Face-planting paradise: 5 ways to NOT suck at life (and kiting)

Face-planting paradise: 5 ways to NOT suck at life (and kiting)

Face-planting paradise (1)

Suffice it to say, I am not gifted with athletic prowess and natural sporting ability. Nor am I gifted with patience.

I learn new sports slowly, with great difficulty, carrying within me an enduring frustration that I am not as good as everyone else. I am perpetually angry at my shortcomings, cursed with an unfortunate compulsion to crack the shits and throw all my toys out the pram because… I. JUST. CAN’T. DO. IT.

Which is unfortunate, because one of my challenges this year has been learning to kite surf, many thanks to Zephyr Kite Tours over on magical Cocos Islands, where I was lucky enough to do live for almost three months and do some of my second year visa work.

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And kiting on Cocos has broken me.

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Mentally and physically- face-plant after face-plant, tangled lines after tangled lines, walk of shame after walk of shame- broken me.

kiting on cocos

So I’m going to have a rant; because if there is one thing I’m actually good at, in all my British glory, it’s having a good old fashioned moan.

But it’s a rant with a positive spin (which is something, given my epic struggles, manifesting themselves in an insatiable desire to go ‘full retard’ and hack up my kite with a kitchen knife), because face-plants and tantrums aside, I am learning some valuable lessons.

And I wanted to share them here, to inspire anyone else that is one tantrum away from giving up on something.

These lessons are borne of my kite surfing woes, but in reality, they are universally applicable…

kiting on cocos

 

1) Quit worrying what you look like

Who are these women that rock at everything and look like they stepped out of a Nike advert? They depress me.

Yes Claire I’m looking at you.

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I have the sex appeal of  a dinner plate when I try to do sport. The allure of a mentally retarded pet- kept around for amusement and loveable pats on the head, but not really taken seriously.

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When I attempt to kite, one of my tiny fluorescent boobs typically pops out to grace the world with its snowy presence.

Or my neon white ass might blind everyone.

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Such are the joys of stacking it spectacularly, and I’m sure the whole world has a good old chuckle at seeing my Asian tits squashed into white nothingness between my harness and my bikini top, like two little melting snowmen wearing pink hats.

And why does my face always go so red? I constantly look two breaths away from a heart attack, no matter how fit I am.

By all accounts, I am nothing but a tubby little nugget of uncoordinated angry persistence; red faced, sausage-armed, perpetually wedgied, swearing, with my drowned-rat hair catching in my tight-set mouth as I grimace into the sun and swallow back tears of frustration.

kiting on cocos

So form an orderly line, boys. And hey, can someone get some flattering photos of me kiting in paradise?

But that’s not why I’m here, and it pays to remember it. It pays to remember that I am so much more than my Facebook page, and I am so much more than a blonde girl in a bikini. Forget it all, it’s all nonsense.

I will expose myself countless times with countless bikini mishaps, and my gut will flop out, my face will go red, my rat-like hair will stick to my snotty nose, and I will be a drowned little mess of frustration.

But you know what? It just means I’m trying hard. It means I’m working. It means I’m putting in the effort. And it means I’m real.

So I will embrace it.

I want to be the girl that dares to get messy chasing what she wants.

I want to be the girl that puts her goals before her appearance.

Just like life; I am not here to be pretty, and I am not here to get nice Facebook pictures. I am here to give 110%. 

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So I will wear my snot and my tangled hair with pride, and I would encourage you to do the same. Such things are badges of honour, the hallmark of those who work hard.

 

2) Quit comparing yourself to others (except to learn from them)

Who are these infuriating men that master sports instantly? (and lets be real here, its usually men). That try something once and just ‘get it’? My ex was like that and it drove me insane with jealousy. I hope they are all cursed with tiny penises. You can’t have it all. But I bet they do.

I, on the other hand, am clumsy and uncoordinated; about as graceful as a hippo in a g-string, and about as synchronized as a fat, drunk, ageing white man dancing to reggae.

I try. Oh, how I try; but it just doesn’t seem to make a difference- I lack the ‘sport’ gene.

So I’m bitter. Are you one of those annoying people that is just naturally good at everything?

Or, like me, are you enduringly rubbish? Consistently useless? Infinitely incapable? Do you have to put in ten times the hours, and ten times the effort, to even come close to average? Well, I feel your pain.

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But here’s the thing… everyone is different. Everyone is fighting their own battles, and dealing with their own strengths and weaknesses. Everyone excels at different things and at different rates. So we should be very selective who we benchmark ourselves against. It is so easy to get demoralised when we see those around us excel a lot more quickly, but this actually does us no favours whatsoever.

Comparison is the thief of joy

What IS useful, however, is to constructively compare ourselves to others in a very specific way. And it does need to be specific, otherwise it quickly descends into the realms of  ‘everyone else can do it and I’m sh*t and giving up’- which obviously gets you no where.

What I sometimes do when I’m at my wits end is just sit on the beach and watch everyone. See how they stand, their position, how they move the kite, where they put their weight, the way they lean back. I compare it to where I am going wrong, and it can be very helpful.

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In essence, I try to learn from their success in focused ways, instead of being selfishly demoralised by it. Even if it is just one small thing, it can prove invaluable- watching their kite movements is probably the reason I ended up FINALLY staying on the board.

 

3) Quit expecting things to be so damn easy, you cocky mother

I have the tendency to rush into things believing I can do anything. All hail wonder woman, she who can compete with anyone… am I right?

Don’t get me wrong, self belief is very important. Really and truly, if you don’t believe in yourself and make things happen for yourself, no one else will.

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But it does pay to remember that things are not going to be a walk in the park all the time. Things can be hard. And it pays not to be cocky and expect that you can just breeze in and be a superhero. It pays to leave your arrogance and self importance at the door.

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I remember when I arrived on Cocos, and made friends with the kiters, and watched them nip across the ocean and do all manner of awesome tricks… and I remember thinking, cool, lets go! If they can do it and make it look so easy, why can’t I?

Hmmm.

This (often warped) logic is one of the reasons I continue to propel myself around the world and take on random challenges. It’s the reason I first did a ski season, and boy I’ll never forget THAT learning curve. Standing up a mountain, in a blizzard, balling my bloody eyes out because I couldn’t ski, I’d just been run over by a chair lift, had a very public and very hysterical shit-fit of astronomical proportions,  and THEN nearly had my arms broken and dropped my poles into nothingness when I eventually did manage to get on the thing. I had to call my manager and, in between turrets-like outbursts coloured with hysteria, explain that I ‘couldn’t do it’, I was ‘just an effing retard’ and I was ‘going home’.

He had to come rescue me. Cringe. (But not nearly as cringe as the time I had to call my OTHER manager and explain that I had just woken up somewhere unknown in resort, I had no idea where I was, and so would most likely be late for work. Late, and still drunk, and in last nights clothes. Yes, these were classy days.)

ANYWAY. Obviously my mad-woman hysteria gave way to gritty determination, and I ended up not just smashing it, but going back for another ski season the following year. Now, I freaking adore it. But it really was six long weeks of daily tears and tantrums and awkwardness before I learnt to ski. And kiting has absolutely been the same.

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Its very humbling, and ultimately an important life lesson, to realise you are not the dogs bollocks.

That you are not automatically awesome.

Greatness (or, in my case, just mediocrity) must be earnt with hours, and sweat and yes, often tears; and the sooner you realise this, the more receptive you become to the learning process.

Because the truth is that kiting is HARD. It is an immensely technical sport, comprising three elements that need delicate understanding and attention: kite, wind, board.

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I am not delicate. And I am not technical. And I learnt this the slow hard way, because typical me I charged in like a bull in a china shop expecting to be awesome and then cracked the shits when I wasn’t.

The moral? Less rainbow unicorns, more tehcnicnal details.

 

4) Never go full retard

When I lose my shit because I can’t do something, I literally go full retard. I’m sure it is utterly hilarious.

And we all know- indeed, it is one of life’s great learnings- that you should never go full retard.

Especially not publicly. Especially not in a paradise lagoon with unfavourably accomplished acoustics, and an excellent view from the beach.

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And certainly, especially, not on a tiny island where you know everyone, and very little of any real excitement takes place. It just might happen (and yes, I talk from experience), that you throwing every single toy out the pram (I’m talking hitting the water, screaming, shouting, crying… like, an astronomically embarrassing shit fit) and sulking for two hours on the beach as you try to untangle 25 meters of frustration, is the most amusing thing to happen that day.

I’m sorry, kiting just made me see red. In an unparalleled way. Nothing has ever frustrated me so much, and eventually I would reach the point where there was absolutely zero progression, simply because I was too angry and too upset and too exhausted by failure to be learning or improving in any way.

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The trick is to never let it get to that point. But I’m utterly useless at discerning when that point is.

I would keep on, and keep on, and keep on. Sobbing like the loser I am, I would re-launch, and re-try. The anger bubbling away beneath my skin, I would angrily jerk the kite around, and obviously face-plant once again. Physically battered and exhausted, I would try to get on the board time after time. I refused to give in… but I was so angry and wound up that my endeavours actually did more harm than good.

At this point, the point when you are a slave to your emotions and all calm, rational behaviour has LONG GONE, it is time to stop. If you can’t reign your emotions in and calm the hell down, then for goodness sake go home. It is time to take a shower, grab a beer, and laugh at yourself. Not cry into the ocean at how much of a failure you are (who me? never…).

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Obviously it is important in life to never give up when you want something, but we also need to realise when it is time to rest. When we are flogging a dead horse and achieving nothing accept detriment. At this point, there is absolutely no shame in calling it a day, for now. It does not make you weak, or a quitter, or a failure… it makes you smart.

So taking a freaking break already. Stop punishing yourself. Tomorrow you will re-attack again, but it will be with a clear head and following a good nights sleep. And who knows, maybe tomorrow will be the day?

And if you can’t take a break, then at least learn to laugh…

at this spectacular faceplant

 

5) Grow a pair… and never give up!

For six weeks I busted my proverbials and saw no gain, just spectacular face-plant, after face-plant, after face-plant.

I tired.

I felt like an idiot; nothing more than a soggy punch line, a watery joke playing out in repetitive salty splendour in the crystal clear waters of utopian Cocos.

If you haven’t tried kiting before, I will tell you now it is psychically very intense. At least, when you first begin it is, because you constantly have to lug your board, kite, bar and harness back up the beach. And this stuff is heavy / awkward. I’m not very big or (contrary to what I like to believe and brag endlessly about) very strong.

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Pulling a kite against the wind, as you wade through water, is back breaking. I consider myself relatively fit and active, but honestly doing this for a few hours killed me.

As you can see in this video

I did this walk of shame for six long weeks as everyone else around me progressed. Lugging my kite and my (usually tangled) lines behind me, back to the upwind starting point, so I could begin the whole pointless crusade of trying to stand on the bloody board once again.

You spend half an hour pulling this kite up the beach, then ten minutes you’re back downwind; demoralised, frustrated, and exhausted, and the tug of war begins afresh. Thats if you dont spend an hour untangling your lines because you had a temper tantrum in them, first.

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I know… WAH WAH WAH.

Despite cheesy pep-talks running on a loop in my head (does anyone else do this?), I was ready to give up, oh so ready.

And that pissed me off. I despise failure. Perhaps, I would go so far as to say, it is my greatest fear.

So because the thought of quitting made my insides recoil in self-disgust (no matter how many times I whinged about giving up to those around me), I had one last sunrise attempt the day I was due to fly out.

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And guess what? Something just… clicked. Hours before my flight, when I had basically accepted my status as chubby little nugget of uncoordinated MESS… I got it. FREAKING YAY!

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I’m not saying I can kite now. Ha. Far bloody from it. But I can stand up, and I can stay up (sort of). And for me, this is a huge step.

I suppose my point here is that it doesn’t actually matter what motivates you, so long as you never give up. Indeed, one of my favourite quotes is ‘we are motivated by our fears more than our desires‘.

It is so true, don’t you think? It’s not so much that I want to be an epic kiter (but oh, wouldn’t that be hot?), its more that I don’t want to admit failure. Bitch got pride, yo.

So take that which inspires or motivates or pushes you, and run with it. Dig in your heals, refuse to quit, and never ever give up. As Robin Hood once (apparently) said… Rise and rise again, till lambs become lions.

kiting on cocos

When wanderlust’ers don’t know where to wander

When wanderlust’ers don’t know where to wander

where next?

I’m the little blonde scruff with brown skin and bare feet and a shell tied round her neck, sleeping alone on the airport floor. I wear mosquito bites instead of make-up. My only brand is necessity. I’m clad in the veritable armour of K-Mart’s cheapest sleeping bag, with a bright yellow minion hat on my head, and a tatty backpack by my side. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow. Or the next day. Or any day.

This is my life, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

wanderlust

 

A wanderlust update

Three days ago I left a paradise island in the Indian Ocean. I had been living there for two and a half months to finish my working holiday visa extension work; and to tend bar, to learn to kite surf, to get very brown, and to have a million heady adventures atop crystal clear waters and palm fringed beaches.

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I have some stories to tell you (some will not be repeated), and I will post them very soon. Paradise was not conducive to being chained to my laptop, despite my best intentions, and, as per, I have much catch up to do.

Now, however, after three days back in Perth, I of course find myself thousands of kilometres across the country, curled up in a sleeping bag possessing similar qualities to tissue paper, on the floor, at Adelaide airport.

Surprise! Would you expect any less?

An absolute YOLO moment.

I feel alive with recklessness; despite being told several times that I would have to sleep outside (like, literally, outside) because the airport ‘closes’ at night.

I laughed.

Like, I thought they were joking. What airport ‘closes’ at night?! When you have an eight hour connection?

And then I did what any rational person would do.

I completely ignored them and ran away.

I hid.

I snuck off like (what I thought was) a ninja, and found (what I thought was) a good spot to avoid security.

Which worked for approximately 12.5 minutes.

Then they found me.

It probably doesn’t help matters that I’m wearing a bright yellow minion hat (it’s a bloody awesome hat though).

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Then I put on my biggest smile, my twinkliest eyes, and begged not to be turfed out into the cold like a hobo.

Luckily the manager (male, obvs) has bent the rules and permitted me to stay indoors, provided I ‘do not move from this spot’. Yes sir. Anything but the cold concrete of an Adelaide night. And no plug socket for my laptop. What’s a girl with word vomit to do, with a dead laptop and 8 hours to kill?

The only difficulty is that I’m ridiculously hungry, like I-might-actually-eat-my-boarding-pass hungry, and I’m sat next to a coffee shop that has neglected to lock their beautiful sandwiches and delicious looking wraps away. It’s a form of torture. They are lit up like Christmas and hellishly enticing.

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Cake is waving at me. I’m pretty sure a chocolate chip cookie just winked.

Anyway, for some absurd reason (it involves a bloke, I’m not gunna lie) I am flying to Sydney for a week of spontaneity. I have very little money and more than enough life admin, and friends, and long overdue blogging, to keep me occupied in Perth; yet here I am. I can’t resist a trip down the rabbit hole of adventure. Wanderlust.

I will return to Perth in a week, a mere few hours before my brother lands from the UK (let’s hope my flight isn’t delayed hey!). I am so utterly excited to see my brother, the first family member I will clap eyes on in ten months. I cannot wait to show off my current home to him, and show him the reasons I am so in love with this country.

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Australia feels like home

 

So that’s the latest- kiting in a tropical paradise, briefly partying till sunrise in Perth, now hiding out in Adelaide airport in a minion hat, then a week of YOLO’ing in Sydney with a fella I met on an island, then Perth with my bro (including a wicked camping trip down the South West and so many awesome activities). Phew.

After that… I will have about six weeks left on my Australian visa. And nothing left in my bank account.

I cannot believe it.

What next?

What indeed. That is the question of the moment. That is the question of my life.

And now I have updated you on the current situation, we can get down to what REALLY excites me: the unknown.

Read on for a more elaborate foray into the motivations and complexities of a wanderluster who doesn’t know where to wander…

 

Wanderlust life should be a page turner

Some people are scared of flying. Not me. If you want to really see me come alive, you need to sit next to me on a plane.

Do you know what I feel when a plane takes off and I’m on it? Exhilaration.

Pure, unfiltered, unrelenting, intoxicating… exhilaration. Serotonin just explodes all over the show.

It must be written on my face plain as day- wide eyes, an enormous smile, a cheeky expression of intrigue. I usually travel alone, and for this reason I’m glad. This is my moment.

What is next? What will happen? Who will I meet? Where will life take me? What adventure will I find? These questions rise up inside me. The unknown is kissing my curiosity, and it feels euphoric.

I felt this when I left the Cocos Islands three days ago.

I felt sad to be leaving somewhere so beautiful and I felt sad to be saying goodbye to all the wonderful people I met. I felt sad that I would have to start wearing a bra and shoes and maybe even mascara again, and that I couldn’t just pad around among the palm trees in my bikini anymore, smashing open coconuts with a menacing machete and chasing giant land crabs…

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A`menace with a machete

 

Cocos, really, was a dream; and it changed me for the better (and I don’t just mean getting ridiculously brown and blonde). It mellowed me. It freed me. It hippied me. It challenged me. It changed me. The ocean claimed me once and for all. I was sad to leave.

And yet….

And yet, as always when I finish a chapter, excitement is the dominant emotion. Each goodbye signals a new hello. Each end signals a new beginning. Each triumph signals the need for fresh challenges. Every closing, is simply the blank canvas of life staring us in the face.

I get this same feeling whenever I leave it all behind and branch out again. My life is a tangent. A beautiful tangent, down an unmapped road. It is freedom. I feel it in the deepest recesses of my soul, and it manifests itself with fully physical, real, sensations.

I feel it first in the pit of my stomach as the engines start to churn, a bubbling excitement. The hairs on my neck stand on end. My pulse quickens as we gather speed down the runway. My eyes moisten. We’re up! Adrenaline courses through my veins and powerful emotion floods every receptor. I sit there and grin out the window like a lunatic, fidgeting like an ADHD child.

It’s just you again, Mel

I tell myself with satisfaction… and my freedom soars alongside the clouds as the plane pushes up into the unknown.

I draw up my knees, I sit back into freedom’s suggestive embrace, and I continue to Cheshire-cat out the window at the retreating paradise beneath me, like the absolute weirdo that I probably am.

I’m about to start the next instalment of my adventure, and I’m clawing at the pages of my life to turn to the next chapter.

What, indeed, is next?

I have absolutely no idea. Anything. Anything is next. And I surrender myself totally to that sensation, because it is the hallmark of my life, it is my drug, and it is an unparalleled feeling.

 

Two months left on my visa, how to use them?

So here are my options, and these next few weeks will be about soul searching. Staring out across my beloved Indian Ocean at sunrise and sunset and dreaming of what’s next. Considering what I want.

And what do I want? I haven’t the foggiest; my life is an absolute triumph of indecision and experimentation. And oh, I adore it…

 

Option 1) Stay in Perth

This one is kind of a no-brainer. I have an awesome house share with the best girls, five minutes from uber trendy Scarborough.

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My Perth family

 

I have a WA registered 4wd filled with camping gear and kite gear. I can find work easily. I have many friends. And now, thanks to my time on Cocos, I have many new friends from the kite scene whom I cannot wait to hang out with. The kite season is just about to start, and I could continue my new hobby with all the great people I met there. Extreme sport, new friends, house parties, beach, bbq’s…. And did I mention summer is just around the corner and I live 5 minutes from the best (in my opinion) beach in Perth?

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Scarborough beach, my local

 

In short, I have a good life in Perth and I adore it. Perth- the most isolated city in the world and all the better for it- will always have my heart as the first place I have chosen, really chosen, as my adult home.

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dancing till sunrise in Perth

 

The sentiments I feel flying back into Perth from my myriad adventures across Australia far exceed the warm and fuzzy’s I have ever (never) felt flying back into London. Descending into the damp greyness of Heathrow. Yuck. There is just no comparison.

People ask me,

So, where is home?

and I say with pride,

Right now, Perth

…. Followed guiltily by a mumble,

but, you know, originally England.

I’m not alone. Perth is crawling with Poms. The ones that got away, the ones that chose the good life. And it is just such a GOOD LIFE.

So… what’s making me hesitate? Option 2.

 

Option 2) Head East for a new adventure

I have this ‘problem’ that is the hallmark of my life. It’s an obsession that has propelled me around the world for 3.5 years, with no end in sight.

It’s the travel itch.

Two months seems to be my limit with any place I settle, and then I cease to function at my usual highly motivated level. I get restless, I get fidgety, I dream of new horizons and I start to live only in the future. What else is out there? What haven’t I tried yet? When can I start moving again? What plans can I dream about? What new reality can I construct for myself?

On Cocos my friends used the term FOMO. Fear Of Missing Out. It’s a powerful motivator. In bed and everyone is at the bar? FOMO will get you out. Tired and don’t want to go to the beach with everyone? FOMO will make you go. A crowd over there? FOMO means you gotta check it out. You get the drift.

Well I am cursed with travel FOMO. I really really love Perth and my life there, but I can’t contain my curiosity and stop wondering what else is out there? What if I’m missing out on fabulous adventures in Melbourne or Sydney? What if I’ve gotten everything I can out of Perth, and it’s time to strike out again, driven by travel FOMO and relentless curiosity?

So it is entirely tempting to spend my last six weeks over East, because I was going to head there on a tourist visa come December anyway.

Which naturally gives me a further two options…

 

Option 3) Drive across the Nullarboor

My brother is coming out to visit me in Australia next week. He will spend two weeks in Perth (I have big plans, I cannot wait  to show off my beloved Perth to him, and take him on a true Aussie camping trip down the South West) and then he will fly over East and spend a few weeks in Melbourne and Sydney.

On our camping trip we will visit Esperance. Esperance is tantalisingly close to the road that leads East, across the heart of Australia, the ultimate road trip across the Nullarboor. We could get to Melbourne in three days. Oh, it is so tempting to get in my car and just go, and show my brother the REAL Australia on the way. Two more Gumtree randoms and we’re all set. And then who knows; I find a house and a job and I start over in a new city.

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A good old Aussie road trip

But oh, I love a good road trip. And I would love to drive across Australia again.

 

Option 4) Sell my car and fly instead

This may not sound like a big deal, but I LOVE my car. And I love all the junk that’s now contained within it. I love the freedom, the independence. I love the thousands of kilometres we have covered together. That 4wd symbolises so much to me.

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Freedom of the open road

 

And… I’m not even sure all my stuff would fit on a plane. I’m not even sure I want it to. Do I really want to be a backpacker again and start lugging all my crap around? Not really. I’m past that. I’m a different type of traveller now.

However, if I take the car over East with me, with WA plates, I’m going to have a hard time selling the beast. It’s a bit of a ball ache for someone to change the rego. A further factor is that a 4wd will undoubtedly sell better in WA- rugged, wild, off-roady WA. Who wants a 4wd in a city like Sydney? Not only that, but it will sell for more in the west. WA has a stronger economy and I could demand a higher price. I need the money when I leave for sure, so it pays to be smart about these things.

 

Option 5) Take my second year now

This was never the plan. Never never never. There is a whole world out there and the thought of spending two years in one country is inconceivable to me. WAS inconceivable to me. But as always on the road, plans change. You change.

I always wanted to save my second year and come back years later, with a view to settle for good. I envisage that I will be about 30 and ready to nest in my beloved Australia, which I think I knew was ‘home’ when I first came here seven years ago at the ripe young age of 18 (why else was I so overcome with emotion that I cried ACTUAL tears of joy to be back when my plane touched down ten months ago?).

I envisage a future Mel that is ready to stay somewhere for good and will use her second year visa to find sponsorship and a ‘proper job’. I don’t know that Mel, I just assume in five years maybe I’ll be at that place.

But people tell me you’re never done. People tell me it just gets worse. Once itchy feet, always itchy feet. You never stop being restless.

Regardless, I never considered that I would take my second year straight away. But where has my time gone? The months have flown by in a neon flash of seductive contentment. A whirlwind of fast-paced spontaneous movement. A pulsating explosion of euphoric self-discovery and adventure. It has been utterly intoxicating, and now, after my brother leaves, I am faced with six silly little weeks to make and save as much money as I can for the next adventure.

The next adventure was going to be a week in Bali, so that I could come back on a tourist visa and spend December / Christmas / New Year with a good friend in Sydney- the wonderful Amy whom I worked a season with in Croatia and backpacked around Eastern Europe with over three years ago.

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In Bosnia with Amy in 2011

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Greek island-hopping with Amy, 2011

 

But as always, it all comes down to money. Can I really save enough in six weeks to fund tourist visa living? Tourist visa living that, realistically, will stretch far beyond December. I know I will end up staying for the full three months till the end of Feb. I just have too many people to go and visit all over Australia. And even if I sell my car now, it will still be tight. I could do it, I always do, but it leaves me with nothing for the next NEXT adventure.

The next NEXT adventure was going to be New Zealand, another year long working holiday visa, starting end of February. But, of course, these things are rarely easy. A further issue is that my passport runs out March 2016… so I can’t apply for the New Zealand visa on it as you need at least six months leeway on your passport. So at some point I need to be somewhere long enough to get a new passport. Which is tricky to guarantee when your financial situation remains in a constant state of flux.

With these passport complexities and a significant monetary restraint, AND a sense that I’m running out of time and don’t feel ready to leave yet… the obvious answer is just throw caution to the wind and take my second year now.

Stay longer, work harder, save more, see more friends, enjoy another summer with cash in my pocket. And then when I leave sometime next year, I will feel ready. And I will be cashed up. Six months on a mine site in the outback and I could be set for a year in Asia. Longer, probably.

So, this is the obvious answer.

But I don’t like obvious answers, and my travel FOMO kicks in big time when I even consider spending so long in one place.

How can I possibly risk putting down roots and settling here? I absolutely cannot get sucked in, there is a whole world out there and I’m chomping at the bit to taste it all. I want to feel, see, do, try, taste, touch, and experience every corner of the globe. I want to face plant variety, I want to belly-flop onto experimental living. This is how we find ourselves is it not? This is how we find out who we are and what we need from life, and where we should be?

So you see, my fear of getting stuck is pulling me onwards. My travel FOMO is driving me away.

Yet my love of Australia is keeping me. Indeed, what if I am already home?

But I don’t want the adventure to end here. I don’t want my travel story to read ‘and then she moved to Australia and never came back. The end’.

No! That cannot happen.

 

Follow your gut

There are endless questions and over-analysis to be had. Round and round these thoughts and day dreams chase themselves in my mind.

The what-if game is beautiful in this context.

These decisions do not stress me; they excite me. At such crossroads in my life I am truly alive. I am the author of my story. I am the designer of my journey. I am choosing exactly what I want to do and how I want to do it. I am master of my fate. I feel empowered and aspirational- and such sentiments flood my veins with adrenaline and zest.

How many times have I sat on a beach (it’s always a beach) and stared out at the glassy ocean infinity and asked myself…

what DO I want? I can go anywhere… but where?

There is no way to answer this question.

I just wait. I just wait for the answer to smack me in the face.

I know my gut, and this is the way my gut works.  I know I will churn things over, and talk them out, for weeks; and then… BOOM, snap decision. Impulsive movement. In an instant I will know, and then in an instant I will go. It will be sudden.

I know that probably I will not take the smart option. I know I cannot control my itchy feet, that I cannot refuse the many temptations of curiosity. I know the open road calls me, and I am powerless to refuse the lure.

Because once you have experienced what it is like to live like this, to follow the unknown wherever it calls you, you cannot go back.

That is my ‘problem’, my addiction. I am cursed with curiosity; addicted to the thrill of chasing the unknown.

Consequently, my life is somewhat a tangent, a triumph of raw impulse and spontaneity.

 

I don’t know where I’m going, but I promise it wont be boring

So here, let me tell you what I’m going to do with the last two months of my Australia visa:

I’m going to do what I always do, and I’m going to have an adventure.

wanderlust

Perhaps that will be staying in Perth. Perhaps it will be working remotely. Perhaps it will be driving across the Nullarbor to head over East. Perhaps it will be driving tractors round the outback. Perhaps it will be a 9-5 with evening and weekend hedonism. Perhaps it will be a week in Bali to come back as a tourist, perhaps it will be a whole other year. It matters not; I will have an adventure.

Because adventure is not what you do, or where you go. Adventure is how you do it, and most importantly how you perceive, how you do it. Adventure is… a mindset.

Stay tuned to see how it pans out practically. It sure feels fun from here.

wanderlust