On the Road Again
On the Road Again
Tomorrow we say farewell to the country that has been our home for nearly a year. It’s a very bittersweet goodbye to Australia. On one hand we recognize that its time to move on to new challenges and adventures, but on the other hand there are lots of factors that make it so easy to want to stay here.
When we originally arrived in this part of the world we certainly didn’t think we’d spend a full year here, but as has been the case with other plans we’ve made in the past, things changed. Our time here has been incredible and one that I know I will look back upon warmly as being truly transformative.
After a year of eagerly exploring nearly every country in Asia, followed by some awesome housesitting in New Zealand and South Australia, I recognized that I really needed to slow down, reflect, spend some time nurturing interests and have a little routine with a nest to call home for a little while and we found it in Melbourne.
Life in Melbourne
Melbourne is… wow, I don’t even know where to start. I’ve never lived in a city quite like it and it certainly took a hold on me. Imagine a place that puts a heavy emphasis on leisure time (made possible by really solid living wages), where you can explore any possible interest, open your mind to different lifestyles, connect with the most wonderfully fun and progressive locals & travellers, walk everywhere and drink copious amounts of ridiculously incredible coffee. It’s really easy to see why Melbourne is consistently rated one of the top places to live in the world.
Flinders Street Melbourne during the White Night Festival
Things were a little different ‘settling down’ this go around. We wanted to save some money, but it was going to be on our terms. Having fun was the overriding priority. I was resolved to find work that kept me out of the office and had minimal responsibility. I found it in charity fundraising. I could go on for ages about the crazy cool experiences I had, but suffice to say the wondrously legendary human beings I met doing it are what will be forever imprinted upon my heart.
We learned a lot in our seven months. It was a humbling and it re-emphasized our priorities. We both worked entry level jobs where our previous professional experience did not even register. My boss, who I love to death, was a full decade younger than me. We lived in a studio apartment half the size of our old living room. Ross took public transit an hour and half to work each way every single day. We came here with the keen awareness that it was temporary and that anything we accumulated we have to be disposed of eventually. So all of our clothes and home fittings came from op shops.
It was so simple and so much fun.
The value of money weighed heavily in the back of our minds. A $20 meal was equivalent to an hour of hard work and equivalent to the daily budget for one of us in Southeast Asia. This has become the really practical approach we now base our day-to-day lives; one from which we were once so far removed.
Life’s funny. Anything can become routine. And while we adored Melbourne and saying good bye to all of our phenomenal friends was gut-wrenchingly difficult, we recognized the need to shake things up again. Life is easy to love and settle into in Australia. It’s a strange parallel universe to Canada, so similar in so many ways but its geographic isolation also seems to make it a peculiar little bubble.
I had struggled readjusting to life back in the Western world when we arrived in New Zealand a year ago but it’s amazing how quickly you get swept back into a predictable routine and preoccupied with first world problems.
Perhaps the single most powerful aspect of travel is how it forces you to live in the moment.
Nothing can ever compare to arriving in an exotic new place and having to make your way for the first time. You learn so much about yourself; its not always pretty but it is undeniably refreshing.
Where to Next?
Embarking upon the next adventure doesn’t have the same unbridled thrill factor of the first time. And I don’t mean to sound trite in saying that. We keenly recognize the phenomenally fortunate position we’re in. But last time we left there was far more push to get on the plane and do something completely different. We fulfilled our original dream of shedding our former lifestyles and assumptions for a life of nomadic adventure. This time, there are definitely a few more pulls to stick around; we’ve enjoyed a seriously wonderful lifestyle here filled with beautiful people. I’d also be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous about getting back into the backpacking pace & the reality of pretty unglamorous travel. We’ve gotten pretty comfortable and I’ve nearly forgotten what life was like without hot showers and flushing toilets.
There’s also an itch find some new venture to dig our teeth into, whether that be a new business venture or philanthropic cause. But for now its time to shake things up and continue expanding our minds while we’re already on the other side of the world.
Thirsty for something completely different, our next leg will aim to make it to the foreign lands we originally planned to visit before we fell in love with Asia. First stop, soaking up the visual feast of Morocco, then exploring ancient ruins in Turkey, animal adventures in East Africa and then off to the sensory overload of India and the Himalayas.
But if you’ve followed our adventures to date you’ll know not to quote me on that!
Getting rid of our stuff round two!
And After That?
Our lives are so good, no getting around it. I love that we are completely open to all possibilities, but sometimes the seemingly endless options can be a little overwhelming. So with that said, after a very homesick Christmas (despite the heartwarming hospitality of our Australian family) this year we’ve made the decision that we will definitely be home for Christmas 2015.
I can say with certainty that we’re not going back to the place where our lives felt like they were planned five years in advance, it’s really nice to have some certainty in the coming calendar and a date that makes our hearts burst with eager anticipation of being reunited with our loved ones. Beyond that is anyone’s guess but we hear there are some pretty rad working holiday visas for Canadians in Costa Rica & the Czech Republic…
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