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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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. 

Thoughts on Thursday

Australia 2017, Thoughts on Thursday

Honestly the thing I dislike the most about travelling is the loneliness that surrounds you. I’ve found myself silently crying into dirty hostel pillows, crying as I walk home, crying just about everywhere – because being half way across the world from people you love only intensifies that feeling of isolation. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about people I really shouldn’t miss, people who made me feel like I was an option and not a choice. I am enough and I have always been enough, but for some (most) I am too much. I’m head strong, stubborn as hell and always want to get my own way. Yes, I’m that girl.

Knowing that a lot of people in the U.K. are just waiting for me to admit that I can’t cope with staying out here a year only encourages me to stay and to push myself beyond the realms of what I once thought was possible. The thought of going home, back to the routine I had makes me feel sick. I remember the breaking point for me, wanting you and only you – walking to work in the rain in tears the next day like a scene from a melodramatic teen movie – before attending my last ‘important’ meeting and being patronised over how great I was at cutting out paper stars like I was a child in my first year of primary school. The next day I handed in my notice, I found a replacement housemate and I fled.

It is so incredibly easy to idolise the life you had at home when you’re on the road, especially when you find yourself in situations that often make you uncomfortable or a little less than glamorous. However it’s important to remember your drive; the spark that lit the fire inside you to risk it all and throw yourself into the wind. Homesickness is honestly inevitable, it’s how you handle it which really matters. I haven’t been the best example of this, complaining about missing X, Y or Z whilst on a beautiful beach in surreal surroundings. Here’s to coping better with the distance and letting go of things not meant for me.

Also I can finally announce what I’ve been keeping a secret for months (and months and months AND months) – my best friend is joining me in Thailand before flying back with me to Melbourne, where we hope to find work, a houseshare and all those little things that make a city feel like home. I am super excited to have someone to share this journey with, and as I always knew she’d be joining me, it made my down days a little less dark. The sun is rising.

With glittering eyes and a heart full of love, I will overcome.