In one and a half weeks I'll be flying back to the UK. The plan is to see family and friends (particularly my grown-up kids), get a new visa, and book a 6-month return flight back to Sri Lanka. Total time: three to four weeks. Thing is, I have no idea where I'll be staying or when I'll be doing what!
I've done this routine three times already - in April '09, Oct '09 and April '10, and it always feels like it's never enough time, it's never relaxed. It's certainly no holiday! Partly because I don't like the feeling of transience or unsettledness. And it's expensive - even if I'm staying with family or friends and they're kindly paying for everything, just the cost of a meal out or transport or petrol makes me think twice, especially when I can't help comparing with Asia. I've always been careful with money and now, when there's little coming in, I feel I have to be extra-careful even though I've budgeted my finances.
And there's the feeling that I'm reliant on others and that I'm expecting too much. Taking them for granted. I know it's their choice if they put me up but...
Before I set out volunteering I packed up my clothes, furniture, tools, bicycle, paperwork and bits n' pieces, and stored them in my brother's barn. He didn't mind but probably thought I'd remove them in a year or so, once I got bored.
My brother and sister offered to put me up when I came back every six months, but again they didn't know how long I'd be doing it for. _I_ had no idea how long I'd be doing it for, and I still don't!
Two years and counting, it can't now NOT be an inconvenience.
I've thought about the alternatives - selling my things, living/storing in a caravan, couchsurfing, living in a cave, commercial storage and so on. There is certainly stuff I could get rid of but not a huge amount - the it-might-come-in-handy-one-day stuff. The rest is either sentimental or useful or essential - it has to live somewhere. Accommodation-wise, Couchsurfing is perhaps a realistic possibility. B&B maybe, or hostels.
I'm uncomfortable with these feelings but the reality of all this is that what I'm doing is only possible because of the generosity of others, and that it's my choice to do what I do.