Tomorrow it will be too late to plan and too late to pack.
Tomorrow, the dragon route begins.
Through hard work and a healthy sprinkling of good luck, I get to travel a lot. More than a lot as my family would say, not to mention the various visa centres I’ve traipsed through as fingers and thumbs have searched for the last few empty pages in my passport. A passport that lost its gilded unicorn on the front page a long time ago.
“So you’ve seen everything now and you’re going back twice,” someone said as I returned to old friends Toronto, Morocco and Mexico last year.
Well, hardly. The world is still so big. And despite my fondness for cupcakes, I am still small.
Yet, this time something feels different. This time, the day before tomorrow comes and I can’t sit still. I’m restless. Distracted. Drinking far too many cups of tea.
Could it be that I’m excited? Or perhaps there’s something else.
There’s a chance that I feel nervous. A sliver of a shiver as I step into the unknown.
I’m not sure if it’s an old friend but I certainly remember it well.
I suspect that you do too.
It’s the feeling, that feeling, before your first journey overseas. It’s the pulsing in your fingers and slight buzzing in your ears. It’s not quite panic and it’s not quite joy. It’s a cocktail of expectation laced with an undercurrent of fear.
It’s the bubble of half-heard myths all jumbled together, the photos, the films, the stories and the bureaucratic language of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. It’s the recent sting of vaccines, the dashed scribbles on the to-do list and the omnipresent “finger cross” that you’ll get to the airport on time.
It’s knowing that it all could go wrong, yet hoping for something to blaze into your life. Hoping for something wonderful.
It’s the start of a new adventure. And it’s finding, after all these years, that there still is adventure to be found.
Time may have wiped the unicorn from my passport. But that doesn’t stop me searching for dragons.
Wish me luck – and follow me – as I head out on the Dragon Route.
Abigail King is a writer and photographer who swapped a career as a doctor for a life on the road. Now published by Lonely Planet, the BBC, CNN, National Geographic Traveler & more, she feels most at home experimenting here: covering unusual journeys, thoughtful travel and luxury on www.insidethetravellab.com