The story so far
Some people travel looking for answers. Others are looking for fun. Some want to learn something about a new place, culture, language or even themselves. Some want to meet people or network. Some are looking for a reason to do all of the above.
Some, like me, just travel because they know nothing else. They’re not ready to run in the rat race yet, nor settle down and lay their roots. They’re still wondering what their purpose is and who they are supposed to be. But the key is the experience that is gained through everything we do and everyone we meet along the way. It doesn’t matter if travelling is a short weekend away, or a total life change to the other side of the world. And answers don’t suddenly appear. People don’t suddenly become someone new overnight. Experience gained along the way changes, moulds and shapes the person that you already are. And when people ask you what you are doing, where you are going, or what you are trying to achieve you realise that there isn’t a goal, there isn’t a destination or result that will arrive, because travelling is what it is. Doing it, is what it is. For me, there is no place I am heading for. I don’t know what I am looking for, which is why I haven’t found it yet. But what I do now know and understand is that the journey, as Mark Twain is the success, not the destination. It’s where we are travelling, not where we are travelling to, that counts.
So I have sat and thought about Australia. Made lists of what I want to do, where I want to go and what I will do when it’s over. Everything has a limit, a deadline. My visa has an expiry date, which is now closer than my arrival date. My options are simple. Enjoy what I have here and go home or move on when that day comes, or enjoy what I have here and go home or move on when that day comes. I’ve been stressing about what to do for months, maybe all my life. But it really is simple. I read something the other day that said “The only thing you have to do today is be happy”. That’s a remarkably simple idea, as how many of us every stop to wonder if what we do today results in happiness?
This blog entry is rather random, as is my journey in Australia. I came here with no plan, no expectations and no idea how it would play out. But when I was sitting on the ferry to Manly Beach a couple of weeks ago, I realised that if I had to fly home tomorrow I would fly home happy, knowing I did the best I could with the situation I was in and have thoroughly enjoyed what I have done here.
6 months into my trip, I agonise over leaving Melbourne, because although I said many a time I was stuck here due to financial restraints, I realise I could indeed have left had I really wanted to. I have actually grown to love Melbourne, which is something I honestly don’t think I realised as little as a month ago. I now see that I have had the pleasure of falling in love with my job again. I have never had the opportunity to teach such interesting, grateful and inspiring students. I have actually left my house, and gone to work without dreading the idea of working, which I don’t think has ever happened before. Although, ironically, I am being paid (relatively speaking) a painful amount less than I deserve, and I put in much more time than I should, none of this bothers me in the slightest. Although it was never my intention to use my brain, or indeed teach this year, I have discovered that when I enjoy it, it is the easiest thing to do in the world.
I’ve worked in restaurants, bars and schools. I’ve driven to some awesome places in a bus and a car, been camping, hiking, horse-riding, climbing, dancing, drinking. I’ve met wonderful people who have shown me more than I imagined. I’ve laughed, cried, ventured and enjoyed. I’ve seen three of my favourite bands, been to Formula One and AFL. I’ve reconnected with two very special friends and made new friends who I’ll never forget. So I am thankful to Melbourne for giving me such a hard time at the beginning so I can now appreciate what I have gained.
And looking at all that, I realise it’s time to move on. A new venture waits for me beyond Melbourne, elsewhere in Australia. It may help me gain my visa for another year; it may show me that I have other destinations to explore. I am ready for the next leg of my Australian Adventure, wherever it takes me, so as I enter my last month in Melbourne I can smile about everything that has happened and everything that is ahead of me.