2015 : the endDecember 31, 2015 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C
(Side note, I've written this post many, many, many months after coming home. The reality of life has altered my view and I’ve forgotten some of the great words I would’ve used if I’d written this on Dec 31st, but here goes my attempt anyway)
It’s almost midnight and the most incredible year of my life and most incredible two years will officially draw to a close. I am beyond saddened to say goodbye to 2015. What a year! I visited 15 countries, spent 6 months travelling, did 2 Help exchangers, met some of the most wonderful people in hostels and found myself (haha).
I had one of those years that you find in travel brochures and aside from having my phone stole in Paris and 2 bouts of bed bugs I couldn’t have faulted a thing.
The end of 2015 almost means the end of my 2-year visa in the UK and my return home, saying goodbye to wonderful friends who have been my family and waiting with mixed excitement at what lies ahead.
But first up, what I have learnt, who I’ve become and the things I know now:
- Not happy, change:
If you’re not happy, just make a change. Maybe it’s buying a different camera, or going a new way home. Maybe it’s a big change like moving houses cause your housemates suck. But why stay unhappy? If you’ve tried, then change, there’s no rule book saying you have to stick it out
- No rule book:
That’s a big one, there is no rule book! Most of the time it feels like society tries to tell you how you have to be and how things are. I’m not sure who made this up, but its 2016 people be who you want to be and do what you want do to. There is no wrong answer, just go for it!
As someone who likes saving and can be very economically with money it was an eye opening experience to spend two years just spending the dollars. Everything I had saved before I left home, everything I earned in London was spent. In a calculated manner of course! But that was great too. Sometimes you just need to go and buy stuff. If you want a massage go for it and pay for a good one. If you want a new camera buy one. This also fits in well with the above note about if you’re not happy change. It’s good to save, but it’s also good to spend.
- Be yourself:
Perhaps it was the people I was with but I left London feeling supremely confident in who I was. Be who you want to be! Who are others to tell you what you do is wrong, what you like sucks, how you want to dress and behave it not right.
- Accepting where you are:
A lot of quotes I’d read started to make sense whilst overseas. I put on weight while I was there and even though I tried to get in exercise, most days I had to learn to accept that when you travel you put your body on the line and although you might not be happy right now, you need to accept that it’s ok to be here and when you get an opportunity to change you will. I also found that with my job. At times I found it very frustrating to be in a role that I knew was below my skill level. But I also knew that I had accepted that position in order to enjoy the London nightlife and travel around and the role gave me the financial freedom to do that. I still had great fun and great memories, but on low days when I felt like perhaps I’d taken a step back in my career, I needed to remember it was only temporary and to see point 2 and 4
- You have strengths:
One of the best things a big company taught me, and perhaps it was the people I worked with was that it's ok not to be the best of everything, that's why you employ people with a diverse skills set. It was refreshing and awesome to say actually I'm not good at that, or I don't like doing that and that was a-ok!
- Travel friends:
At the start of my journey I didn’t like that I had no one with me who was from home. I thought about all of these experiences that you have with strangers that you’ll never see again and you won’t be able to reminisce many years later about that time we camped on the beaches of Gallipoli to wake for the 99th ANZAC Day. But as time went on I realised that it was all of these momentary friendships that made travelling. They probably aren’t the people you will be friends with for life, but for those few days they change who you are, create moments in time that can never be altered and give you stories for a lifetime that will make you smile every time you think of them.
- Army life:
Having up rooted my life and moved I have a new appreciation for what it must be life in defence families. On one hand it would be great knowing that every 2 years you’re in for a new adventure, on the other hand it means every 2 years you have (for the partners) to find a new job, new house, make new friends and learn a new custom, even if it’s all in the same country.
I read a quote that goes something like; 'life is a series of choices’. There’s no right or wrong answer, you make a choice that gives you some options, and then you make another choice. It took me a while to understand that one, but while I’ve been at home this year it’s made a lot of sense
I've returned questioning religion's place in the world, it's ramifications on history and the good it really provides.
- What is the meaning of life:
In the end, I came back questioning the meaning of life and wondering what it was all about. What is the point of learning that new skill, or practicing to not let that person get under your skin? In the end we’re all going to die, maybe now, maybe in 50 years time, but why worry. What is it all about? I still don’t have an answer here, so feel free to in put haha
- Life is long (I hope):
On some days it was good to remember that life was long. That in 40 years time I will look back and this will feel like a life time ago, I’m sure I’ll be so proud of the giant leap of faith I took and hopefully I’ll still be travelling and exploring and breaking new ground and this won’t seem like such a stretch of time.
Having seen so much history that ranged from ancient to modern times, I do feel sad that all I get in a measly 80 years (I hope) of this life. I get a small snapshot of what the human race is up to and then I’m gone. What will the world look like in 200 years? We (I feel) have an in a period of time were war is not the answer and you cannot decide to invade another country and take it over. That is unlike everything else in history! I attended a showing in Brisbane when at home and they said that many years ago the Brisbane River was blue. That the council was putting in measures to help the river run blue once more. However, the 2011 flooding put the progress back 100 years. 100 years!! That means I will never see the Brisbane River be blue in my lifetime! What else am I going to miss out on. Life is so exciting – the world is exciting.
Essentially I feel live I’ve returned from travel very comfortable with who I am. I feel like I’ve got good batting back technique for the negatives of life and hope to be able to hold on to all of that when the reality of life returns.
The next chapter
Some days the reality of being an adult with experience scares me about doing that again. I would like to travel and live in Canada. The opportunity to life in another country, understand their customs, the way they chose to live life, do taxes and health, cook food is an experience so rare that it’s surely not one to pass up. I hope that I have the courage to do so. The idea of putting on my life resume that I lived in worked in 2 countries outside of Oz excites me!
But I can see the bonuses of staying in the same job and building strong and long relationships, being able to build on a job, outcomes, and workloads and put in the lessons learnt from the previous year sounds exciting. But for now, I still live by the saying that your 20s is for learning and 30s for earning.
For as long as I can remember my path was to always go to uni, get a degree, get some experience and money and then move to London to travel Europe. I cannot believe that those 2 incredible years has now all come to an end. It was everything beyond my wildest imagination. And I would do it all again in an instant.
But for now the next chapter awaits and I don’t want to spend too long looking back. I only 60 year more years to go and I need to make the most of them! HahahaRead more