This time last year I was settling into Melbourne life, meeting lots of new people and getting to know the City having arrived there in August with no job or contacts. By the end of my 12 months in Australia I was on a complete high having met so many fantastic interesting people from different backgrounds, enjoying the City’s excellent cultural offerings (especially the live music scene), learning more about the Country’s diversity and history, and understanding the world from Aussie eyes before heading home to what they refer to as ‘the old world’. I squeezed in a trip to New Zealand’s beautiful south island to see some spectacular scenic natural beauty, and did an overland tour of the Northern Territory where in 10 days I saw more indigenous people I had in my whole year in Australia. I ended the year by volunteering for and participating in the Asia Pacific Youth Conference by Initiatives of Change that was attended by delegates from 18 different countries exploring social change through personal transformation. Memories and images of the people and places I met during this time will truly remain in my heart forever. Sometimes in life we need to step back, take a leap, delve into the unknown and jump, because it’s when we take these risks and challenge our fears that we truly learn to fly. Not everyone supports us on our journey, there will always be the critics that try to bring you down because they could probably never achieve what you have, or understand the point of it in their reality, their values and beliefs. But we need to listen to our instincts, and create our own paths. Some of us learn this sooner in life, I have learnt this at the right time for me, and have been fortunate to have role models and friends in my life that have understood my vision and free spirit, and given me their blessings.
There’s a reason why everyone doesn’t choose to grab their backpacks and just go, because it seems scary, expensive and hard-and oh yes it is! Anyone that thinks travelling is just one long holiday and totally careless they are wrong. In my opinion it’s the BEST and one of the most challenging things I have ever done and I honestly can’t think of anything else I’d rather do that gives me more pleasure-yes I am a travel addict I LOVE IT. For the best part of 28 months I travelled to 17 countries in 4 continents-and it was awesome! But one thing for sure is that it requires physical and mental strength, you have to keep on top of things like finances, travel and accommodation every few days as well as watching your back 24/7.
Coming home is weird-end of. I’ve been away for a significant amount if time. When they say you can choose your friends but not your family they are absolutely right. Seeing my family was wonderful, they are a constant in my life and will always be there through good and bad. We might not always agree on things and see the world from different perspectives but they’re there. With friends it’s interesting. Getting away from your normal routine and social circle and then returning to it really does teach you who is important in your life and the relationships that are of value. Time does change things and now that I have completed this journey and returned to my own land I can honestly say I can see things through a very different lens, finally a clear one. The rose tinted glasses came off a few years ago and now things have become crystal clear. I’m not suggested that everyone needs to up and leave and travel the world to learn a thing or two, but I can say that for myself getting out there and being around happy grounded people most of the time has taught me more about myself than I would ever have done sitting in England. So much good energy around me and people giving out good vibes, telling me what they see when they look at me-this truly was refreshing. Fundamentally it was change that has given me this insight, a change of environment and people and following my dream. Oh how I’d love to do it all again!
So…now what? On Tuesday 2 August 2011 I landed at Heathrow Airport in London, my brother picked me up and drove me home to Shropshire in his big lovely Audi. I was so excited to see my family-it was amazing! 3 days later my cousin’s 3 day big fat Punjabi wedding commenced and we had a ball; so many laughs, great food, Bhangra music and dancing and so much love! At the same time the riots began in various parts of the country and for a whole day I was glued to the TV and Facebook updates hyping it all up. I was in total shock. What have I come home to? My country is falling apart! Why am I here?!
Well after two months at home in October I moved to Bristol in the South West of England to start studying my Masters in Gender and International Relations. This has totally rocked my brain. It’s been 11 years since I last wrote an essay or had to do so much reading and it’s been a massive challenge. It’s almost been 5 months since I’ve been back in this country but I can’t stop looking over my shoulder back at the life I was living in Melbourne. If I close my eyes I can hear the sound of a tram, hear the laughter of my crazy friends, smell amazing coffee and experience the energy that makes me feel so alive and happy. But when I open my eyes I’m in England. The weather is bleak. Everything seems so expensive. So many people are down with the winter cold. No one will give me a job-apparently I’m overqualified. I’m living with a landlady from hell. Me and England just don’t seem to get on. I honestly don’t know if Facebook is a blessing or not. It’s enabled me to stay in touch with people all over the place, I know how they are and what they are doing. Everyone in Melbourne is always asking me when I am coming back…
The long awaited 2012 is finally here, will London do us proud during the Olympics? Is unemployment set to continue rising along with the cost of petrol, when will the economy turn around? Is the world really going to end?! Will I finally start writing my essays and have an epiphany revealing the exciting next steps I need to make in my life? Is the man of my dreams going to appear and do I even care? One thing for sure is that I am going to work damn damn hard on my Masters as the first three months have been filled with procrastination. Making sense of the world academically now that I have explored a bit of it is an honour so I can’t afford to waste this precious time. As for what will happen following this, well I’ll let you know that when I’ve worked it out for myself. At the moment I am feeling a real change within, 2012 is not going to be the rollercoaster ride that I was on previously, but a time for some inner work, reflection, and contemplation that will enlighten me together with my education on where this journey is to take me next. Might sound easy but so far it’s been a huge test, a very different sort of challenge than what I’m used to. I’m a socialite, an adventurer and people make me tick, but now I have too turn in on myself a lot more. All the signs are pointing in this direction so I may as well follow my intuition and just do it.
So that’s where I’m at today on 1 January 2012. What are your hopes, dreams and desires for the year? Whatever they may be I wish you luck and love my friends. Peace, Love and Respect to one and all. xx