There’s a fantasy I have, which I think I share with many, that one day I’ll win the lottery and be freed from any obligation to build a stable life for myself. It would be like cutting the string that holds me down, floating up and off to freedom. I am twenty-three years old and back at home after spending four years at university. I was so idealistic and safe during my education, I believed that I wouldn’t have to move back home, I’d find and start a job straight away or I’d set off travelling around the world, like a small female Indiana Jones. University was a precipice, a stepping stone from which I could launch myself into space. All of my loved ones would watch, open mouthed, as I catapulted upwards through the clouds.
Of course that’s not the reality. The reality is moving back home and searching for a job with the paranoid sensation that all of my loved ones are waiting for me to do something. I think they’re bored by now. After all, it’s been two months since I got home. A whole two months! That’s practically a lifetime spent doing nothing. It’s a frustrating state of mind, my fear of failure wrestling with my calm rationality.
To ease my guilt, I booked a week-long trip to Oslo, Norway. I’ve been to Iceland many times, and its indescribable, awe-inspiring beauty coupled with the cheerful eccentricities of its people to earn a place in my heart. This trip is less an adventure and more of a break from worrying. My ultimate Norwegian goal is to visit every fjord of the country, but as there’s over a thousand of them I’m not sure how realistic that is. Still, I’m keeping it. I think you should aim high when travelling, set yourself far reaching goals that seem impossible to achieve. When you do achieve them, it makes you feel bigger, brighter. It reassures you that life isn’t so condensed, that two months isn’t such a long time and the world isn’t closing in on you with each passing second.
My travels continue to reassure me that I will be okay. The person who spent four weeks looking after elephants in Thailand, or who travelled around Belgium alone for three weeks, can easily find a job. The more I travel, the bigger I become, the more I know I can achieve. One day, I can say – “I’ve visited all the fjords in Norway” – and when I imagine all of the experiences I’ll have in between, my future doesn’t seem quite so terrifying.