Increasingly us Aussies are choosing to leave our family and friends for a chance to live in Europe. It's easy to see why, with the easy access to a two-year working visa, cheap flights and close proximity to other countries.
Even though I had looked into the possibility, I never thought I would be one of those brave enough to leave everything they know to go to the other side of the world alone. But I did, and it has been the best, most challenging time of my life so far. This is what I've discovered about myself, and the wider world, so far...
I am stronger than I thought I was
Six months into my journey I constantly hear “you are so brave, I could never do that” when I talk about my current situation. Now it’s exciting to travel by myself, but two years ago I would have been on the other end of the conversation. If I can, you can too!
The people I met have changed me for the better
I still consider myself to be a shy, socially awkward person around strangers, let alone around anyone I’m interested in. However, meeting people from all walks of life and getting to know them makes you more confident, more knowledgeable and more accepting. I now have friends all over the world with various jobs, religions and political views.
There are Aussies everywhere...
For a country with so few people in comparison to other world populations, we sure do get around! Whether it’s in a pod hostel in Reykjavik or a sidewalk in Cinque Terre, chances are you’ll find an Aussie (or our neighbouring Kiwis) somewhere close by. In London, I know more Aussies than British people! Reminders of home are never too far away.
Confidence is key
If I had not faked confidence in all my interactions in my first few weeks in London and Europe, I wouldn’t have the support network that I have today. Fake it till you make it! Go up to that group of girls and ask if you can sit down. Go to the events purposely created for making friends. You will feel awkward when you arrive, but you’ll only regret not taking that chance.
You only regret the travel you didn’t take
Yes, there are sticky situations in almost every trip overseas. But then there are the friendships you make with people all over the world, the Contiki songs that will make you smile years later, the pictures that will light up your Instagram feed for months to come and the memories you will have for a lifetime. I’m so glad I took that leap!
Happiness above everything
Yes, I’ve had worried conversations about finances and getting out of my stretchy pants, but I’ve never been so happy in my life. Take a chance on what you think will make you happy! Happiness is all that matters in the end.
Have you recently moved country, or learned something about yourself on a recent trip? Share you stories with us here and you could see your work published on six-two.