So it is (almost) that time again. The time to leave my family and friends behind in England and live in another country and culture for a significant period of time. This is, in fact, the 5th time I have taken off to another country with no return flight booked. The shortest period of time away has been 4 months, the longest, 10 months. This time I’m going for an intermediate 6 and a half months, planning to be home sometime at the end of July.
Something I hadn’t really expected to happen, was that each time I go away, it gets harder. It’s meant to get easier, isn’t it? Although I think I was probably at my most reckless and adventurous when I was 18, and so realistically it couldn’t have got any easier. Back then I couldn’t wait to travel, I was more than excited to leave the island and explore a different country and had absolutely no fear. Potentially due to the blissful ignorance of having never done anything like this before, and the fact that at that point in my life I felt really trapped somewhere I didn’t want to be. But things are quite different now. I’m 4 years older, I’m an awful lot happier and I’m actually sorta enjoying being at home, who’d have thought?
After a month of easy living, the prospect of having to go back to the rainforest actually gives me a little bubble of nerves in the pit of my stomach, something I’ve never felt before. It’s been quite emotional being back at home with my family, we’ve had our ups and downs which we always do, but it’s been a joy being surrounded by loved ones and I’ve had complete freedom. I haven’t had to work, or had any responsibility of any kind actually. It’s been wonderful. I’ve spent lots of quality time with our new kitten and my bunny, I’ve been writing a lot more, playing the piano, seeing my friends, being cold, having hot showers, forgetting how it feels to be constantly sweaty and itchy, you know… all the normal stuff.
I really ought to be packing right now. I leave Wednesday lunchtime so that gives me a meagre two days to sort my life out. And that is no easy task. For anyone thinking to themselves, what is she worried about, this experience sounds incredible! Read this: Rainforest frustrations and jungle revelations. It’s not so much the place or people or situations I’m worried about, it’s more the physical experience of living there. The water that tastes so strongly of chlorine I’ve had dehydration sickness twice now, the constant itching, scratching and scabbing, the humidity that is so high I’m almost never dry, the fact that communication is dependent on how many hours a day I sit at an uncomfortable table and try and learn Spanish.
I am, of course, completely neglecting to mention all the really awesome things about living there. When I am back in Ecuador and super inspired and in love with the rainforest, I will write a post about how completely amazing it is to be living there and make you all sick with jealousy. But for now my overriding emotions are nervousness and a deep aversion to my suitcase.