Shake the dust

My time in Australia began with a thud. After a red-eye flight from Bali, I stumbled as far as the Darwin terminal and woke up with my face on the carpet, my bike still in a box.

I needed some time to rest my legs, I said. I’m still here a year later.

I know one thing for certain after my travels: Solitude is great for a weekend of Zen and granola. Talk to yourself for two years and you’ll fuck your brain.

I’ve always been shy and distant, but whatever happened between here and home popped some screws. All I got from my first six months in Darwin were panic attacks.

Sometimes I think I traveled the world only to acquire a very suburban, white-person problem. Anxiety is an amorphous nothing, and I laugh at it when the bottle is half full. The rest of the time it terrifies me.

It comes out of nowhere. Everything buzzes like some sort of awful hyper-reality. I feel like puking and I’m sure I’m going to die. All I want to do is flee – point myself anywhere and run.

Old habits. From good or bad, I always run eventually. But this time I was too stubborn, or maybe just too tired.

I hardly cycled in the last year. I wrote nothing. Until recently I hadn’t even looked at the road behind me. I stayed and tried to make peace with whatever is happening inside me.

If that’s not the answer, then it has to be close. I used to have freak-outs every day. Then every few weeks, now every month or so. That’s good enough for me.

There’s a chance I could stay here for a few more years. Last December I got a job and could barely handle the stress of mopping floors. Now I manage a Lodge for tan-lined tourists and my boss wants to sponsor me.

I might stay.

If the paperwork falls through, I’ll grab my holey shoes and bike to Tasmania. And I’ll finally know it takes more than rice to keep me going.


6 responses to “Shake the dust

  1. This quote was sent to me today. I read it immediately after reading your post and now need to share it with you.

    “For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, it’s insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.” -Cynthia Occelli

  2. Hi. Your thoughts on anxiety were very revealing. But you faced ithe demon head on. A good strategy. I am trying to confront loneliness and fear by not running waay or seeking ground. Groundlessness is a healing concept. Keep in touch and if you get to melbourne let me know. I am in vietnam at the moment sorting out stuff.
    cheers paul(sapa).

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