I think there is always a time for everyone where they reach a difficult crossroads as to where they want to be in life for different reasons, think about it have you?
For me I can never remember not having the travel bug and not wanting to live abroad, this was always my main passion in life since I was a kid, I always remember when my friends and I were playing and they used to say they wanted to grow up and be a teacher or nurse, mine was always ” I want to live in Australia”, yes I guess it is a bit different than others but travel is what makes me smile and feel content in life, of course there is a BUT knowing you have to leave behind your family and childhood friends which is never going to be an easy decision.
I came to Australia as a kid with my parents at the age of about 3 to visit family, I always remember the pool, sun and kaolas along with the outdoor lifestyle. Thats when my mindset changed and as the years passed by, I knew I needed to live abroad when I was older. My mother has always supported my passion for travel and encouraged me no matter how much it broke her heart saying goodbye each time. I knew she wanted what was best for me and I couldnt ask for anymore in a mother.
At the age of 16, I made the decision to go working for the summer in a holiday camp in Ireland “Mosney” in which was one of the best experiences at that age to open me up to a different world of meeting people of all backgrounds. Each summer after that I travelled to different parts of the world and never looked back. When I was in college me and 2 mates went to the small island of Guernsey off the UK for 6 months to do work experience as part of our hotel managment course. After that I visited America for 3 months with a large group of mates at only 18, living in an apartment in New Jerzey not far from the beach. Following this I spend 2 years on the island of Crete, Greece. My first year there was working in a cocktail bar for a greek family, it was tough as you worked 7 days a week 12 hours straight but learning the greek culture and meeting visitors from all over the world was great in which I would definitely reccomend. The following year I returned as a travel Representative for First choice Holidays in which was an experience with alot of interesting party stories (I will do a blog on this shortly).
Come 2005 it was time for me to decide where to now?
As I had now finished college would I continue my experience as a seasonal travel representative throughout Europe or bite the bullet and give Australia a go.
This photo was taken in Killaloe, Co Clare, Ireland
Sept 2005, I travelled around Thailand for nearly a month,this was my first Asian experience. Looking back now I was so niave as what to expect. Since that trip I have spend the last 13 years travelling different parts of Asia, this has become by far my favourite culture.
My first destination to visit once I arrived in Oz was to see my family in Adelaide. I was now 22 so it was nearly 20 years since I had first visited. It was so nice to know as I had planned to do my 1-2 year visa here that I would have family support if anything was to go wrong. Of course as expected I had a rollercoaster of a few years where I went to visit my family and they got me through it. With only a 4 hour flight away they are always there to pick up the pieces during the good and bad times. I am so grateful to have that support so close to me.
This photo was taken in Adelaide, South Australia when I was 3 with my cousin Kylie
My plan was to complete my first year visa and potentially do 3months farm work to extend my visa for a 2nd year. Of course the first year is exciting travelling as everything is new. I lived in Sydney for the first 6 months where it was full of my friends and cousins from home so this made settling at the other side of the world alot easier at the time. My mother along with 2 of my aunts and uncle also visited for new years for 2 weeks. Time went by so fast before I knew it I had experienced 6 months in Sydney, 6 months working on farms with Australian farmers which was a great experience to see the real Australian country lifestyle, I got my 2nd year visa and moved to Melbourne for 6 months in which I truly loved the lifestyle and culture there if only the weather was not as cold in winter. The plan we made was in Feb 2007 that 4 of us would buy a car and drive across the nullabor to Western Australia over a 2 week period. we stopped off in all different areas which was an incredible experience. I landed myself a job in Perth with a small business owned by a guy with an Irish background, I ended up staying working for him for 9 years and before I realised what was happening Perth was like home and the support I had from my boss was more than I could of ever asked for living at the other side of the world. He had also become like family.
BUT of course the dream of living in Australia was not all plain sailing. It is not easy for anyone living at the other side of the world when your a backpacker especially on occasions like christmas, I remember one year me and a friend volunteered on christmas day to serve food and set up christmas lunch run by a large charity organisation Salvation Army to help the homeless or people that had no one to share christmas with. It was over whelming watching how many people struggle on this occasion which was only a taste of how it must be like day in day out for them. Times like this were always tough. Sometimes people at home only see the ” fairytale” life we live forgetting we do exactly as we do at home work, sleep, live and have struggles to deal with. The hard times are alot harder when you do not have family to lean on. When I moved to Perth in 2007 I made a conscious effort to join different groups to build a real life. I worked volunteering for weight watchers for 4 years, studied in college part time for 4 years along with joining different gyms all in which now have given me the family unit over here I need.
Yes, there has been times I have wanted to pack it all in and fly home to be with my mother, brother and stepdad. I have had both grandparents die since I have lived in Oz, my granny in which I was very close to my whole life. I felt so alone lying in bed crying with my phone in my hand waiting for the next call to see had she passed away before I got the flight home. Also the 4 surgeries I went through while miscarring our babies without my mother by my side was heartbreaking. The one that broke me the most was when my family were going through my stepdad getting lung cancer and having to going through chemo, I spend every minute of everyday watching my phone for the next upsetting text or phonecall from my mother or trying to support my brother over texts. At this time I was planning my wedding without family by my side as so much was going on and that was the last thing they needed. Times like this I was so grateful for the support I had in Perth. It is not an experience you want to go through at the otherside of the world. Each night I lay awake for months with an upset anxious stomach worried was my family ok? Was something going to happen that day or should I cancel the wedding?.
This photo of me and my brother taken in Santorini, Greece
Then you will always get people at home thinking it is easy for us living the ” Home and Away lifestyle”. It is not easy to miss all the family weddings along with missing your best friends weddings that you grew up with as some people financially can not afford to fly home yearly. You have to make the decision which events you can go home for which you spend the whole year saving towards.
Yes on the flip side it is a better lifestyle living in Australia with the sun and beaches, the events and options you have over here is alot more open than Ireland.
Now I am close to having a baby girl of our own, knowing that the relationship I have with my own mother has always been so strong and open my whole life since I was a kid. There will always be apart of me empty living over here with our princess without my mother being a full time granny. But I know the lifestyle for a child over here is amazing and she will have great opportunities. Making a plan for family to visit each year and my mother twice a year will keep me going once I have a countdown.
I think it is important everyone takes a step back and takes into account no matter where in the world you live be it home or abroad your heart will be pulled in two directions. We should be happy for each other and support each others decisions with an open mind as different things make different people happy.
At the end of the day you have one life to live do not run when things get hard stick it out and whats ment to ne will be in the end.
This first photo was taken diving in Rottnest Island, Western Australia
This photo was taken in The Brehon Hotel, Killarney, Ireland