In four weeks time I plan to be in one of two radically different situations.
I may be in Austin, getting ready for the premiere of Steve’s film at SXSW. It’ll be the first week of a five-week tour of the States. We’ll go to New York, Washington, LA, San Francisco and Chicago. It’s a dream trip – the realisation and glitzy pudding after many years’ work and hope. It’s where I should be and where I want to be – there by Steve’s side.
But there’s a glitch standing in my way: I may not get a visa. Due to a various set of frustrating and complex reasons I have had to apply for a special type of visa that takes 4-6 months to process. I applied in October so four months since then is this week and six months is the middle of April, after the tour is done. The average wait time is 26 weeks, which would be the day after Steve comes home. I can’t go via the visa waiver programme. All I can do is wait.
I’m doing that waiting with hope. Even if it comes through at the last minute, or some way into the tour, I’ll book my flight and go. Being self-employed grants that freedom. But I know there’s a chance the visa won’t show. My waiting may be in vain – and in that case I need an alternative…
Once Steve goes, I don’t want to sit and wait, driving myself crazy as I imagine and wish I was where I should be. I need something to take my mind of it – something a little extraordinary that might help with the disappointment. I need an exciting alternative.
So I came up with a Plan B. If, by 11 March, my visa has not shown up, I have decided I will take a flight to Northern Spain and embark on a 490-mile walk. I will attempt the Camino de Santiago.
This is a somewhat ludicrous plan. I am not a hiker, I recently broke my little toe and if at any point my visa comes through, I’ll jump on a flight to the States. I also only have four weeks to prepare.
But the thought of it makes me smile. It makes sense in its absurdity. It excites me and dulls the fear and sadness that goes with the visa situation. It’s something I want to do, and while I’d prefer to be in the USA at that particular moment, I think it’s what I need if Plan A doesn’t come through.
So right now I’m in the rather unusual situation of mentally planning for both a film tour and a pilgrimage. I’ll likely be doing that for the next four weeks. I won’t know which path I’m taking until the last minute. And if I do go to Spain, I’ll leave a packed bag back in London, ready to pick up and fly with if the visa comes through. It’s a grand exercise in uncertainty.
I’ll update you as I go along and I’ll write more soon about why I want to walk the Camino, but for now you’re up to speed.
Wish me luck with whatever comes next…