I was sat in my mother’s living room one Friday evening with the mothership herself and her partner Mark. We had been indulging in a few beverages and some good food. We had stumbled onto the topic of life. To be more specific, my life which was at the time undoubtedly shit! I’m not even kidding, it was the pits.
I was living alone in a house that I didn’t have enough furniture to fill and it was in a less than desired area. I had made the decision to live alone having recently moved back in with the mothership due to the breakdown of another long-term relationship. I wanted to know what it would feel like to stand on my own two feet!
It certainly had its perks; I could have people over whenever I wanted to, I didn’t have to talk to anyone when I got home after shitty days at work and I could stay in the bath for as long as I wanted without someone banging on the bathroom door demanding me to hurry up. RESULT! But it also had its downsides. It was very lonely, especially since I didn’t have much of an expendable income because I also had my own car to run and repair every other month, no really.
Being lonely caused me to make terrible decisions when it came to men! Well if you can even call them that! I ignored red flags that were popping up like daisies in springtime! I accepted behaviour that should never be accepted. Why didn’t I just get a cat or a house rabbit?
So it was after another terrible decision that I found myself in this conversation about my life direction! I was fed up and feeling pretty down on my luck. I was single, the wrong side of 25, overweight and miserable. I hated my job. I hated my lifestyle and I was watching everyone around me getting married, engaged or having babies. That is not where I ever expected to be at that time in my life. I thought I definitely would have had my shit together at that age.
Mark mentioned Australia. He is an avid traveller and encouraged it. He had mentioned it to be me before as my sister had headed off travelling across Indonesia to Australia and once she had gotten to Oz that was where she had stayed. I always made noise about not being able to afford it but this night was different. “We’ll pay for you to go” he said with a shrug of the shoulders and a look to the mothership who nodded her agreement! Oh these wonderful people, I couldn’t quite believe it! Could I? Should I? Would I?
After speaking to my sister who was of course on board with the idea, I tested the waters with the parentals once again as there was alcohol involved in their previous offer. There had been no change and the offer was still on the table.
I took the weekend to mull it over, ringing my mother with questions every couple of hours. My head was full of what ifs? I talked myself out of it and back into it easily 10 times. I was such a coward; I didn’t have anything to lose and everything to gain. The UK had nothing to offer me and I longed for a hotter climate.
I don’t know what it was that eventually made me decide but on the following Sunday I applied for my working holiday Visa. It was granted within 2 hours, I couldn’t quite believe it. The feeling I got was euphoric, I quickly worked out how much notice I needed to give work and my landlady. I picked a date I wanted to leave and got looking at flights to Brisbane, within an hour I was all booked and ready to go. I left in just 7 weeks!
I was sad that I was leaving behind family and friends but mostly I was excited about my new life. I imagined spending my days on a beach with the wind in my hair, the sun on my skin and sand on my feet. That was the life for me! I was also feeling really proud for the first time in a long time. This was the wildest thing I had ever done and I really didn’t think I had it in me, a real positive step forward.
The closer it got to my departure, the more my insecurities kicked in. What if I don’t make any friends? What if I don’t like it there? What if I don’t fit in? Again with the “what ifs?” I wish I could take this question permanently out of my head, put it into a box and put that box into another box and then smash it with a hammer! I’d made the decision, I was sticking to it and I was going to make this work!
One of my best friends gave me a piece of parting advice (when she finally forgave me for leaving her and had finished calling me names); I was to be the “Yes woman”. I had to say yes to everything and experience as much as I possibly could. She made me promise and I have to stay that I’m pretty sure I’ve stuck to that promise!
I arrived in Australia approximately 1 year, 7 months and 5 days ago. In that time I’ve experienced a lot!
I’ve lived in 6 different places.
I’ve had 5 different jobs.
I’ve visited and stayed in 3 of the 5 states of Australia.
I’ve met people from 15 different countries.
I’ve learnt to swear in 3 different languages.
I’ve lost 13.5 kilos in weight.
I’ve seen wild dolphins, whales, koalas, kangaroos, lizards, snakes and turtles (the turtle was dead but it was still a turtle).
I’ve gone camping and slept on the ground.
I’ve gone fishing, caught fish, cooked it then ate it.
I’ve gone weeks without makeup or a hairdryer.
I’ve gone 4WD up a mountain and on the beach.
I’ve gone to a drive in movie.
I’ve learnt to drive an automatic.
I’ve tried Pilates.
I’ve joined a gym.
I’ve spent my birthday on a boat with glasses of bubbles and a live jazz band.
I’ve picked grapes for a living – this one gets its very own blog.
I’ve tried new foods like carrot casserole and octopus.
I’ve flown to another state and stayed in a hostel for 4 months in the middle of nowhere.
I’ve mastered goon pong.
I’ve drank bootleg liquor.
I’ve drunk whiskey and port with farmers at 3 in the afternoon.
I’ve started a blog which is being read across 36 different countries.
I’ve started to live and love my life! AND I’ve met the LOVE of my life!
Australia is the BEST decision I’ve ever made! And this is dedicated to all those who pushed me to do this and funded me to do this, who’ve supported me through all of this and have made my life better by being in it! For all the amazing people I have met. The weird, the bold and the wonderful, thank you all. Thank you Mam and Mark! Thankyou Hayley! And most of all thank you David! I couldn’t have caught this dream without any of you beautiful humans!