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.