It’s Not A Journey To Be Endured

This is the road that falls smack in the middle of my hometown and the beach house. 

In the past week I’ve been forced to reflect on the process of writing. Initially there was an interview for a magazine, and then a questionnaire that was finished while the house was silent and my family slept at 1.30am this morning. It’s funny how you can tap away at the keys without really thinking about what you’re doing. Here’s the topic, here’s the idea, can you have it done by Monday? I’ve had days where I’ve concentrated on the word count as much as the words. Those are the days when I think about returning to the office.

The days where sentences refuse to form and paragraphs are indecipherable. Words clumsily fall out of my head, they blur as I read them back to myself. Delete, delete, delete. And then there is the beauty. The words that skip and dance, and without any conscious thought you find the answers right there in front of you. Of course, it all makes sense now. That’s exactly how I feel.

G and I were stuck half way up the ladder. We weren’t sure where it was headed anymore, we’d lost sight of its end, and we didn’t wan’t to keep going. He hated his job, and I’d not seen him this unhappy. We worried constantly about how it was all going to work. The mortgage, school, groceries, and child care. Would we ever have a home in Australia? How would we get back? How long should we stay away? Were we doing the right thing?

And then in the midst of it all I received a call from a friend. Cancer. Our lives had been so similar, both on the move, children the same age, friends in the same home town. “You’ll be okay though? Right?” I was full of stupid questions, it was my first time. Her diagnosis changed everything, all of our commonalties almost disappeared as there was something so much bigger going on. G and I went to visit her and realized how every tiny problem can immediately be erased when you’re faced with mortality. And then as the year went by, domino by domino, the bad news arrived. The death of a child, a father who lost his wife and children, a family who lost their daughter. It was perhaps the saddest year I’d ever known.

We were driving someone home. We’d only met him that night at a function, he was also Australian and he was telling us why he was in Qatar. He kept talking about the “journey”, he listed country after country like they were badges he’d received at boy scouts. He’d got through them, “survived” them. I sat in the back seat and stared out the window. My friend was gone, families were devastated and you “survived” living in Morocco in a five star hotel. I wasn’t perhaps my best self at the time.

I tapped away at my keyboard in the darkness, answering the questionnaire. What has your blog taught you? What’s been your biggest lesson? The words that had been swishing around in my head as I listened to “the journey” from the back seat of the car, made their way onto the page.

“It’s not a journey to be endured, its an adventure to be enjoyed.”

Let’s enjoy it.

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  1. Exactly.

  2. Yes, yes, yes. When there’s a choice between counting blessings and wondering why it all happened to me – I’m in the blessings corner.

  3. Really well said. We do not know which country we’ll be living in come July, are in the middle of contract negotiations for MrL and looking for a new house here (if we don’t find something, we’re heading elsewhere – but have no idea where.) It’s been stressful to say the least, and I haven’t had much (if any) perspective about things. Thanks very much for a reminder I needed to hear. x

  4. Not technically an expat as I am settled in Canada with no hope of returning to Australia except for holidays but I have to tell you, that photo of the road… I can, literally, smell the gums, bleached grass, dried up cow pats and road dust. I think there is even a magpie doing a “curly song” in the background. It’s everything I miss.

  5. Oh I know exactly what you mean! Exactly. This is my favourite stretch of road in the world, it’s green in the winter and golden brown in the summer. Every time I reach it I know I’m half way to my destination, both of which make me really happy. xx

  6. I hope it gets settled soon, I don’t envy you at all, the whole are we/aren’t we and time marching on and school places needing to be arranged and travel plans that need to be made for the summer. Let me know when you know?

  7. You certainly are Jo xx

  8. Look you’re obviously wanting to come home it’s sooooooo obvious from all your posts stop trying to make it appealing to yourself and face up to the reality that you don’t “love” it and go home – it will make you more authentic because you’re not right now

  9. “It’s not a journey to be endured, its and adventure to be enjoyed”. I love this. I have been an avid reader of your blog for a long time and have hooked many of my friends to your funny and often insightful posts. I have never commented though and now I have my own blog I am standing in similar shoes and feel i want to reach out and let you know just how much you have spoken to me. It is so true that we are on an adventure and I do plan to enjoy it. Nice reminder today and thank you.

  10. So very, very true!

    I am in my 8th year of expat life. There have been times that were rough emotionally. But we (so far) always made it not only work but managed to make our family a home. 2 years ago while I was going through a (long) low point being surrounded by people who kept saying: “it’s only 2 more years and then we move back home and continue being happy” I told myself: “Life is too short to waste years, months, days. I don’t want to miserably wait until this assignment is over. These early years with my kids are then going to be over. Never to be repeated.” I am happy again now. Not saying that this is always easy but it’s not a question of lasting but living!

  11. Wow. Really? Obvious? We’re really happy in Doha right now, although we are definitely on a countdown to heading home in 5 weeks time.

  12. Thanks Karen, your comment has really made my day. Will head over to have a look at your blog xx

  13. Exactly. xx

  14. Perhaps an arduous adventure? 😉 Thanks for your comment.

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