I’m sure that this is a pretty common occurrence, but it’s the first time that it has happened to me. When I left home two years ago, I was more than ready to go. I was bored of my job and my city and I just needed a change. I needed some adventure. The morning I flew out, I was a ball of stress. However, as soon as I got through security, a sense of calm washed over me.I had never felt more sure of myself than I did in that moment. Moving away from Scotland was absolutely the right choice for me at that time. But now, barely two years later, I find myself wanting to go home. What’s changed?
I had gotten to a point that I just didn’t like it there anymore. But I think being stuck in a mind numbing job with no prospects for five years was the culprit. This job was taking up most of my time, but I really wasn’t getting anything from it. Year after year I said I would leave, and year after year I didn’t. But silly me lumped my crappy job in with my life and I convinced myself that I hated everything about Scotland. So I booked a one way ticket. Five months later, I was gone.
Australia has been tricky. Navigating hostel life for the first time was not the most comfortable experience. Though diving in head first into a 16 person mixed dorm was maybe a bit drastic. Constantly moving and packing and job hunting and never really settling took it’s toll on me. I had a couple of places along the way that served as a somewhat ‘home’, but only for a few months at the most. Then came the running out of money thing, which, can I say, was not fun. Sure I got to ignore it for a bit by landing a couple of housesitting gigs, but inevitably, the stress of being broke for the first time in my life, while I was in a different country on my own,wore me down. I was almost ready to pack it in and head home with my tail between my legs.
Then came the outback. I landed this job, and planned to stay for the remainder of my visa, which at the time was only 2 months. I was so drained by this point that I didn’t want to see any more of Australia. I just wanted to be in the middle of nowhere and do nothing but earn money for whatever my next stop was. What I didn’t expect, was to find my second home.
There have been a total five times that I have almost left the outback to continue my travels. And five times I have elected to stay. I was only meant to be here for two months. Then I extended by two weeks. Then an extra month. That was when I applied for me second year visa on a whim and got it! So I stayed for Christmas and New Year. And then extended another five months. Are you seeing a pattern?
Each time I have went to leave, the feeling of dread that washed over me was immense. I didn’t really want to be a backpacker again. I didn’t want to go back to living in hostels when I had had an actual wardrobe for the past however many months. But more to the point, I had found a home here, and a family. I didn’t want to have to leave them. Who would have thought that my bosses, who initially could barely understand me, would become my family.
It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster living out here. We went through the process of sponsorship so I could stay indefinitely, but immigration are pretty strict about that stuff now. Since I don’t have a relevant degree in hospitality, the chances of my sponsorship being approved were slim. During the process, however, I had fully accepted that this little outback town would be my home for atleast the next three years. I had already started redecorating my place in my head. It was the first time in my adult life that I have been able to look more than a few months into my future.
When sponsorship didn’t happen, I was pretty heartbroken. But I was getting an extra year here so I should at least be grateful for that. And I am. I’ve already been here a year and I am still absolutely loving it. With three months left until my second year visa expires, I plan to savour every last moment.
So this is where I think it’s happened. The wanting to go home. After almost a year or traipsing around a foreign country, mostly on my own, I found a home. I settled down. And now that’s coming to an end much quicker than I had planned. So when I went home last month for my brothers wedding and was surrounded by literally my whole family, it was lovely. I may be losing my Australian family, but my Scottish family were all still there. Also the aspect of being back home and simply getting to enjoy it rather than go to a job I hate every day was incredible. I love Scotland. I always have. Even Glasgow is a secret little favourite of mine. It was a big thing to realise that being in Scotland didn’t have to mean being trapped like I once thought. I’m at a place now that I can enjoy it. I just needed that time away to realise
Now, this isn’t to say that I’m hanging up my backpack! But I think instead of jumping right back into another working holiday in New Zealand or Canada, which was the initial plan. I think (note my non committal word choice) I have decided to go home. At least for a bit. I will still be on the move, but maybe I’ll travel around the UK, and Europe. More ‘long holiday’ type trips as opposed to long term travel. My brain has really enjoyed having a base, and I’m not quite ready to give that up yet.
So while I will have successfully spent two years in Australia, though I wish it could be longer, I shall be (maybe, possibly) heading home for the next while to get a little bit of stability back into my life. Where to from there? Who knows!