My first real moment of terror came when I was 24 years old. Now, that’s not to say that I hadn’t experienced moments of terror before that time, because that would just be a total and utter lie and completely unbelievable right? No, what I am saying is that, prior to the age of 24 and my specific moment of ‘real’ terror, all other moments of terror paled into comparison.
On a sliding terror scale of 1 to 10, whereby 1 is you get goosebumps and 10 is you need a new pair of underpants, generally I don’t remember ever peaking much over a 7. Perhaps I had led a sheltered life? Perhaps I just have a bad memory? Either way, until that certain moment, I remain certain that I had never reached a 10 on the scale of terror.
But sitting in the departure lounge at aged 24 with my wordly posessions packed into a bag by my feet, passport clutched in my hand, and a huge jumbo jet staring at me menacingly through the window, I felt terror. A Number 10 on the terror scale kind of terror.
Sure, emigrating was all I had ever wanted to do. I didn’t want to live my life in the doom and gloom of England, spending two thirds of my life in darkness and rain, enveloped in jumpers and scarfs. I didn’t want to battle my way onto a sardine packed tube and commute for an hour to work in order to keep up with the jones’, and pay off the debt on my shoebox of a house on a lego land estate.
I knew there was a better life waiting for me where the sun shone and the water glistened, and people actually smiled and said ‘G’day’ when you passed them in the street. Sure, I wasn’t so gullible, even at such a young age, to think it was all going to be plain sailing and the journey would be without its challenges, but I was nonetheless pretty convinced that I was prepared for it all.
That is….until reality and the moment of terror truly hit as I sat in that departure lounge waiting to board the plane to my new life. As I blinked back rivers of tears and a lump the size of a small country nestled in my throat and threatened to suffocate me I, all of a sudden, felt afraid, very afraid. I felt hot and cold. I felt sick and faint, but, above all, I felt total and utter terror. Total and utter terror at the realisation that I was about to kiss goodbye to everything and everyone I had ever known. Terror that I was about to embark on a journey that may not work out, and terror that I had made a decision based on a spontaneous dream, rather than a reality.
I am thankful to say that my fears were unfounded and, despite the fact that I am a world (quite literally) away from my loved ones and, needless to say, that never gets easier, I love my life here in Australia.
That’s not to say of course that there wont be any future terrors for me to face that may, in their own way, be just as scary as that one was, because I am sure there will be. However, at least having survived that experience and lived to tell the tale, I am pretty confident that, whatever they may be, I can at least tackle them head on and be rest assured that I can come out the other side with my underpants still in tact.
This post is in response to Kerri Sackville’s #myfirst blogging challenge