So. This is it. Here we go.
I began writing this on the floor of an empty bedroom, with my backpack beside me. I’m finishing it on our first leg – the train to Brussels – as I contemplate changing my job on Facebook to ‘Homeless Itinerant Wanderer’.
We’re travelling light, by design – one backpack each, something we can take as hand luggage, stow under a seat. So far so good. We’re each taking a few clothes, a few essential supplies (although a slightly alarming quantity of electronics). It’s a strange feeling, in particular, to leave all the signifiers of my professional self behind – my watch, my jewellery, all my nicer clothes. Even the paltry tube of mascara I planned to take for theoretical smarter occasions got jettisoned when refining what went into the pack. The next six months will be conducted with the sole aid of one pair of trekking trousers, one full-length skirt, one pair of hiking boots, and one pair of sandals. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to be myself, without a professional role to play, for the next few months, but I won’t say it’s not unsettling to leave behind so much of the face I’m used to presenting.
I’m not sure it’s sunk in yet that we’ve walked out of our front door and won’t be coming back for some time. It reminds me of the sense of dislocation I had when I first moved to London after university and suddenly lived nowhere, except in a suitcase on Loz’s floor. Somehow I feel all of this is symbolised by the pathetic single Tube ticket that took me from Brixton to St. Pancras, the first paper Tube ticket I’ve bought in nine years.
Dispatches from Europe to come as we take the train to Moscow in stages.