I’m writing this from the plane on a one way ticket to Bangkok, Thailand. It’s a nine hour flight so I have a feeling this may turn into a long one.
For some reason it doesn’t feel real yet that we’re actually doing this, and for some reason I’m a little apprehensive. The Sandy 12 months ago was completely fearless when it came to travel. Booking one way tickets and completely winging it in a new country came naturally to me, it was my comfort zone for years. No wonder this time last year I was so nervous to apply for a ‘real’ job, and signing a lease on an apartment seemed like the scariest thing ever (because why would I sign away my freedom like that?)
But something has shifted. Did having a base in between travels become the new comfort zone for me?
Geez I hope not. But the only way to change that thought is to break out of the comfort zone yet again and face those fears. Nothing excites me more than exploring new places and saying yes to adventures. So deep down I know that when we arrive in Thailand, after the initial culture shock, we’ll settle back into the nomad lifestyle where we left off 12 months ago. That addictive feeling of aliveness will be back again and I’m predicting that the travel bug will bite even harder this time.
So why did we choose to have a base in between travels for a year vs. continue galavanting across the globe like two kids with ultimate freedom and no responsibilities?
One of my favourite quotes is, ‘we travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us’ and I feel strongly connected to this philosophy. Will and I spent years travelling around having the time of our lives and creating unforgettable memories together.
However, there’s a tiny part to the story that may not be entirely true. I guess in a way we were in fact running away from our problems, though we were completely in denial of it at the time. The biggest issue we had kept coming up over and over again, but we just kept pushing it aside with force, pretending like it didn’t exist. And that was the fact that we couldn’t make long term plans for our future because having different nationalities meant visa restrictions.
Ideally we wanted to have the freedom to live and work in Australia together indefinitely. And to be able to leave the country to pursue travel dreams whenever we felt financially secure to do so, knowing that we could come back together whenever we chose to. But for Will to obtain a permanent partner visa for Australia was not a simple walk in the park. Besides the enormous pile of paperwork that takes months to get through, it would financially set us back thousands of dollars. And that we did not have time or money for.
We found ourselves in a situation where Will’s Australian Working Holiday Visa had expired and the only way we could stay together was to literally run away together. Oh the crazy things we do for true love. “Let’s go have fun and see the world together. Everything will work itself out.” Naivety can be a wonderful thing. What you don’t know doesn’t hurt you, right?
Something we’ve learned the hard way is that goals don’t just achieve themselves. When you don’t take action, nothing happens. In fact, your biggest problems can get a whole lot worse very quickly when swept under the rug.
A couple of wonderful years later we had driven ourselves into a make or break situation. Enough was enough. We had been subconsciously running away from our problems for far too long! Things got pretty messy, and it was a massive wake up call to sort our lives out, if this relationship was going to work. We had to do something and face our fears head on, knowing very well how painful the next few months were to become. I’ll spare all the details, but long story short after a super stressful visa application process, an intense long-distance relationship, months of waiting abroad and a $10,000 debt, Will’s Australian Permanent Partner Visa finally got accepted!!!
That was just over year ago. And oh how far have we’ve come since then.
For the first time we had complete freedom to both work in a country with great wages, amazing lifestyle and no visa restrictions. Our intentions for the year to come were to enjoy the perks of having a base, routine, and financial security in between shorter trips around the country. To get out of debt and actually have some savings for once. And to have the time to focus on gaining work experience in industries we were interested in rather than bouncing around from one temporary backpacker job to another to keep ourselves on the road.
Will landed himself a respected role as a marketing executive for the Marriott Vacation Club, and everything was great!
But this brings me back to the Sandy that was so anxious about applying for a ‘real’ job. Being a ‘traveller’ became part of my identity, and I really struggled to overcome that for a while. So I did some work on myself and dug deep into what I really wanted. I ended up attracting the best of both worlds, and landed myself what I thought was my dream job as a travel agent.
I learned so much about the industry and went on a number of epic trips around Australia as part of the perks of the job, including Fraser Island, The Whitsundays, a surf camp in NSW, and my favourite; a 10 day camping trip throughout The Northern Territory, to name a few. I had an amazing overall experience but was very surprised to learn quite quickly that the travel agent job itself was not what I had anticipated.
This for me was so valuable. Making the time to pursue work that I thought was my thing, only to discover that it definitely wasn’t, was such a relief! Can you imagine if I had continued travelling with no direction other than the thought that ‘when I’m ready to settle down I’ll get myself a job at a travel agency and eventually open up my own travel company.’ That was honestly what I’d say when people would as me what I think I’ll do if I ever stop travelling. Without committing to having a base in between travels I would never have discovered this about myself. This huge learning curve taught me another valuable life lesson; that it is okay to change your mind, again and again. Learning about things you don’t want brings you closer to discovering what you do want out of life.
So for me it was back to the drawing board. And I decided that my next ‘working life’ challenge would be getting my foot in the door into the hotel industry, because once you’re in you can get a job anywhere in the world! I believe that you’re completely responsible for attracting everything that’s in your reality (good and bad) and so of course the law of attraction worked in my favour again. Watch this to learn how to attract anything you want into your life.
I’d literally applied for hundreds of hotel reception jobs in the past but never got a response. But I was never in the right frame of mind when applying. However this time, without a word of a lie within 5 minutes of applying for a Guest Services Agent role at Rhapsody Resort I got a phone call inviting me in for an interview. It went well (obviously) and what was even more unbelievable was that the same week Will and I signed a lease to move in to our very own apartment that happened to be just across the road from my new job! And across the road from Will’s work too. It was really meant to be.
During my time at Rhapsody I gained all the experience I aimed for, had a lot of good times with good vibin’ people, and achieved all the financial goals I set out to achieve. As did Will. Having a steady income allowed us to get out of debt, buy a car, afford to rent our own apartment, and finally get our travel fund up to an acceptable level. We hosted Will’s mum and step dad on their first ever trip to Australia, took a trip to Sydney, had regular weekend getaways to Byron Bay, Noosa, Brisbane, and staycations on the Gold Coast, we spent Christmas with my family in Melbourne, and we even got engaged!
All this in 12 months. And it came down to having goals. Writing them out every month, reassessing every week, and working towards them every single day.
I write reflections for personal reasons, but I share them not to impress, but to inspire. Because if you take one step towards your goals and desires every day, then in one year you will be 365 steps closer to achieving them. And looking back, all those steps add up.
So ANYWAY…if you’re still reading you’re probably wondering what the point of the story is right? THE BIGGER PICTURE?
Well we had to do what we had to do. It was either keep running away from our problems, or solve them. We didn’t come back to Australia to work at a job for the rest of our lives. We came back because we had goals, and now we’ve achieved them. So once again, it’s time to focus on our passions. You know the things you do when you’re not at your day job, the things that excite you more than anything, the reason you go to your day job in the first place; to earn the money you need to do the things that you ACTUALLY want to do in life.
For me right now that’s travelling the world, learning about different cultures and how other humans live their lives, sharing stories through photos, videos and creative writing; even if no-one reads it. That’s what lights up my soul right now at this very moment. And that’s why we’re off on a new adventure again, this time through parts of South East Asia that we’ve never been to before. This time we are one year older, wiser, more mature, and have one more year of life experience. We are closing this chapter and opening a completely new one. It’s going to be fun, we’re going to grow even more, and we’re going to make the most of it!
Until we change our minds again and that thing called intuition guides us to the next part of the story…
Can you relate to any of this? Leave us a comment below…
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