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with Kat Barcenilla
You’re only a day away.
“Don’t forget,” my mum would say. “You’re only a day away.”
This comforting reminder has become my personal mantra at times of loneliness, sadness, difficulties and despair. I recall it when I am feeling the utmost of homesickness feels.
Usually it’s a matter of either sitting it out, finding a distraction, calling them. Acknowledge your emotions but know that if it ever got so bad you just had to be home, you could, of course, organise a flight and jump on a plane. Being a ‘planner’ rather than a spontaneous kind of person, coupled with the price of flights, meant this whim was never actioned in my case. But knowing if I absolutely had to I could, was enough of a comfort. It’s an option… if you need it.
There are many, many tiny bricks of the day which cemented together to form a strong sense of structure and grounding. I took these bricks purely for granted. Not so much that I didn’t appreciate them, but they were so mundane and routine that they just assumed the reliable building blocks of life. Wake up, drive. (Busy Frankton road, we all love to complain about that one). Go to work (in an office, with other people). Build motivation to go to the gym (I would do anything to go right now). Hang out with friends (why did we always say we’d catch up, but end up so busy that it was always postponed?) Takeaways on Friday nights (a weekly ritual I love to embrace). Check social media and stay relatively updated on current affairs (there is only one current affair I seem to read, care for and am now scarily obsessed with).
On a larger scale: knuckling down and saving for a trip (make those dreams to see the world happen!). Visit family (need to make sure we don’t leave it so long this time). Arrange a trip to see a newborn nephew (definitely doable – Wellington is literally a 90 minute flight north).
Travel is the ultimate luxury I took for granted. Travel is expensive, takes time, organisation. Travel is my vice! It’s a sunny spot on your wall calendar. It’s a long-awaited weekend trip to see your long lost friends. It let’s us escape our mundane life and see somewhere new and shiny, meet new people, meet familiar people, make memories and experiences. It’s a reward after battling out consecutive weeks of 9-5.
For now, travel is not an option to anyone. We cannot hop in the car, drive down the highway and visit our friends. That trip so many of us were looking forward to has been wiped from our diaries. We can no longer book a flight to our home country and surprise our parents because we miss them. We are no longer a day away.
With the ability to leave removed, it places us in the position to realise what could be if we aren’t able to just up and leave. Airplane travel is a luxury, one which I think my generation assumed was always going to be available. We grew up with trains, planes and automobiles and we assumed this service would always be. I hope this feeling is a short-lived feeling. I hope things resume to ‘normality’ in the near-future. I want to keep my mantra, and know it is possible, even if it is only a comforter.