The long road back08 October 2020
This week the removal people had completed transport of the first batch of belongings which I am shipping over to the UK and in doing so have kicked off a process I had previously hinted I might do — returning home to my country of origin. It certainly will not be this year and the way things are looking it will be a signfiicant distance into next year before I have all loose ends tied up, but unless something major changes my working assumption is that I am on my way.
For all its faults the UK is where I have family support which I do not have anywhere else, and with the way the world is going at the moment it is the only real support one can truely rely on. In the past I just had to hop on a plane but even with cost aside that is something that is not going to be as easy as it used to be for the foreseeable future, and that in turn meant a long hard look at my priorities.
Need the spaceWhen I moved into my current flat I never intended to still be in it six months later and long story short it is simply inadequate for my needs — just about the only good thing about it being rent including all bills. I had already taken the difficult decision to dispose of my balcony shed which for me was a psychological turning point, given both the circumstances of when I got it in the first place and the disproportionate effort put intro trying to keep it. After the effort of taking the base to a recycling centre that would actually accept it I looked into getting the local council picking it up, but in the end I concluded the only practical solution for disposal was to get a cheap jigsaw and dispose of the pieces in the building refuse bins over the course of about a month.
For the sake of my own sanity I needed space and with a lot of stuff still boxed up from when I moved in it was a no-brainer to have them shipped out. In fact two of the boxes were still unopened from when I moved into my previous place, and one was never fully unpacked since I had it shipped over from New Zealand — but this outliers are a story for another time. Having that little extra space meant that I was able to move things around in order to get at items I wanted to use, and I was even able to reassemble my desk. Given the circumstances these are the little things that make a lot of difference.
Time to goEven before Covid-19 I had been wondering whether after seven years of working and living here it was time to clear the deck once again and move on. In hindsight Bristol had lost its appeal after roughly that length of time, and I had recently been feeling some of the stagnation that was a large factor in sparking off my whole New Zealand adventure. Back then I felt the place was paved with the memories of the past that were preventing me from looking forward. Yes the process is far from easy but once the decision is made it is only then that memories can be laid to rest, and that is why I had no lasting regrets. Of course there are thoughts of things I wished I had done in hindsight while I had the opportunity, but since it is impossible to do everything that is unavoidable whatever course of action is taken.
Conversely if I was not to go how long would it be before I would even be in a position to make such a decision. At the moment I am not locked into any long-term commitments, but if I was to remain anything beyond the medium-term it is very likely this would change. My current accommodation is a simple monthly rolling contract but if I was to move at the very least I would be locked in for twelve months. In fact not that long ago I was on the verge of buying a property, which would likely see me here for at least another seven years. Partly as a result of the process of having two property purchases fall through I actually think this place is a bad choice for the sort of things I ought to do if I was to stay for the longer-term.
Brave new worldOne thing is clear and that is a post-Covid world being a very different place, and that whatever happens it is going to be a case of rebuilding my life. From the outset my accommodation situation is a mess which will take significant effort to sort out and one of my fears is that I will end up trying to reconstruct what I previously had. Then there is my shattered personal and social life. With so much disruption and more to come it does not seem much of a step to start afresh rather than try to piece things back together, and at least then I don't have to worry about what has or has not changed because everything would be new.