Tag Archives: moving

The Trials Of Returning From Travel

I’m not going to lie. At times in the last month I have felt like a wild animal backed into a corner. Trapped. And I just want to fight my way out and run off. The truth is, it is a lot of confronting things you don’t like, that don’t resonate with you anymore, and doing things that you don’t want to do. Yes, I know, life contains all manner of things that you don’t want to do that you have to, including finding a job and somewhere to live. They so rightly term it ‘adulting’. But right now, I just don’t want to deal with any of it. I am throwing the dummy out of the pram big time.

When I first got back I had all these thoughts of how I was going to find a lovely house and make myself a compost and vegetable garden with herbs and lettuce. I was going to throw fabulous dinner parties for my friends and make amazing food from around the world with country-themed meals. I was going to be zen-as-fuck and meditate everyday, do yoga for stretching my back even though I hate it. I was going to jump on Tinder, go speed dating and meet some lovely guy and message people to catch up and make loads of new friends and life would be smashingly wonderful.

Instead, I find myself fighting to get paperwork completed so that I can get money or actually apply for a job. I am definitely nowhere near zen, I live in a state of perpetual annoyance because of how much I have to do, and none of these involve socializing, cooking good food or gardening. I did however start Tindering and two weeks into it I am bored as shit. I don’t have any energy to put forward to make a decent first impression, which let’s face it (especially for anyone who has actually met me), is difficult at the best of times. I am too tired to even want to get up  out of bed in the morning and do anything and massively snowed down with a list of things to do that is longer than my forearm and never seems to get any shorter. The mountains of shit and things pile up around me and I feel smothered by the whole lot of it. It is too much to organise, too much to deal with and I have gone into total shut down mode with it all.

The other thing with getting set up is the general bullshit bureaucracy of it all. It is incredibly difficult for some members of organisations to believe that ‘no, you didn’t have a house and somewhere to live permanently for the last year and a half’ and ‘no, you didn’t have a phone number’, and ‘no, you haven’t lived the conventional life that fits into their very square-shaped mould, and what are you supposed to do if you’re a lovely dodecahedron instead?’

I have spent much of my time fighting with organizations who do not have policies for people that live anything other than the very standard straight line of expected life. How ’bout you ask me to list ever single place I have lived in the last ten years and then question me about why there is a gap? Or why there is a gap in my resume? Or why all of my life dates don’t line up in a nice continuum of the expected? Because I travelled dipshits! I choose this! Why can’t you accept that I chose unemployment and homelessness for a year and a half? Fuck me! Ok, here, just have my childhood address to fill gaps for the sake of it even though I wasn’t in the country! Stupidity!

That and I am fast becoming morning coffee buddies with the JP’s that work in the Civic Centre because I am in there so frequently getting documents signed after I am emailed to be informed I need ‘yet another document’. Why? “Oh no, if you work in another country we don’t consider this as demonstrating that you understand anything about how that same job works in Australia. You can go back to being a ‘provisional/trainee’ type staff again. Oh but we do need like ten different police checks from every country you may have set foot in for all of your life. And more papers. And copies of this and that and this and that. Also stupidity.

And then there is house hunting, trying to pack up all of my things into boxes and figuring out how I am going to move it, job hunting, especially when I can’t get my registration to work, fighting with Centrelink, frequent doctors appointments for health problems and that overwhelming feeling that you have not enough money and not enough time to get all of it done. A part of me just wants to kick back off to South America where I don’t have to give a shit about fifty million bits of paperwork and where everything seems to be just that little bit easier than it feels right now every time I open my eyes in the morning and think to myself ‘Fuck me, I have to deal with all of this shit again”.

Hopefully within a couple of weeks, some of these things will start getting sorted and then I can stop juggling fifteen balls at once. Then maybe I can have a friend over and we can share a meal on my cardboard box table of Uber Eats because I am too poor to equip my house. Until then, sorry to any person who has to deal with me and be in my company whilst receiving yet another email from somewhere telling me that they can’t help me and that I need to supply some other kind of paperwork. I promise that in a couple of months, I might be a bit better settled and less stressed.

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Leaving Canada For Good


This time 5 years ago I was sitting in my unit in Melbourne packing my entire life into boxes. I would never have anticipated any of the things that happened to me over those 5 years to come and yet somehow here we are, not even sad in many ways to be leaving somewhere that was my second home for 5 years and teetering on another massive change. Like a relationship gone sour and that has gone on for too long, it is time to walk away.

But like with any relationship that ends, it doesn’t mean that you don’t look back on it from time to time with fond memories. And of course there are always the hard lessons that you learn and take with you.

So I wanted to take this chance to look at the years that passed, the highlights and some of the lessons learned.

2010

I arrived into Toronto for the first time on the 12th October, 2010. My friend from high school that lived there picked me up from the airport, which helped make such a daunting move a little easier. I moved into the HI backpackers hostel on Church St and was soon met with Tash, one of my closest friends from home. She came on a visa to meet with me. I came on a visa to meet with a boyfriend that had fallen to pieces months before I even boarded the plane but not before I had booked my ticket.

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Tash and I spending our first Halloween together carving pumpkins a month after arriving in Toronto.

We shared a room and ridiculous room mates in a place that still to this day holds some amazing memories for me. My first ever proper Halloween in the snow, my first hockey match, my introduction to the infamous Tim Hortons and so it goes on.

I got three jobs. My first being at Fossil selling watches and handbags, then at Aveda as a Christmas cashier and also at the Children’s Place folding kids clothing. I busted my arse 80 hours a week and it was only here that I started to learn the real value of money, doing it hard and having the arse out of your pants. After my first ever white Christmas, the work stopped and so we saw in 2011 (dancing down the street chanting like a pack of losers to the most anticlimactic fireworks you’d ever seen).

2011

The year started hard. As I lost two of my jobs, with Aveda being the only one left I learned the importance of good friendships in times of utter boredom. The girls at Aveda kept me going with their amazingness, jokes and incredible support. These are the best work colleagues I have ever had and even though we are now spread all over the world I love them dearly. It is because of one of these “gurls” that one night my broke arse wound up in the drag bar Crews and Tango competing in Candice’s Star Search for the prize money to keep me fed that week. This started me getting jobs supporting other drag Queens in their shows and I became a semi regular about the place. It was incredible fun and taught me how to be a better performer.  I will never forget the experiences I had in this place and the accepting nature with which I was taken in.

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Singing in the drag bar, Crews and Tango on Church St

Upon entering into March I was starting to get shitty. No hours. No money. I didn’t move halfway across the world to work for 10 dollars an hour to have all of my savings drained on keeping my head afloat during winter. So I quit my job, packed my bag and went on a 3 month camping trip around the United States.

After my whirlwind trip around the US I came back revitalized and broke. The plan was to go west, then go home and make some money. But as fate was to have it, I met a boy and stayed another 3 months in Toronto. It was in this time I started working promo work, handing out chocolate bar samples or restaurant cards in guerilla type activations. It had good pay. I also went back to doing some more work in the drag bars and getting involved in showcases. It allowed me to live more comfortably. The thing was, I had booked my ticket home, and so I went. It was the hardest time of it I had leaving Canada. And yet I was to be back.

2012

After a stint of teaching and harvesting poppies at home I went back to Canada in March. I spent my days living in the backpackers hostel in Kensington with some of the biggest weirdos you will ever meet. One woman was convinced that her husband had paid off all Tim Horton’s employees to try and poison her…. but in among those crazies were also some great people. I walked flyers and posters around the neighborhoods for 11 dollars an hour for 5 to 7 hours a day every day. I was in essence scraping the bottom of my Canadian finances to survive. One night I was walking to Chinatown after paying rent with ten dollars to my name to feed me for 5 days when I saw a sign for a dishwasher for the night and took it. Luck me in that 8 hours later I left with 80 dollars, a three course meal and three grocery bags of leftover food. I made it work until my then boyfriend got out of the military and in July we set off driving from Toronto over to Newfoundland for 3 months.

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Hanging about on the coast of Nova Scotia on the eastern road trip.

We camped, we explored, I got a better understanding of Canadian history. I saw and ate my first ever moose. I picked wild berries from the bushes and ate them. Some of my fondest memories I have of Canada were spent in the days I lived and worked on Eastport Organics Farm.  We sat on the beach with the dogs and ate pizzas and played guitar and sang. We went to kitchen parties with the locals. We had bonfires. It was a simple life and life at its best. I was happy there. But time was getting away from us and we headed back to Toronto to pack and leave for Central America.  My first 2 year visa was almost up and it was time for a new adventure.

2013

After 8 months of travelling through Central America I decided it was time to go back and get my junk and make a move relocating west. I spent about a month in Toronto doing the odd promo until I found out I had a car lined up to drive across Canada from Montreal to Vancouver.

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The famous Wawa goose in Ontario on my east to west road trip.

I arrived in Vancouver as usual, disorganized, with nowhere to stay, everywhere is booked out due to Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z in concert and I am having a freak out. I eventually found a backpackers hostel to stay in and spent some time chilling out and catching the sights before heading off to Vancouver Island for a week. Same went for Vancouver Island… didn’t book accommodation, had nowhere to sleep on Saturday night, pitched a one man British Army tent in the bush on an island that I thought was well hid and got caught by hippies. Many interesting times had by all.

I eventually double backed and relocated myself to Calgary. I started making beds and then doing the morning cleaning shift in the hostel I was living in and doing promo work. I worked so hard I barely had a day off. In the four months that I was there however I managed to see Drumheller, Dinosaur Provincial Park, Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump, hike through Kananaskis, drive up through Jasper National Park, add a few trips to Banff and I’d seen a lot. Come December I had reached my tether with working so much and on a random whim booked a flight to go and see my friend in London for Christmas on my way home for the brothers wedding.

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A fossilized dinosaur skeleton from Drumheller.

2014

This was a Canada free year. I spent it at home mostly. Then in December I started travelling Asia again.

2015

I decided to renew my visa for the last time and go back to Canada as an option. My friend who I went to Nepal with and I had big plans for hiking and camping and all other manner of things.  And then the pneumonia happened and my body became incapable of most of the things we had planned. I went back anyway because my body needed to rest.

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At the top of Mount Yamnuska. First hike back after Everest Basecamp.

I took the odd promo work which was substantially less abundant than two years previous. I took a job at the hostel again, and it too wasn’t the same. With all that I had been through I had come to a few realizations.  Firstly that I am over doing menial jobs for shit pay when I don’t have to. In many ways the jobs I took were nothing to ever take seriously because I always had a better out. Many I took because they were amusing to me. But after years of it, I am bored. My brain feels like it is dying from the lack of stimulation I receive on a day to day basis.

So it’s time to be more and work for a greater purpose. The second thing I realised was that I need to stop travelling and being around travellers for a while. My frustration at the lack of variety in conversations and different people I was meeting was killing me and my want to be social. It is time to find a new group of people and work on ‘staying’ for a while. And so begins the new challenge…. so I packed my bag and move to London. 

 

The Challenge of Moving To London

When I was working the Taste of Calgary last week, I met a German psychologist who uses his skills to read people’s auras and then purchases art for them. At the end of our two minute conversation he told me that when he looks at me he sees a lot of internal happiness, and someone that spends more time looking forward than back. I found this to be incredibly insightful for someone who had met me for two minutes. I have always said that you create your own happiness from within and truth be told, I always look forward instead of backwards. Sometimes too quickly. And this is how we wind up moving ourselves to London on a whimsical decision made in a state of unhappiness.

Most other people who probably should know me a little better ask me what it is that I am running from. But then maybe that’s unfounded as well. I prefer to see it as “running to”. Life is too short to spend time on things that aren’t working and moving on seems to have become a life skill that I am far too good at. So my job sucks. Find another one. People don’t like me or have issues, find different people to hang out with. Don’t like the city you’re in? Time to move.

This is all well and good for the most part until I was challenged in thought by a saying I came across a couple of days ago. It went something like this. “The hardest decision you will ever have to make in this life is knowing when to stay and fight for what you’ve got and knowing when to walk away”. For the most part, I always walk away…. (with the odd exception of trying to stick it out with rubbish boyfriends, in such cases I probably should have walked away). But anyway the point is, I have gotten so comfortable with walking away that my own personal challenge from here is to stay and fight for what I have and what I can gain. For the first time in my life I look at London as a long term challenge. Not somewhere to set roots for all of five minutes and then move when something goes wrong or upsets me. My challenge is to stay and fight for what I can build. My challenge is to create a life for myself.

So here I go… I’m in my last week here in Calgary and I face the ever difficult and horrid task of saying goodbye to people I know and have come to love. I face the notion that I am leaving my safety blanket of Canada. One that I have lived in on and off for over five years and that has challenged me immensely for the good and the bad. And most of all, I walk away from who I am now as a person and I start again in a way that is more tantamount to the person that I want to be.

It is time to tackle a meaningful job in which I can change the lives of young people. It is time to develop stronger relationships with the many amazing people I have in London that I am proud to call my friends. It is time to develop new relationships with work colleagues, new friends and even maybe a romance or two. Most of all, it is time to soften and be less hard and more approachable as a person. It is time to find my way in a world that is more real than the bubble of travellers’ life. Because if I constantly run and don’t fight to stay for anything, I will miss out on some of the best things in life. If I don’t open myself up and let the love, the disappointments, the excitement and the whole spectrum of the emotions of living into my core, then I will never have anything real or anything worth keeping.

So here I go! Bring it on!