Iâ€™ve been getting a lot of messages lately from people back home asking me about what Iâ€™m doing in Australia, in which most cases I explain that I have taken an â€œafter the gap- gap yearâ€ before I begin to do whatever it is I intend on doing. I get the same questions a lot from friends that Iâ€™ve met here. Like, â€œwhy Â would you come here aloneâ€/â€why Australiaâ€/â€why are you here, please leave my partyâ€ just kidding- I donâ€™t get that one because everyone is so thrilled to have an American at their party! While I can reference the site I used to find a family to nanny for/live with, (Aupairworld.com), there aren’t specific travel tips/tricks or advice that are tangible beyond the traveling philosophy, simply, of being happy. Of course, you canâ€™t get much out of life without a good attitude, whether that be sitting in a cubicle with snow on the ground outside or double bouncing Millie, Lizzie and Harry on the trampolineâ€¦(trying to crack three eggs against one is no easy task). I am by no means, â€œroughing it in the out-backâ€ but there isnâ€™t anything glamorous about traveling when youâ€™re not exactly â€œrolling in itâ€. Travel, in general, is about the mindset. I could voice my love for travel, which is in fact true. However, this does not embody what Iâ€™ve truly come to love in which is the aspect of the challenge of it all; if Iâ€™m not the most cliched writer you’ve ever read,let me know who/what youâ€™re reading.
I came here alone- and while I am lucky enough (now) to have metâ€œheapsâ€ amazing â€matesâ€ï¿½I didnâ€™t have the conveniences that Iâ€™ve grown accustomed to back home; the simplicity of friends of friends and shared love of conversation about Chipotle. It doesnâ€™t make it easier that I have THE most amazing friends from back home- the best of the best that make it difficult as theyâ€™ve set the standard unrealistically high- but not having anyone who justÂ knewÂ me without having to explain was hard. My brief stint on Tinder was shortly lived after realizing that it probably wasnâ€™t the brightest idea to seek friendship through a hook-up/dating applicationâ€¦who would have guessed?? I struck out plenty if times- trying to create conversations and prove my ability to speak is difficult in an unknown platform. I carried on and persevered as a loner for a bit because I figured that the odds of me finding someone that likes dogs/cuddles/Harry Potter and the Bourne series while low- had to eventually work in my favor at some point or another.
But, the biggest challenge for me has been having to deal with life- away from life. Experiencing the death of my grandmother and Rube would have been hard had I been at my dadâ€™s side or a world away; in which I felt I was. I knew when making the decision to live in Australia for a year, I would have to deal with hurdles from back homeâ€¦however I lack the words to depict how difficult it was to not be there for my dad; to be in the presence of family and friends who just knew. Because I didnâ€™t want to explain or talk- I just wanted to give a hug that was needed and receive a hug from someone that again, just knew. This is something that you donâ€™t deal with because it deals with you to an immeasurable extent- as I am unable to formulate a fraction of a sentence that can translate my feelings. Being on the other end of that silent phone line- feeling so helpless and small and significantly insignificant was rough and if there was a breaking point in my life- that was it. But I dealt with it. It taught me about compassion and family and love more than Iâ€™ve ever known. It also taught me about myself- which I never thought I would say- but its true. It made me a happier person as Iâ€™m able to thoroughly appreciate the here and the now and all the gooey mushies in between.
When I was studying abroad in Prague and traveling through Italy during my spring break, a Gypsie cut open my Long Champ purse, stealing my wallet- leaving me with my passport, phone and trembling bottom lip. A girl I was traveling with reiterated that I had the worst luck of anyone she knew/would book a ticket home if she were me/didnâ€™t know how I was okay/etc. made me realize just how lucky I was. Because I was safe, I was in ITALY where pizza and wine were just footsteps away- I had my phone, with all of my pictures, (which felt significantly more important than my passport at the time- but hey, I had that too!). I referenced Taken and remember feeling very lucky that Liam Neesan would be able to take a break for a week or two before releasing another hit film.
In summary, traveling isnâ€™t always easy. Things donâ€™t always go your way and sometimes gypsies donâ€™t realize that the $300 Euro you just took out at the ATM was actually intended for pizza/pasta/wine/pizza/wine. Â BUT its about appreciating every moment that you have because every moment is great. And weâ€™re lucky to have it. Since landing in Sydney, things havenâ€™t been handed to me- its been good, great, grand, WONDERFUL but the Instagrams in which I post donâ€™t always say, hey, I just got over the worst stomach flu of my life and my mom wasnâ€™t there to tell me Iâ€™d make it out alive. Its challenging but the only trick that will give you what your looking for is keeping your head up. The secret and the only tip thatâ€™s good enough to give: be happy; for what you have and for the shitty experiences you have that make you realize how good 5 minutes ago was and how good 5 minutes from now will be.