In March 2015, I landed in Australia (after an exploratory diversion in Thailand) and it felt like this was the dream. Sunny climes, sandy beaches and the relaxed Aussie fair dinkum approach to life. Here I could make myself a home and live the dream.
It's now August 2017 and I'm sitting alone at home in my gorgeous unit on the outskirts of Adelaide, crying.
Oh don't feel too sorry for me, I'm living the dream!
The thing is, "living the dream" actually means, "the dream is now my reality". And in reality, people cry.
The thing about travel is that you never settle long enough in one place for reality to sink in. You don't become a permanent resident. You're a traveller, just passing through, experiencing and enjoying the newness of everything all the time.
Right now I've got flu, I'm anxious about money, fed up of winter, and sick of waiting for my visa. I can't go on holiday and I can't make any plans. I'm stuck.
Maybe you would still feel on top of the world in my shoes. But tell me this, if you had asked me to describe my dream 3 years ago, the above paragraph would not have been it.
But you know what? It should have been. Why? Because "the dream" doesn't actually exist. Life, by its very nature, consists of good and bad. Poverty and fortune, sickness and health, uncertainty and stability.
And each and every time we say "just as soon as I change jobs" or "once I've got a baby or a house or a car... I'll be happy," we're wrong. Oh sure, I guess these things bring joy into our lives, but they don't remove the discomfort or the pain. The downsides of life are as part of life as the upsides. That's just common sense. You can't just keep going up and up and up now, can you? Or even coast along the steady waters of life on an even keel, because the waters of life are apt to be a little rough, even stormy at times.
You probably know all this already. I'm certainly not saying anything that hasn't been said before. But how often does a travel blogger write about the time they were miserable, or sick with a virus and all their belongings were stolen/lost/damaged, or they missed all their friends back home and they just wanted to curl up? Not often. 'Cos nobody wants to hear about that. It kills the dream.
Call me a terrible travel blogger if you like for writing what nobody wants to hear, I don't care. Maybe by killing the dream I'm showing insight into a reality that's more interesting and rewarding than the dream, because it's real. And anyone who's thinking of uprooting themselves to follow their dream abroad deserves to know that it isn't paradise. (Also, haven't you seen The Beach?!)
So as I sit here teary eyed, my throat red raw and my body aching, I remember that if I'm crying while living my dream that just means that it's working. It doesn't mean I made a mistake, it's not a sign that something's wrong or it's time to go home.
It means the dream is real and I'm achieving my goal.
Thanks for reading! If you're thinking of moving to Australia... You might find these blog posts useful:
--> Things To Do Before You Go
--> Things To Do When You Arrive