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.

liv

Coming Home

Uncategorized

It started 4 weeks ago, a constant voice of “book your flight” and truth be told I had no idea what date I would actually book when I sat down to finally plan my return to London. Originally I had thought early October, then end of September, but when it came down to it, I knew I just wanted to be home. This time next week I’ll be in England, curled up in my favourite chair with a strong tea, and that thought makes me feel beyond calm. 

I’ve spent the past two months on a farm packing apples in a house share of thirty girls. We have two toilets, one is outside, and two showers. It’s cramped at the best of times and whilst I’ve met some absolute angels here, I’ve also met people who have taught me things that I didn’t quite expect. I had something, two things, stolen. One being my silver bracelet with HOPE written on it and one a black viscose tshirt that I bought from a Market in Bangkok. Whilst neither item had any particular value, when you do not own a lot of things it seems like the end of the world because what on earth will I wear with X, Y, or Z without my black tee staple? But then it hit me. I did not need these material items, I just liked them. At first I struggled to understand how someone could take from somebody who literally has nothing, but I take comfort in knowing that whoever took them needed them more than I did. 

Today is my last working week, on Friday I’m heading the Melbourne, ironically my least favourite place in Australia for my last two days. I booked a nice hotel and I’m literally going to chill and bathe myself in deep heat because packing has not been kind to my health. I couldn’t even begin to write what a whirlwind my time in Australia has been. I came out here without a plan, I just knew I was desperately unhappy in England but I could never pin point quite why. My happiness was based purely on fashion and to me now, that is very sad when the world has so much more to offer. 

When I get home I assume I’ll be temping in London whilst I try to find my feet on the career ladder, but around that I’d like to volunteer at the hospice which cared for my Nana and I’d like to travel the UK and Ireland. I want to see Scotland and stay in an isolated cosy log cabin in the wilderness. And I’d like to see Tuam (Galway, Ireland) where my family is from. And I’d like to go to Wales and scream at the rugby after one too many beers. There are so many experiences and things that I want to do before I settle and get a house with a mortgage, and tiny humans that rely on me. 

I don’t know what will happen over the coming months. I don’t know if I’ll stay in Kent when I’ve learned how easy it is to pick up and move your life wherever you want it to be. I am a risk taker, and at the end of the day, that is how you grow. 

Monday: A Month of Farm Life

Australia 2017, Uncategorized

Just checking in to say that yes I am still alive, and yes I’m loving life again. I ended up in Brisbane desperate for a job, any job. I rung my mum in tears on the high street with the intention of flying home in two days because I’m literally unemployable out here. I told my friend Kim my plan and went to the reception of our hostel to extend my stay for a few more days before I was going to book my flight. The lady on reception was taking ages and I mean I was stood for over ten minutes whilst the person in front of me in the queue asked every question under the sun. Eventually I lost my patience and headed back up to our room where I had a missed call from Kim. After two weeks of looking for a decent hourly paid farm job we’d found one! The timing was honestly uncanny and in that moment I knew I had to stay. I’m a great believer in what’s meant for you will not pass you by, and it was the sign I needed to stay.

The next day we flew from Brisbane to Melbourne before getting on the three hour train to Shepparton. It has now been a month and already I know I have made memories and friendships that I’ll never forget. Suddenly everything just clicks and it feels good. I’m contracted out to a different packing shed to the main one with fixed hours so I actually know when I’m coming home now which is amazing. My plan at the moment is to finish, fly to Sydney and spend three days there before finally flying back to London and starting my life all over again. 

I’m scared about coming home, really really scared and it sounds so silly but I haven’t lived in Kent for nearly six years. My friends are all over the UK and now, well, the world. Whilst I know I’ll be fine, it’s still going to weird trying to make friends as an adult which is ridiculous because I’ve done it every single day I’ve been in Australia. I think the first thing I’ll do when I get home is boil the kettle, have a proper English tea in my favourite cup in my favourite chair with my favourite book. I’m weirdly excited about it and it’s so nice to finally have an end goal. Then reality will probably hit me as I scramble for a job, which is something I’ve also been thinking about a lot and what path I want to take. I know I want a job that matters and that helps people. I want to be a policewoman, and that’s bizarre for me to say out loud because I always thought girls should have girly jobs. I was always a strange kid, I wanted to be an astronaut so I could be the first girl on Mars, then I wanted to be a firefighter, to join the army and then fashion took over my life. 

I lost myself for a while in materialistic things, I loved that my salary allowed me to buy whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. I lost sight of what really matters in life. Living on a farm and dressing like absolute shite every day has taught me a lot about myself, including that you can go without showering for a lot longer than you thought possible and if it doesn’t smell you can definitely still wear it even on the fifth day. Packing fruit actually gives you so much time to think, like the work is easy but so repetitive that you just get lost in your thoughts. I’ve thought through so much and settled a lot of things in my mind.

I don’t know what will happen when I go home, but right now in the present moment, I’m the happiest I’ve been in a long, long time. 

Unemployment

Australia 2017

Hi there, I’m Liv and I am unemployed for the first time in a long, long time. Nothing is scarier than taking that first step towards exploring the world than giving up a well paid job, a stable home with house mates you actually like and a life where if you want to buy that sparkly new top you just can.

In two weeks time I am flying out to Sydney to begin an adventure of a life time, a total last minute decision to book a one-way ticket to the other side of the world after one particularly bad week in my life. I guess you could say I am impulsive, I am headstrong and incredibly stubborn.

In spite of it all, I feel liberated. You might be thinking I have some amazing plan of what I’m doing, places I want to visit and an endless list of things I would like to do – and I suppose my vague bucket list is better than nothing:

1. Get on a plane – I am terrified of heights and flying ever since my skydive when I was 18. A long haul flight is a huge deal for me.
2. Visit the cactus garden at Singapore airport during my layover  at Singapore airport for 1hr 35mins – My dad is convinced I won’t have enough time to see the cacti. Challenge accepted.
3. Meet a koala – Ever since my discovery that dropbears are actually a hoax to scare tourists (me), I’ve never been more excited to cuddle a friendly little koala.
4. Visit the Whitsundays – I have never seen such clear waters, I have always always wanted to go on holiday somewhere where you can actually see your feet beneath you in the water and not wonder if you’re swimming in someone’s faeces (Margate – I’m looking at you here).
5. Work on a farm in Adelaide. This one is a more reluctant addition to my list, but to score your second year visa you must spend a few months becoming one with nature (I could eye roll emoji for days).

And that’s it – that’s everything I would like to do on my travels which is not exactly a comprehensive list. Getting on the plane on my own will no doubt be the hardest thing for me and asides from that I’m planning on just going with the flow and hopefully meet people who have more solid plans than myself to tag along with.

liv