Unexpected Expectations

by JP Morgan on May 29, 2011


The first time I ever left home on my own was in 1998 when I went to study at the University of Sydney. I had gone with a head and heart full of expectations, which upon arrival in Australia resulted in a mental and emotional shock so strong I almost turned around and went straight back home.

I remember standing in the phone box calling my parents, trembling with anxiety and with tears in my eyes.

“Mom, something went wrong. They don’t even have a place for me to live. I don’t know what I’m going to do!”

I didn’t turn back though.

Instead I met some other travellers and feeding off their strength was able to get it sorted. Over the following months I had some of the most unexpected and yet most cherished experiences of my life.

Despite this lesson, I still forget not to have expectations. (Or maybe its just impossible to avoid?)

And just like in 98, they are hardly ever met.

Somewhat insanely, not long after arrival in a new place, I never fail to ask myself “Why did I come here?”

And so of course this time walking around in the rain in Austria on Friday, I found myself asking; “Why the hell did I come to Linz? Was picking a destination based on what was the least expensive flight really a good idea?”

I also expected to be wandering around on my own meeting strangers in the street and in cafe’s, for these are my most vivid memories from travelling years past. But after sitting amongst strangers for hours and not talking to anyone, I began to remember and realise that between all the condensed memories of making friends in random places was lots and lots of time spent alone in my head, reading a book or writing. The memories of weeks spent completely alone had somehow vanished, but the feeling was coming back on Friday in Linz.

However, alike my first journey abroad, this trip was certainly worthwhile. I made some fantastic new friends, learned some interesting stuff about Austrians and discovered the breadth and depths of what couchsurfing really has to offer.

More stories on that coming in the next few days.

And with even more clarity about what I want my Hundred Holidays to be like, this week I’ll be buying another flight to somewhere I have never been.

Stay tuned and I’ll keep you posted on where and when.

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Diane May 29, 2011 at 7:24 pm

“I read somewhere… how important it is in life not necessarily to be strong… but to feel strong.” Christopher McCandless ~ Into The Wild.

Take care John x

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