It seems like only the other day I left Australia to move to the UK to travel the world and work in London. I cannot believe it has now been two and a half years since I left my lovely state of Western Australia. If you had asked me when I left in November 2015, I would have said to you “I am going for a year ONLY and I will be back in time for the next netball season”. Little did I realise how much that would change in the that first year away and how I will now probably live abroad for a total of 4 years. That’s right, I will be away for another 18 months before I return to the country of sun, coffee, beaches and avocado (Well I think anyway).
A lot of people have asked me what it was like to return home and that surely I did not want to return after being back. To this tale, it is a bittersweet symphony. Here is what I realised making the trip home to see my family, friends and home country.
1. You forget what its like to have your family and friends close by
After being away for what doesn’t feel like forever, but it actually is, you forget what it is like to have people who care about you, around you all the time. Where you can drive down the road for 5 minutes and be at your best friends house, being constantly contacted to catch up with old friends and what it is like to relax. I find one never truly relaxes until they have gone home or is it just me?
2. You wonder how you have managed to live without any kind of support network and are proud of yourself for it
You become used to having only yourself to depend on. There is no one you can just randomly call to help you out when you might be broke, going through social breakups, or having a crisis at work. You have to learn to deal with it, suck it up and move on and this isn’t as easy as it sounds. Independence is key to surviving out in that big scary world.
3. The good friendships will last a lifetime
No matter how long you have been away for. Whether you have fallen out of contact with several people, the ones who truly matter will be there for you no matter what. And when you see them again it will feel like no time has passed at all. Except maybe that they have a new partner, have bought a house or done something very adult like.
4. In your time away, coming home you realise nothing has changed
Coming home after a long period of time, you feel like so much has happened and changed within your own life that you think it would be like that with everybody else. Truth is; I could not have been more wrong. I realised that nothing has changed. Everyone is still doing the same thing but have perhaps progressed in doing more adult ventures, like buying a house or becoming engaged to their partner. It can also be a bit of shock that when people are so settled they are not necessarily interested in all the amazing travel you have done because they are happy the way things are for them currently.
5. How much you have grown
Realising all these different things, you see how much you have personally grown in independence and life experiences. There is nothing I would take back or change about the last two and a half years. The memories I have created will carry a special place in my heart for the rest of my life. So what if I have no savings to buy a house or any of those important adulting things?
6. How much I had missed the ocean, bush and sparseness of Australia
After living in one of the biggest cities in the world, I didn’t realise how much I had missed the natural habitat of Australia. After growing up by the sea all my life until I made the move to the UK, you appreciate how lucky you were to have these things. As well as growing up in the bush, constantly having the smell of fresh air and having incredible weather at your doorstop. However, would I trade that for the culture of London when Western Australia is the most isolated place in the world? Something I currently can’t answer.
7. What really matters in life
Through all the experiences I have had living abroad, returning home and travelling the world. I have discovered that happiness is the most important thing to live a full life. If you are not happy, you are the only one who can change it, sometimes as hard as it might be.
8. Home will always be there for you to come back to
No matter where you are in the world, home is only a phone call away or a plane ride across the ocean.
“So grab life with both hands,
go out and explore,
try new things,
don’t let anyone drag you down,
and regret nothing!”