Now have air ticket and departure date: November 1. Getting a bit real. Time to start this diary.

Working full time on the transit now: the loft and bedroom are cleared – books to Oxfam, clothes in a heap to be sorted into: Oxfam/storage/freight. Every object in the house must be moved somewhere. The essentially temporary arrangement of everything is revealed. Newly painted in renter-friendly neutral, my lovely house is no longer my home. It will come back, assuming I do, the intimacy of home and sanctuary, but it will be different. So will I. In two years time, or whenever, I will have seen, smelled, tasted, felt things I can barely imagine. Too busy just now with lists and boxes for many flights of fancy, but every now and again I think about southern stars.

Don’t know where my new home will be, but have ten days before starting work at Charles Sturt University to find somewhere, get connected, set up bank and all the other administrative elements of arriving. First there is the bureaucracy of leaving: all the memberships, standing orders, and direct debits to be unravelled, suspended, explained. I need to get an EPC and GSC for renting, tax returns, P85 …. Then there is the human separation: have hugged my dad goodbye, the first of many farewells – swinging between ‘two years will flash by’ and the enormity of one nephew’s ‘I won’t see you till I’m TEN’. Yet another adventure looms in my life-long experiment in needing and not-needing other people. This time, there is no flouncing off to find myself, like the 22 year old setting out to conquer America, or the various exiles of withdrawal and healing; this is not really about me. Making it easier to know how much I will miss those I love and how happy I am to have this great opportunity to embrace the new, to move from autumn to spring. (and back)