Wednesday, July 18, 2012

nightmares about ovens blowing up and suffocating at airports

I usually hate it when strangers yabber on about their dreams. I mean, it’s a notorious thing – when people begin a long story about a dream they had and to them it’s totally fantasmagorical and amazing, but to everyone else it’s just hell boring. For some reason we all believe our own sleepy adventures are so meaning-laden that they simply must hold some kind of key to unlock things previously unknown about our innermost psyche. Whatever man, whatever.

Ironically, on that note, I want to super swiftly describe a dream I had – but I implore you to bear with me through it because the explanation is (I believe) interesting. I dreamt that I was just getting out of the airport and arriving at a university. The university was in Germany. Ergo, I was in Germany. The dream went for about ten dream-minutes (of course I have absolutely no concept of how many real-life minutes that is) in which time I met some nice new students, spoke a little bit of basic German with them, and began to unload my luggage. 

And then I woke up. Fairly simple, relatively straight forward, I know. So what makes this dream at all significant? For one, I can’t speak any German at all, so lord knows what the hell I was saying. But more importantly: I had a dream about travel that wasn’t a nightmare. This is really big for me.
I went bungee jumping here (this is Uganda 2010, when I was 18) but oh no, I never have nightmares about it. Instead, I nightmare that I'm melting into the floor at the airport and I can't breathe... normal kid.
I have nightmares almost every night. They vary greatly in context and content, and I almost always remember them for at least a full day afterwards. The only think that makes sleep bearable is that I also have some of the most wondrous and crazy dreams. I’m not sure what difference there is between me and most people I talk to, but my subconscious imagination manifests itself quite vividly and memorably. Here’s another thing you need to know: a frequently recurring nightmare theme I’ve been experiencing in the last six-months-or-so is travel going wrong. Horrible things happen to me in unrecognisable international airports, everything that could possibly go wrong with my luggage goes wrong in new unforeseeable ways. I always end up with no money and no one around, I never have my passport or important documents with me, I often end up being violently mugged or locked in an interrogation room by intensely scary customs officers that yell at me in languages I can’t understand, and sometimes if I realise I’m in a dream (it’s called ‘lucid dreaming’) and I try to deny the reality of the situation, I begin to melt into the floor and can’t breathe. 
Sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo you can imagine my incredulation when I woke this morning, ate my fruit, started thinking about my dream, and realised its potentially pleasant significance.

Since I came back to Australia, I’ve lost count of the number of people (both close to me and relative strangers) who have asked me “where next?” To most of them I replied with an almost worrying certainty, that absolutely nowhere was next, and that I wholeheartedly intended to stay in my lovely hometown of Brisbane for a very very very long time. That was genuinely how I felt. I didn’t want to go anywhere. A little part of me didn’t even want to leave the house, and I had strange and constant worries about mundane things – constantly stressed that I was going to burn the house down when I was using the stove again, constantly stressed that I hadn’t locked the car door properly and it would get stolen, constantly stressed that I hadn’t closed the front gate properly and my dog would run out and get hit by a car. I suppose this all makes me sound like a morbid freak, but coming home is turbulent. I was away for 13 months, which is really a long time for a 20 year old. Anyways, enough rambling. I just want to illustrate that the nightmares of travelling were just one manifestation of the strange nature of stress I felt.
Somewhere in Kenya.
Lately my friends have been talking about their travel plans to New York and Latin America and two of my best friends are together in Scandinavia right now. And finally it’s actually exciting to listen to them talk about it, and I can finally tell them my crazy travel stories without going all foetal-position on them. Lol. It only took 6 months for the deep cogs of re-adjustment to get oiled back into gear. That doesn’t mean I’m heading off to the travel agent to book my next trip, it just means I’m finally actually chilling out. I’m properly settled back into daily life and things are going wonderfully.

One of the friends I made in China during my second semester has just returned to Australia, and I’m happy I can give him some of the advice I wish someone had told me about coming home.

1 comment:

  1. Very beautiful, interesting and lovely photos.


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