At the tender age of 12, I had a pretty good idea I wanted to move away from home. Far, far, far away from the place I grew up in.
This manifested in trying — and later, succeeding — to move away for college at 16.
When unfortunate personal circumstance brought me back to the one place I wanted to escape, I had been trying my best to get away again.
By choosing jobs away, by creating opportunities away, and just simply trying to find myself in the process.
This isn’t to say I regret a lot about my life. No…not at all.
At 19, just a year and a half after moving back to my hometown, my Mom decided to visit my late Father’s relatives in Melbourne whom we spent a good three weeks with.
This was three years ago.
Since then, the city has exposed me to not only art but a different way of living altogether.
I learned to drink good coffee for one.
The city taught me about street art, reinforced my love for visual design, and introduced me to music in the streets.
There was a chill vibe going on here where even businessmen knew how to dress as hipster as possible.
I loved every minute of it.
For every suburb I’d go to, I learned more and more about antique shopping and caring about making your apartment a home.
My cousins introduced me to lollies I still fantasize about today (and is the reason for my overweight luggage!) while showing me all the healthy food to eat as well.
It was the first time in my life to enter laneways, sit down, and talk with others whilst sharing a table. And maybe because it isn’t common practice from where I’m from.
Coupled with a big change in my life, I came home to find another place I really wanted to live in for the first time.
Which is why it wasn’t a question for me where I wanted to share my new sense of independence.
But I knew it had to be somewhere I didn’t know anyone.
Did you ever thought of that during your first trip alone?
Some people thought travelling alone would mean going on board a plane alone and then going to a destination where you knew someone could take you around.
No offense but that’s not how it is for me.
I wanted to walk alone at the Rocks, or see the Opera House by myself from Mrs. Macquire’s chair.
Even when I had a pretty good idea on how to work the train system, I wanted to take a step further and take long city-round trips via the bus.
And I got to do all of that.
I didn’t think I’d survive Sydney at first
Despite what my cousin continually told me, I had doubts about making it through my short vacation.
Because I didn’t do my research about the city and I definitely didn’t know how to be alone for long periods of time.
I mean, sure, being an only child sorta gives you that unique position…But still.
The mini-vacation presented itself as an adventure with a backpack and a ton of internal monologues.
Sydney — or Australia, for that matter — served to be the perfect opportunity to try and get my feet on the ground.
Coming back to the one place I loved since 18, I decided to choose a city where it wasn’t far from help but also enough that I still had a sense of independence exploring the place by myself.
And truth be told? I missed the healthy food.
I missed hearing Australian accents that are either too thick or a cross between Aussie and Brit.
It was like being at home but away from where I grew up.
It was familiar stomping ground but everything seemed new all the same
I’d never been to Sydney prior to this trip but the ambiance, the people, and even the art — felt all weirdly familiar.
But you could definitely still see the differences, know what I mean?
Three years ago, I was stuck studying and wanting to find a way to work with computers. Now, I’m a web designer and make my living out of that.
In three years, I’ve been more exposed to museums in Europe and animals in Africa than anyone my age has ever been. Then again, I never thought I’d make it there at all.
The experience alone taught me to write and write more on my personal journal, helping me see what I once lacked, and allowed me to find solutions for it.
I still do want to live in Australia, you know.
Just not sure whether it’s in Sydney or Melbourne this time.
But it still holds true, I came here because it felt like a place I could envision staying at for a long period of time.
Beyond what…Well, who knows?
We choose to go on solo adventures because most of the Internet told us to do so.
I certainly didn’t grow up in an environment where I could easily take my leave and say, “catch ya later!”
But all the same, I trust in making decisions we all know we can live with.
Whether it’s chasing your dream to be in the circus or flying 5000 miles away from home to an unknown city.
In truth, it was difficult for me to choose a country where I’ve been instead of going somewhere new.
Yet it was the prospect of being able to re-evaluate my life and come back to the one place which helped me know where I wanted to go.
Just…a new city where I didn’t know anyone. Ha.
To me, that was the perfect time to regroup and choose which path I wanted to take in this fork.
And yeah, it’s just what I needed.