Blues: Life After Travel

Australia 2017, England

We’ve all heard about how hard it is to quit your job, book your plane ticket and get on your flight to some unknown adventure, but no one ever really tells you that it’s ten times harder to come back home. I’m 23 and I’m hopelessly lost.

Immediately after landing back in the UK I landed an admin job with a modest salary – certainly not on the level I was on before – and I felt bored at work for the first time in my life. No one spoke to me, no one made me feel welcome, and perhaps most crucially there was no phone signal on the business estate (which genuinely still baffles me because WHY?). After several missed calls and lining up 3 interviews in a row in buying, I had to quit.

Today marks 2 weeks of officially being unemployed which doesn’t sound like very long at all, but to me it feels like a lifetime. The first week was exciting, applying for all these wonderful jobs, listing some things on eBay to get some extra money, researching business ideas – I was fresh and ready to get my career back on track. The second week was last week when I actually had three days of interviews back-to-back, which I haven’t and to be honest, don’t expect to hear back from. I feel like two went really well, but one is super competitive, and the other was in an awful location which I just cannot imagine myself relocating to. I need to be 100% sure that whatever job I take is my “forever” job, and by that I mean my 3-year plan.

I feel like travelling was a massive self-sabotage on my part. I took a massive leap, which little did I realise was actually into career suicide. This time last year I had my dream job, I was earning good money, I lived with two of my best gal pals in a cute house in Reading. I could walk to work and easily save £600 p/m but still live it up every. single. weekend. Every day since I got back I’ve been checking for my old job to re-surface online, and it finally did. Last week, actually. I applied the same day in a state of excitement, before remembering how long the recruitment process took last time and whether I could possibly be patient enough to wait 5 months for a job that I might not even get the second time around.

The thing is this: Even if I did get my old job back, even if I did move back to Reading, I wouldn’t have my girls around me (two are in Australia, ironically). I wouldn’t have my lovely old team with my little desk and all my samples. I wouldn’t have my little box of filing that I just never had time to sort out. I wouldn’t have my glittery Minnie Mouse cup sparkling with every panicked sip. I miss the high-pressure and the fast paced aspect of my old job. I miss a garment coming in wrong and feeling like the world was ending a la Devil Wears Prada.

You cannot change the past and I think that’s something I need to remind myself of daily. All I can do is scramble at the fragments of my life and somehow attempt to rebuild the life I had made for myself. I don’t know what the next few months will bring and I would be lying if I said that didn’t terrify me. Some of my pals who are still living life upside down (in Australia) are keen to know how I’m getting on, but at the moment it’s safe to say: Not great.

Before I went away I didn’t think about what life would be like upon my return. If you are thinking of travelling I strongly urge you to evaluate your life right now and whether it’s the right choice for you. It is so easy to hand in your notice and get on a plane without a second thought, but it’s not so easy doing the opposite and trying to land your same job you fought so hard for in the first place.

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Real Talk: Feeling Lost at 23

Australia 2017, England, Thailand 2017

I’ve always been open and honest here on my blog, so I thought I would dedicate this post to something which has quite literally been ruining my week. On Monday I arrived home once again, ecstatic after a wonderful time at Reading Festival and Tuesday was equally as positive as I sat down and applied for jobs all day.

I received a message from a friend who is currently in Australia and cannot decide whether to come home or not. They wanted my input on what they should do and if I have any regrets, and honestly it made me start to question what on earth I was doing. I begun to feel really, really down in a way that I cannot describe as anything other than rock bottom.

Of course I know that I won’t remain unemployed forever, but it is incredibly daunting to know with great certainty that I cannot go back to my old house on the hill in Reading and my old office with my old co-workers, or spend my nights after a shit day curled up on the sofa with someone I genuinely cared for. I don’t know why but I had an image in my head that coming home would be the exact same as when I left, but it’s not, at all. It’s bizarre and unsettling to not know what way my life is going to go.

I’d like to live in Reading – it’s comfortable, I know my way around like the back of my hand and my friend Samii recently bought a house there. But then I question if I’d fall back into old habits, if I’d feel the exact same as what prompted me to make such a life altering decision to travel. Yes, feeling lost at 23 is hard. Do I regret travelling? No. Do I regret coming back to the UK? No. Do I regret giving up such a competitive career? A little.

But the thing is, if I had never of gone for it then I know I would still be sat at my desk wondering “what if” and now at 23, I am refreshed and ready. I didn’t have the money for a gap year at 18 and after university I went straight into the grind of a 9-5 (read 7-7, because that’s what my job was) – I knew I wanted to see the world, to travel independently and stand on my own two feet whilst I wasn’t tied into a mortgage, a partner or screaming children. From walking along the most pristine beaches, driving a 4WD on white sands, nearly falling out of the back of a van on Pai’s infamous twirling mountains and meeting friends who no doubt I’ll know for the rest of my life – I’ve had a great 8 months exploring the world and exploring myself, I would find it difficult to regret such a journey.

So how can I help myself? On Wednesday I sat down and figured out what was making me feel sad. I got rid of people and situations from my life that made me question my worth. I mapped out a plan of where I am and where I want to be, and whilst I am currently none-the-wiser, I have hope that one day I will be. After all, the only way is up.

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Life After Travel: A Week at Home

Australia 2017, England, Uncategorized

It seems like forever ago that I was sat on a cramped 25 hour flight in the storm of coming home. Still jet-lagged and bleary eyed, slapped with a rejection from the police because of residency regulations, I dragged myself to Reading festival in a last minute decision to meet up with my two pals from university that I hadn’t seen in years. It felt good to have a few days out to just access my life and stay in the limbo of not being an adult just quite yet.

Whilst I’ve discovered that maybe festivals are not for me, I did have a great time seeing some bands I loved when I was younger, namely You Me at Six and Breaking Benjamin. I camped for 4 whole nights which for a self-proclaimed princess is no mean feat. I realised a lot this weekend – namely that beer for breakfast is (sometimes) a great idea.

Today I’ve arrived back at home to Kent for the second time in one week and I think the end of travelling blues will hit me like a ton of bricks at any minute. Everyone screams about how great it is to travel and do all of these amazing things, but I think we also need to remember the lows which will follow. It’s impossible to not get a little down when your life goes from sunbathing under palm trees to sitting in front of a screen/ringing up agencies looking for the right career for you.

I feel like I had a picture in my head of how my life would pan out when I got home, and so far it is absolutely nowhere near what I had in mind. I’m not joining the police (and cannot apply for 3 years because I’m allegedly not a UK resident), he will never want me, I’m heaps chubbier now than I was in January, and all my friends are buying houses and getting engaged whilst I’m putting mini doughnuts on my fingers and cuddling my cats.

Til next time.

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