I’m running away from the job I go to every day. I’m running away from this elevator I took up and down time and time again, from the street I walked in over and over, from this neighbour I don’t particularly like, and from a subway system I master. I’m running away from the doubts I have about my professional and personal future. I’m running away from a routine—not a depressing life, but one not hectic enough for a woman my age.
I’m looking for more freedom and a more spontaneous life. I’m looking for challenges, issues to solve, good and bad experiences, all that to teach me something I think I know, to grow as a person and ultimately to become the best version of myself. I’m looking for a way to never have to sigh, “I wish I had…” or “if I had known…”. I’m looking for a way to look both back and forward and to be able to state the existence is worth living, my way of life fits me, meets my expectations, answers my doubts and my fears.
Basically, you could say I’m looking for happiness, as defined the way it is in my own dictionary. I want to feel happy, even if it doesn’t last. A brief moment of happiness would be enough for me.
And this is why my backpack and I are currently in a city in New Zealand’s southern island.
My WHV adventure in Australia started more than half a year ago. Over the course of these six months, I taught French in Sydney, travelled around Tasmania with my mother who was visiting, lived a beautiful love story in Melbourne, worked near Cairns for three months as a fruit picker and packer, and travelled along the amazingly scenic East coast framed by turquoise water and a fiery sun. Along the way, I met great people, drinking buddies, I had short-term love stories and I hung out with beautiful souls whom I would like to remain friends with.
These past six months have been by far the most memorable moments of my life… and I have the feeling the next three months will be pretty awesome as well—I’m planning to cross the Australian desert from south to north before flying to Asia where I’ll head to Singapore, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Did I find what I was looking for?
Am I free? You bet. Crazy? Well, I’d rather say I developed a taste for adventure. I chose to challenge myself, travelling solo and going skydiving. There were ups and downs over the last six months but this is part of the experience—my Australian adventure.
Did I change? I couldn’t help it.
I like the way I changed. I see life differently, I face the future with more serenity, I only focus on what matters and I don’t care about the rest. Early August, I’ll take part in a ten-day meditation 101 course and I’m looking forward to it. I’m sure I’ll benefit from it.
There are no “if” nor “I wish I could.” If I want it and if I can do it… then I go for it!
So, am I happy? Is this the life I want? Am I ready to live like this for the rest of my life? What else am I running away from? What am I looking for?
I’m putting my big backpack down to run away. I rummaged through it for some clothing, some prescriptions, some miscellaneous items so many times… It was always hard to close it—most of the time, I just gave up on buckling it up properly.
I’m running away from a life without much material comfort and a certain instability. I’m running from these strange daydreams where I’m thinking of my family, my former bedroom, the street I took to go to the bakery, the few shops open on Sunday where I bought stuff after the market, those days spent in front of the TV or the computer with my pajamas on.
I’m running away from the practicalities of life in a camper van—having nowhere to go before bedtime, wandering around and wasting time like a homeless person because sunset is at 5:30 pm and if you turn the light on that early in the van, battery will be dead by morning.
I’m running away from constantly looking for a hostel to sneak into just to take a shower and I’m running away from these uncomfortable days when I can’t wash properly.
I’m looking for a steadier way of life and less money troubles. I remember my former quieter life in France. I loved it even though I ran away from it because I wanted to live the life I’m living today, and now I’m jealous of my former self who wanted so badly to be my current self.
The “normal routine” and the “backpacker life” have something in common: they complete each other. A dose of excitement spices up a routine and some stability balances a hectic lifestyle.
How can I find the middle ground, an environment that offers a bit of both worlds? Am I always going to miss one of these two lives, feeling frustrated and yearning for more? Am I always going to run away and look for what I miss? Is that it? Does it explain why, once in a while, I envy people who are envying me because I’m travelling? Once I resume life at home with a job, an elevator, a neighbour, a subway system, some routine, will memories of my travel years bring a smile on my lips?
One thing is for sure: you’ll never hear me say: “I wish I had…” or “if I had known…”.
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