The weight of how much there is still to do feels overwhelming. Somehow, the list is getting longer, with me recently agreeing to devise and deliver Directors training at work before I head off into the sunset, redundant and free. Why, oh why did I agree? Planning 5 months away is no small feat, and the “to do” list remains both long and scattered on bits of paper I can’t even remember the location of. Somehow I convince myself that writing down a task (however randomly) makes it at least a little bit complete. On top of my list is the task of consolidating the list itself. Visas, innoculations that I still have not identified, chats with Qantas about linking randomly-booked flights, arranging accommodation for the European summer, suspending newspapers, virgin gym memberships, magazines. Passing the Company Directors course that my (soon to be former) employer kindly allowed me to do. Getting my head around a year off. One. Year. Off. With 3 weeks left of being employed, it seems like it will never happen, even while it bears down on me. Having worked since before I even left school, including 20-30 hours a week during full-time Uni, and then for the last 18 years since qualifying, it feels like my life was a series of long days and working on weekends. Friends got married and had babies; I kept working. After backpacking around Europe while at Uni, and vowing to travel often, suddenly it was 16 years since I had been overseas for anything other than work. I started to travel again, but only 3 years ago. Now I can’t let it go. I’m not complaining. I was very blessed to fall into roles that were far beyond what I imagine was my ability at very early ages. Then of course I had no choice but to grow into them. The cost was long hours, immense stress, and alot of personal sacrifice. While I can’t resent it, you do eventually wake up to find you are 40, lost decades stretching behind you like a vast ocean. Having once been convinced I would never want a sea change (hey, I was too ambitious), in the past year I’ve been fantasising about having an outrageous amount of time off work. Even to the point of planning it (of course on bits of paper). One third of my team at work had babies and took maternity leave – what a great idea! How come you can’t do that without the whole baby thing? When ANZ took my employer, ING Australia, over late last year, it did start to feel like the fantasy could become a reality. I waited. Whilst I would have been more than happy to stick around and take a ride in the new organisation, the niggling little plan kept whispering in my ear and, with the flick of someone’s pen, my role is redundant at the end of this month. Sure, there are a great many things I will miss. My team for one. Mental stimulation. Hell, a regular income. But I figure that, if I don’t take a break now, when I look back at that expanding ocean, the thing I’ll miss the most would have been life. Time to breathe. On Thursday 4 March, I embark on 5 months of travel through Europe and the Middle East. Now, where is that list? Set up Travel Blog: tick.