This was featured in the latest issue of Lostravellers Magazine. You can check the full spread here, and read more about Lostravellers here.
“Freedom is a strange thing. Once you’ve experienced it, it remains in your heart and no-one can take it away.”
There are many dreams to be had, out in the void. So dream a little; go on. Cast yourself out.. which will be yours? For there are dreams, and then there are dreams: dreams that inspire and dreams that scare; dreams that offer insight and dreams that serve only to muddy the waters. It almost seems self-evident: that these esoteric adventures would be as varied as the people that dream them. For dreams do much more than distract us from sleep.
Late at night, when your subconscious is hard at work and you drift between worlds, what dreams do you dream? Do you dream of escape and exploration, adventure and freedom? Are they dreams of the open road – stories with no predetermined endings? These are the dreams of lost travellers, waiting to be found. Maybe we’re all waiting.
Perhaps it’s that phantom Catholic guilt, dragging me over the coals for such careless spending, or some internalised Freudian wet blanket telling me I shouldn’t enjoy myself this much. But over the last few weeks I have had a suspicion, well founded I might add, that I am being incredibly indulgent. Indulgent in choosing to come on an exchange to the far side of the world, indulgent for the travel I am fitting around (read, over) a relaxed uni schedule, indulgent for indulging in thoughts of an eternity of being this free from obligation.
So I want to build on the theme of an earlier post, and try to unpack in greater detail the logic behind taking time off.
It is easy to feel trapped in a particular schedule, with historical expectations shaping our lives. Is it perhaps time to reconsider these expectations?
It seemed like the easiest choice in a year that had been anything but: the chance for some new scenery, and a reprieve from the demands of reality. So I applied for an exchange, determined to get away from the grind that I felt my life in New Zealand had become.
It had been four years since I moved to Auckland, and for all the joys of being a student there was a bitter current undermining my happiness. Weighty tomes of law and self-imposed high standards strung me out, the late nights serving drinks to future employers adding to the dark rings silhouetting my eyes.
In hindsight it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was, but there was no denying the drag of routine. The general fatigue at the all-encompassing nature of university was heightened by a summer spent researching in the Psychology department – starting a new year yet feeling like I had never left. It was a daunting year too – the pressures of an honours research paper atop a heavy course load, with promises of a corporate internship to follow. It felt like my next few years were already written for me, and that my role was to dutifully complete the steps. I found the whole prospect of it somewhat stifling, and was deeply sceptical of my own motives for taking this path.
So I decided to opt out, to take some time to re-evaluate my commitment to the corporate future that awaited me. An exchange was the perfect pretence: “overseas study” an obvious euphemism for a government-funded holiday. The choice of destination was one that didn’t overly concern me – anywhere but here, screamed a part of me, and so distant Holland it was.