I’m eleven days away from departure. ‘Eleven sleeps’, as some would say. And its all starting to feel pretty real. Tomorrow I’ve got my last day in the office working for my boss, before he goes away on holiday at the weekend. On Friday evening I’m moving out of my house, where I’ve lived with my friends for the last 18 months. On Friday next week I’ll leave work for the last time, and the office where I’ve worked for 4 years. And a week on Sunday, I will get on a bus and leave the country, possibly not coming back for a very long time indeed.
Thus, its been a week of disturbingly conscious ‘lasts’. My last ride on the 82 bus home from town today. My last visit to the corner shop. My last hangover in my bedroom, which was suffered on Saturday morning last weekend. Tonight I went to Andy’s Chippy on Lark Lane, for my last ever takeaway from there. I’ve become a bit of a regular at Andy’s during the 18 months I’ve lived in this area. Its reached the point now that Andy himself waves when I walk past on my way to work in the morning. That’s when you know you eat too many takeaways, when the bloke who works there starts waving at you.
I’m going to miss all these things. Working for Joe, eating chips and barbecue sauce with salt and pepper chicken from Andy’s, spending evenings wallowing with friends in Sefton Park. On a night out last weekend we went to Liverpool’s chapel of cheese The Raz, and covered head to toe in sweat danced one last time to Don’t Stop Believin’. All of these things are coming to an end, and as I’ve ticked them off one by one, I’ve begun to feel sad for all the things I’m about to leave behind. I like my life here, and I’ll miss it and all the little bits of it when its gone.
But the whole point of travelling is to do new things, and with everything that ends, something else new will take its place. Funny, isn’t it, how you never notice the first time you do something. Not really, and if you do its rarely acknowledged as an important event. But you’re always aware of the last time you’re doing something.
And yet very soon, new things will come along in my life to take the place of the old things I’m leaving behind. And one day I’ll do those new things for the last time as well, and I’ll get all sentimental about them as well, and thus a grand and virtuous cycle of beginnings and ends will close and start all over again.
And anyway, you can probably get barbecue chips in Vietnam?