I’m sitting here with my laptop balanced uncomfortably on a pillow across my thighs and two visa application forms by my side. They’re both blank. I’ve had them for over two weeks and now, three weeks before we fly to Cuba, I’ve decided it’s time to get the ball rolling.
I can remember feeling quite pleased with myself when I got the forms printed out. Like I could give myself a nice big tick on the to-do list. One thing down. But I haven’t actually done anything yet. All I’ve got are two blank forms.
I do very little planning before I travel which is why my imminent month-long trip to Cuba, followed directly by a two-year stint in Canada still feels quite unreal.
What is a plan but a daydream about the future, anyway?
People want to know, am I all sorted for Canada? Where am I going? Where will I live? Where will I work? And no one seems entirely comfortable when I say, ‘I don’t know’.
When it comes to planning a big trip like this one, I think people want to hear how difficult and stressful it is, like there’s some mysterious hardship involved. People don’t like to hear how little organisation it takes to just up and leave. That there’s nothing much you need to do and nothing you need to stress over. Telling people how easy it is to leave home suggests that it might be easy for them too and that all of the ties that bind you to a place can be severed with little force. Understandably, people don’t like to hear that.
Here’s a list of the important things I must do before I leave the UK
– Apply for a visa for Cuba
– Apply for an international driving license so I can drive a car in Canada
– Call the bank to tell them where I’m going.
– Renew my travel insurance
That’s it, really. Fill in a few forms, make a few calls and then make a trip to the post office. An afternoon’s effort at worst. Everything else can be dealt with at the time it must be dealt with. It’s all open to change.
Travelling around Cuba for a month before the move to Canada, making it difficult to take more luggage than a backpack and almost impossible to organise our arrival in Canada (given the internet situation in Cuba) doesn’t make much sense, to me or to anyone else. But I don’t think it has to. We’re going to Cuba because we want to go to Cuba and if we can’t just go where we want to then why did we adopt this lifestyle in the first place?
Actually, I’ve just remembered, I have made some Canada plans. I plan to visit Niagara Falls as soon as humanly possible. That seems as good a plan as any.