An eerie echo vibrates through the empty apartment as I close the door. I scan the rooms trying to remember what it all looked like just over a week ago; where the sofa was, where the bed was, where my whole life was. It’s all gone; I’m all that remains here now, sat on the hard floor, staring at four walls that desperately need painting, and saying a silent goodbye – not only to the place I called home for three years, but also to my life in Dubai, which is slowly coming to a conclusion.
In less than three hours, I shall be gone. And soon after, the cleaners will come in and wipe away every trace of me. The only proof I will have that I ever lived here, in apartment L419 Burj Views, will be my memories – the laughter, the tears, the drama, the excitement. I’ve had some of my best years in this apartment, and while these rooms are empty right now, when I think of them in years to come I will remember them the way they were: full of belongings and full of life.
In less than three hours, I shall also be a nomad and ready to embrace a new adventure that will see me travelling the world for however long my money lasts. Earlier, as I watched my final belongings get taken away, I wondered whether this is a bad mistake. I’m only human, after all, and despite the fact everyone thinks I’m incredibly brave to be doing this, I have moments of self-doubt, apprehension and fear. I do not crave a ‘conventional’ life, however, it’s at times like this that I wonder how life would be if I did actually want the standard package: corporate career, mortgage, husband, children. Would it make things a little more stable, if nothing else?
But as I sit here, considerably lighter having alleviated myself from more than three quarters of my belongings, and I contemplate what lies ahead, I realise that this is exactly what I’ve always wanted. Not a single person I’ve told my plan to has been surprised – the standard response has been: “Wow, you’ve always wanted to do that.” This is no spur of the moment, on a whim decision. This is something that has been simmering within me ever since I first pinned a photo of the New York skyline to my wall and declared I wanted to spend my entire life abroad.
I was 12.
And, in turn, I then realise that the only reason I’m doubting my decision is because I hate saying goodbye. Over the next few days I’m going to say many of them: to my apartment, to my friends, to Dubai. With any new beginning, sadly, also comes an end. And this is the end of life as I’ve known it for five years. Everything that is so familiar to me is about to change. I, myself, am about to change.
So, yes, it is painful to say goodbye. Yes, it is painful to leave. But as I close that door on apartment L419 that final time, I will find myself at the door of a new, exciting, life-changing adventure.
Knock, knock – are you ready for me?