank God for the opportunity but I couldn’t have stayed in that particular position for a very long time. Though I really enjoyed the work atmosphere there, I had to force myself to leave in order for me to find something that would enable me to grow professionally. Although I had mentality prepared for this moment countless times, I was still sh*t scared to tell my boss I was leaving…because I was leaving to do what exactly?! I had no other job lined up, despite innumerous CVs, tedious applications and cover letters being sent. Over the past 3 months, I had thought of every possible decent sounding excuse to say to my boss to justify why I was leaving regardless of the fact that I had no other job. Yet minutes before my special 1-1 meeting with him I still had nothing to say. I didn’t anticipate being unemployed, but I definitely did not anticipate the next few words that were about to come out of my mouth…
Abi: I’m really sad to say this
Boss: Oh no, don’t tell me your leaving?!
Abi: Well…I’m leaving the country
What the f*ck?! I wasn’t moving countries. Of all lies to lie about. I had to splurge out the most drastic ridiculous lie of all times! The kind of lie you a hear a f*ck boy say to a female he wants to let go of but is to pussy to break up with her. Yet, this was me saying it to my boss.
Boss: So where are you moving to?
Abi: Central America
This lie was getting more and more ridiculous. I was just as surprised as he was. I was scared of what I was gonna say next. What that I had a job there? Luckily, I managed to bite my tongue and continued to nod and smile while he told me what a great opportunity it was for me to broaden my horizons and find a new and exciting adventure…
February – April- The Whirlwind Months
Thus for the next few months, I contemplated what I was actually going to do. News had got out, and people were already congratulating me for something I had no idea I was about to do. The next few weeks were a bit of a blur to be honest and I think I heard the story of me moving out of London so much that I even started to even believe I was really doing it myself. Before you knew it, I had already bought a 3 month ticket to Nicaragua! On top of that I had decided that I will join my boyfriend in Spain when I get back from Nicaragua. Why stop at three months, let me leave London for a year…or even two! (Though that decision was a complete no brainer, I didn’t have to think twice about the idea of moving to Spain as it’d been a dream of mine since I first stepped foot in Barcelona)
So why Nicaragua you may ask? Bueno, in a nutshell, I used to live there, I had a few friends there and it’s a cheap place to live for an unemployed person. But above all, anyone who knows me – or has at least had a drink with me – knows that I love to speak Spanish. Combined with my constant desire to leave London and frustration of not obtaining a job in the field I want (international development if anyone still wants to hire me), I decided I will make this year the year to concentrate on challenging myself and learning a great skill! Without using the annoying 4 letter acronym Drake never let us live down in 2013, it is important to spend our precious time on this earth doing something one loves. My earlier example of hating rush hour made me question why exactly I kept doing things that I didn’t enjoy but thought I had to do. I thank God that I am fortunate enough to be in a position where I have no real responsibilities that required me to be in a full time 9-5 office job. I developed a passion for travel, new cultures and learning languages and this is my time to do it! Thus I found a few “work for stay and food” jobs in Nicaragua and I was ready to go!
Flights to Nicaragua: checked√
Accommodation in Nicaragua: checked√
Job in Nicaragua: checked√
So at this point, I have already undergone the major tasks necessary for my new life in Nicaragua. People kept saying to me that I’m so brave to be travelling to a foreign country by myself and how proud they are of me that I managed to secure work and accommodation all in a foreign language.Yet all of that was not enough for it to sink in that I am actually leaving the country, until I un-ticked re-occurring goody bag on my giffgaff mobile phone account!!!
Who would’ve thought that such a simple mundane action of un-ticking a box would have suddenly put everything that I was doing into perspective. I’m not ashamed to say that at this moment, I almost cried. I’ve always wanted to move away from home, so the excitement of actually doing it had managed to upstage the reality of what I was actually going to do. It suddenly hit me that was leaving everything behind. My job, friends, family and relatively new relationship. Then suddenly came in all the whirlwind of emotions, the biggest players being doubt and fear. What started as a momentary excuse had now became a reality that would change my life.
Wednesday 4th May 2016- The night before I left
I was crying buckets. I mean buckets upon buckets of water! I looked like a human waterfall! I have always wanted to leave London, but the reality of not seeing my other half until September was just too much to sink in. So I’m leaving London to practice Spanish…but I was having so much doubt. Why am I doing something that the thought of was making me so unhappy. I know I love to challenge myself, but 4 months is a long time to be without your significant other. Some think I’m brave and I’m sure others must think I’m crazy. Dam, I even think I’m crazy sometimes. After all, Spanish is my boyfriend’s native language thus I could have just practiced with him. Though we tried time and time again, it didn’t work as I always ended up being lazy and finishing the conversation in English. So I needed to put myself in an environment where I had no excuse but to speak Spanish if I wanted to become fluent. But in the midst of all these tears I began to think maybe I could have tried with him just a little bit harder…