The Buzz of the Unfamiliar

I never sleep on overnight flights which is unfortunate, considering I seem to be on one every couple of months at the moment. Knowing this, and also not being the biggest fan of long-haul flights, I purposefully broke up my journey to Australia by stopping off in Hong Kong on both legs.

Last night I arrived at the airport, checked-in to the Regal Airport Hotel (literally 2 minutes walk from Terminal 1) and mooched about a bit before getting some much needed sleep. This morning I realised how much of a daze I’d been in yesterday because it suddenly hit me as I walked back to the airport: I’m in Hong Kong! You know that buzz of excitement you feel when you’re somewhere new and unfamiliar? Though I’ve been to Hong Kong before, that was only for a week back in 2011, and to be honest, that feels like a completely different part of my life.

In the same way that we have this idea that children are fearless, I wonder if I was a braver person and more adaptable to the unknown when I was in my early 20s. I think back to that time I lived in Japan, roaming about rural Kagoshima, a region that Japanese people are unfamiliar with, never mind anyone else, and wonder, could I really do that now? I think the answer is yes but I guess my life is so familiar and comfortable now, living in London, that I fear I’m becoming allergic to the challenge of living abroad.

Oh man, Australia is so far away. Having survived an 11-hour flight yesterday, I am now gobbling down some pancakes in the airport, before embarking on a 9-hour flight to Melbourne. Again, though I’ve been to Australia before (the return to unfamiliar yet familiar destinations is a common theme in my life), I’d travelled from Japan the last time (also via Hong Kong) which meant the journey was somewhat shorter. Roll on getting to the other end and embarking on my one-week residency at the Australian Open!

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