Saturday, August 7, 2010

Captain's log

*Title. I thought I would be clever and name my blog Lew S A, rhyming with USA. However, this is not always apparent and can be easily misinterpreted as LEWSA, which is a little too closer to loser. Oops.

It's only a matter of hours until I'll be in Los Angeles, California, home of Hollywood, Katy Perry and hair metal. It's taken months of planning - jumping through various hoops and pumping plenty of cash, but the reality that I'll be living in the United States for a year has finally sunk in.
See, for so long I was completely blasé about studying abroad for a year. I'd already been to America and spent 12 months living overseas. However, last time I originally planned on travelling for 3 months. The good-byes were temporary, the trip was well planned and as soon as I got off the plane, my sister and I were both picked up by a family-friend, instantly receiving a sense of familiarity and home-like comforts. Long-story-short, I ended up staying overseas for 12 months on that trip, finding numerous reasons to keep travelling and too few to come back.
This time around I'll be going for the same amount of time, yet the apprehension of knowing I'll be going for so long is much harder. The good-byes are more sincere, there are few plans and the only people greeting me at the airport when I get off the plane will be there for everyone else.
It's strange, the difference between knowing and not knowing how long I will be away for seems a lot more taxing in this situation. Saying bye to my Nan today left me more rattled than I thought was possible. It is not all negative though. Knowing I'll be away for so long has prompted a new found appreciation for things that would normally be taken for granted. The days have been full, cramming in as much activity as possible, yet I'm still tying up loose ends hours before my flight.
Last night's going away party was equal parts a blur and a blast. It seemed to exemplify the feelings of the last few weeks in a drunken blend of sweetness and sad farewells. For all the fun we had, when a friend left at the end of the night/crest of a new morning, the tough reality that I wouldn't see them for a year came to the fore.
Most of my time spent in the US will be studying at The University of Massachusetts in Amherst. That's the boring part. Before I make it to the home of J. Mascis I'll be doing my best Jack Kerouac impression by travelling around on my own.
There's no Maggie Cassidy or Dean Moriarty joining me on the road and there is a nervous mixture of excitement and trepidation because of this. However, like Jack, I'll be jotting things down in my notebook (or netbook) to share with the world.
So now these final few hours before the flight  have become an up and down. It's hard to tell if I can't sleep because I'm excited about travelling or upset about leaving so many great people behind for a year. What I do know is that it's something I'm looking forward to, even if leaving is infinitely harder this time around. My previous travel experience was brilliant, with more ups than downs and if this next adventure is 10% of what the last one was, then I'm bound to have a great time.

Post Script
I want to end every post by sharing some music with y'all. This first song is a live video by Lucero, an American band I've recently become enamoured with. They're experts in sad cowboy songs and I can't wait to see them play in Massachusetts with Frank Turner & Social Distortion.

Post Post Script: Iron Maiden are touring Australia again when I'm overseas. If anyone can convince to play the US East Coast in the next 12 months it would be greatly appreciated. I'm absolutely shattered to miss them again.

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