Since turning 18 I knew I wanted to travel, but wanting something and actually doing something about it are two very different things. A number of factors would see my dream of being a world traveller slowly slip to the back of my mind whilst I wasted event penny I had on partying the weekends away...
Flash forward a few years to 2012, I was 22 and working 9-5 in a ‘real job’ which I absolutely despised. I think a little part of my soul died each day when my alarm clock went off. Imagine a place where people’s hopes and dreams go to die and I think you’ll start to get the picture. I told myself for 4 years that the money was good, the hours were reasonable and that there wasn’t anything better out there for me – lets all just take this moment to laugh out loud.
One day, I was googling ‘gap years’ and I came across an opportunity to work for a year in Disneyland, Florida. I got butterflies.
I began to think ‘maybe my life doesn’t have to be this way, maybe there is something better out there for me’ …… ‘imagine all the trips to Harry Potter World I could fit in one year’…. I filled out the online application and began the anxious wait to see if I was going to be offered an interview.
In the meantime, I had a trip to Australia booked with my family so that ought to keep my mind occupied. We spent two weeks experiencing a taste of what Australia had to offer and someone planted the seed of the working holiday visa in my head. I headed home with ambitious thoughts running through my mind, and then… I went and got myself a boyfriend.
A few weeks went by and then low and behold I received an email from Disney inviting me to an interview in the coming weeks, I was over the moon and so determined to get this job I almost forgot about my boyfriend and the potential year apart we might have to endure – Awkward. I tried my best to stand out in the interview but stumbled over a number of questions and left feeling deflated and upset at myself.
I waited and waited, and checked my emails 24/7 for weeks on end until I read the news I had been dreading: ‘unfortunately on this occasion you have been unsuccessful’. I felt like my life may as well have been over. I threw myself a pity party and cried into a tub of ice cream watching the movie ‘The Beach’ – Yes, it was rather dramatic! Then a little lightbulb came on in my head: Australia.
As 2012 was drawing to a close my grandma became very ill in hospital, I was still in my miserable job and my dream of moving overseas started to fade a little once more. I found out the boyfriend I was worried about leaving behind was cheating on me and then just a few days before Christmas my grandmother passed away.
I had officially hit rock bottom, and you know what they say about hitting rock bottom - the only way is up.
Within a few weeks I had it all planned out; I gave myself 4 months to get my ducks in a row and scrape together enough money to survive until I managed to get a job in Australia. I applied for a 12 month working holiday visa, booked my flights and handed my notice in. As soon as I touched down in Australia in 2013 I thought to myself ‘why didn’t I do this sooner!?’
What was it that I was so worried about? If I hated it I could just hop on a plane and fly home, it really was that simple! Four years on and I have just applied for Permanent Residency, I’m working in a school which gives me 11 weeks of paid leave a year to travel wherever I like.
There is no doubt that if I hadn’t applied for that job in Disneyland I wouldn’t be where I am today. I truly believe that everyone should experience living in another country at least once, even if it’s only for a short time. It changes the way you view the world and gives you a new lease of life you never knew you had. Perspective is EVERYTHING.
I hear people saying they would love to travel, love to live somewhere new, that I am so lucky because I live in Australia. The truth is it had nothing to do with luck. We make our own luck in life; if you want to travel, travel! If you want to move somewhere new, go for it! All you need is determination and a positive mind, and anything is possible. Don’t stay in that soul destroying 9-5 job because you don’t think you can do any better, and don’t convince yourself that you are never going to achieve anything more than what you have now – you can, and you will!
Stepping outside of your comfort zone will be one of the scariest yet most exhilarating things you will ever do. I won’t lie and say it’s easy, it isn’t; you will have many lows as well as the highs, but when you look back and see how far you have come – oh how proud you will be.
Opportunities are everywhere, sometimes you just need to change your perspective before you can see them as opportunities and not failures.
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