Getting on that plane always seemed to be in the distant future, a far off thought that I always held but never realised was actually approaching. Even today I can’t believe I got on that plane, stepping off the island, 6 months ago.
When I was younger I always knew I wanted to take off indefinitely, see where things would take me and what was out there, truly believing that I didn’t belong in Australia. Like I said I always knew I wanted to and that I would, but when I actually booked the ticket it didn’t feel real. When I paid for it it still didn’t feel real. When I spoke about it to other people in anticipation it still didn’t feel real. Finalising all organisational aspects it still didn’t feel real. Not when I received my visas, or got accepted into Leiden, or organised my finances or cancelled my Australian phone, it still remained in my mind a distant thought, held with the same mindset of 5 year old me. I felt as close to going as I did when I was a child dreaming of it. Finishing my last shifts at work felt odd. Packing ended up a late night decision as all of a sudden I looked forward at my week and realised I probably should as I had no alternative opportunity to do so. Finishing my exam didn’t feel real as I realised that the clock was not only starting to tick now but that the sand had been running out of the hour glass for the last few months let alone weeks. What surprised me the most was that by the time I was ready to leave I wasn’t ready, I didn’t want to go. It’s a strange feeling having everything you always dreamt about and an open opportunity in front of you and being excited to take it, whilst realising that I loved my life and that I was about to step away from everything that had actually become perfect. This phrase honestly haunted me for the first month or two of my trip; ‘I was having the time of my life and loving the exploration and freedom but I knew all to well that the life I had just walked away from was perfect and I loved it’. I surprised myself and found myself in places feeling things that I never ever expected to feel, honestly unsure of how I was supposed to progress.
This has been the longest and best year of my life, filled with moments I could never have imagined. I could summarise it in locations or emotions or words but right now I’m thinking over it and realising that beginning at the start of the year is not accurate. Life doesn’t stop and start with the close of a day, even if that day is December 31st, and in my experience New Years Eve is highly over rated!
For me, the fact that I look back on this year and feel as though it has lasted for an eternity makes me feel very fortunate. Too often time flies by and we haven’t appreciated it or gotten as much out of it as we could’ve or we feel like we haven’t done enough. I look back on this year and actually can’t believe how much I have done, how much has happened, how much I have changed and how long ago it felt that I was walking along a beach in Phillip Island, or donning a black dress, or smiling and drinking in the Australian summer evening air with all of my uni friends, finally back together before the start of the new year. Then I hit the water and lived first semester with the ferocity only capable of someone who refused to deny any opportunity because I knew I only had X amount of time to do this before I took off for however long so I literally crammed as much ‘living’ in as I could. This meant juggling a ridiculous number of things and I do not regret those choices at all – although this is the reason that it then became so hard to leave. Work, wake boarding, Melbourne, friends, my life (family you too but you know how I feel) I did so much to do so much that without realising it I had gotten myself in so deep that I seriously fucked up and gave myself the biggest heart ache leaving my life in Melbourne.
But I did it. I didn’t get back on a plane and turn around. I stuck to my initial dream, even at the most challenging times, and the result has been unforeseeably miraculous!
Australia, China, Mongolia, Siberia, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Greece, Turkey, Italy, The Netherlands, England, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg.
A brief selection of snaps from the best year of my life to date!
New Years Resolution? Stay tuned…if I told you it may not come true