One has to wonder that after making the decision over ten years ago to actively follow my heart and seek happiness in my life how I’ve ended up at the age of 38 living with my parents with an empty bank account, no career and a strapped up knee.
The decision to change my life came about when I found myself staring down the barrel of the conventional road: Marriage, kids, white picket fence. At the time I was living decadently in the tropics of FNQ* with my very wealthy boyfriend. We’d been together quite some years and as society would expect we were heading towards the next obvious step. But hell I was weary of what society expected (including my family and friends), it’s not what I wanted, I felt like I’d hardly lived and was barely grown up enough myself to have my own kids. I wanted independence, strength, confidence, I wanted to hold my head high and be proud of who I am.
It was then that I had found myself in the mind and body of an emotional wreck and needy person and I hungered for change. My mind swamped with possibilities. What if I took another road? What would happen if I threw caution to the wind and did whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted? What if I quenched my bucket list thirst and abandoned the idea of marriage, kids, mortgage, career, etc for a life dedicated to fulfilling my dreams? This offer of freedom, adventure and exciting life experiences was unquestionably tempting and as I stood at this incredibly gigantic road fork, for better or worse, I made my decision. First I ended the 10-year relationship with the boyfriend (and did not pursue the $10,000 engagement ring angrily lobbed into crocodile infested waters). And secondly I moved back home to Melbourne to get a good paying job so I could stand back on my own two independent feet.
The next thing I know I’m on my parents doorstep with a backpack full of clothes (he took everything else), my emotional lifesaver of a companion, Buzz the blue heeler cross collie and a mountain of debt. It took me six weeks of gruelling interviews, tests and rejections to land a job in corporate CBD Melbourne. Not exactly dream fulfilling material but I had to start somewhere and I was on the right path. Eventually, I paid off my long standing debts, bought a shitbox car and a brand new bed (on the same day), found my soulmate best friend and new house mate, Jules and I could kiss any boy I liked on the Friday night dance floor. Life became a par-tay.
My feet began to itch about two years in. I had satisfied my immediate needs and just caught myself living the dreary 8:30-5:30 job life that I was desperately trying to avoid. So I told work I’m leaving and I’m off to Africa and I’ll announce my leaving date as soon as it’s all booked. I poured over every available African pamphlet, conjuring up visions of roaring lions, dusty safaris and mud-hut tribesmen and six months later found myself staring at the same old computer screen. As I toyed with tweaking ‘following dreams’ locations it wasn’t long until the universe made a shift to help me undertake this path I set myself on when the owner of my rental property decided to sell up. As my lazy old bones groaned under the idea of moving house, again, I impulsed my way to the travel agent and booked a ticket to Vietnam.
Here is my journey, a journey of envy that you wish you’d done as I have, a journey of gratefulness that you are damn happy you didn’t, a journey of what happens when you take the unconventional road.
*FNQ = Far North Queensland but I prefer using the letters as it appropriately sounds like a dirty word.