My old friend and travelling companion L sent me a note from the home of her elderly grandfather “Big Eric” in Glasgow. He graciously put us up and drove us around to find available internet when we were there together on a backpacking trip five years ago. At the time, he was in his mid-eighties and still living in the townhouse where he and his wife had raised two children in the 1950s. He was sharp and spry but lonely, having outlived his best friends.

L is back in school like me, but this time she is in it for the long haul, going for her doctorate in laboratory medicine. When she mentioned to Big Eric that the two of us dream idly of travelling together again one day, but don’t have any plans, he insisted that we need to do it now! We are young and relatively uncommitted- such a good chance might never come again.

I’m so glad I did a little travelling when I was younger. It was a remarkable experience, making my way in completely crazy and new circumstances, sometimes not knowing a soul for hundreds of miles in any direction. It would be even more amazing with a digital camera.

But maybe I’m done for now. I am so focused on getting the hell out of school and getting an actual job! in a field that I am trained in!  We want to have kids, and we notice every month that goes by while we wait patiently to get these ducks in a row. A few months of travelling would not only mean a few months out of our plans, but also a bunch of savings. I just don’t know – maybe a golden opportunity will come, but experience suggests that opportunities are more often forged with determination.

Z said, hell, when you graduate, get a job overseas!  We’ll live in Australia for a few years and our babies will have dual citizenship! Bless him for being up for anything.

* Written after some beer and while procrastinating from writing an academic conference proposal.

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