As I finish this post from my parents back veranda, I am pondering whether I have betrayed my dreams. Having departed Tapachula and spending a day in Mexico City and we’ve both flown to respective home countries till we meet up again in Australia in a few weeks. All things going to plan.
All things going to plan, what does that really mean? If my former plan was still in motion I would be getting ready to travel south through the rest of Central America before heading onto South America. I am trying not to feel robbed of the experience but in actual fact I have had an amazing if not different 7 months and if my plan had happened I wouldn’t have fallen in love.
So I didn’t get to 12 months. I did travel for 7 months and managed to visit 8 countries (Spain, Portugal, Senegal, Cuba, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Hong Kong), walk 800km across Spain, fall in love, visit my sponsor child, travel the length of Cuba, meet amazing people and realise more about myself than ever before.
When I first decided to take 12 months off and travel I knew it would change and challenge me. I departed confident and happy but also a little angry at how I had been responsible for the past few years being stressful.
Today, I am still grieving the lose of our beautiful angel but I am not grieving the time I spent becoming the person I am. Talking with another expat recently I realised going home is actually a really hard thing to do.
I am so completely different to the girl who left for a contractor job in Afghanistan in October 2009. Sure, I had been to Europe and served in both East Timor and the various countries in the Middle East Area of Operations but I wasn’t fully aware of the freedom I truly had.
I’ve had the opportunity to visit 44 (3 more if you count some transit countries). 17 countries prior to October 2009 meaning in the last 4 years I have visited 26 countries! Not bad! A vast number of those countries have been war torn or very improvised. Children not being able to read or write, who are forced into slavery or sex-trafficking. Women who face unbelievable hardships and men who struggle to find ways to earn money. Some of those men are driven to terrorism to support their families rather than for ideological ideas.
Whilst I am excited to sit on the back veranda at home with my family I am already feeling like a fish out of water. We don’t have concrete plans for the future, do we stay in Australia, do we go to Spain, do we go somewhere else. I have no idea where I will be in 3 months time. That is ok.
After just over 4 years I have been living and working overseas I have been truly blessed and my gratitude for my life has meant my passions have changed. They now lie with helping others, whether it be through my blog, coaching people on the difficult personal challenges we all face from time to time, children in developing countries or in the book outlines waiting for me to write the words.
Traveling has made me realise I don’t need all the ‘things’ I have. My drive for a minimalist lifestyle will be difficult. For a long time I have been surrounded by things. I have beautiful furniture, thousands of books and all kinds of stuff. Sorting through my life will be a trip down memory lane but a very cleansing one.
So the plans of Costa Rica for Christmas, cycling the Death Road in Bolivia, hiking the Inca trail and visiting friends in Chile have been put on hold for now. They are all still places and things I want to do and I am not letting go of those ideas, just the plan to do it now.
For now the plan is actually a little complex. My list of things to do is growing every day:
Personal to do list:
- Doctor’s appointment (check up for everything including skin!!)
- Re-boot health and fitness
- Hair cut
- Start ‘No Poo Challenge’
- De-own and de-clutter (Terry’s ISO, Mum’s farm, Cudgerie)
- Sell all unwanted belongings via ebay/garage sale/gumtree/any means possible!
- Create a refined wardrobe – sort through clothes from Australia, Dubai and my travel clothes
- File taxes – probably should have done this each year but I wasn’t paying tax in Australia (weak excuse!!!)
Free-Range-Human to do list:
- Finish first draft of: ‘Many Steps, One Journey: Aussie Butterfly’s Camino de Santiago’ (working title)
- Find copywriter to proof draft and then publish!!!
- Finalise portfolio career
- Finalise Women’s Self-Esteem Afternoon Tea program
- Create 28 Day E-Course
- Soap making course (Melt & Pour, Cold Press – Goats Milk and Beeswax & Honey)
Foods that must be eaten:
- Bega Cheese
- Samboy Salt & Vinegar Chips
- Step-Dad’s eggs
- Anything BBQed at home
- Roast – Lamb or Chicken
- Grilled chicken wings
- Tim Tams
- Melted beta cheese with vegemite and avocado toast
I know I could add a lot more to this list but for now I will leave it too only that.
Coming home is hard but I am very grateful I have such an amazing partner, a wonderful family and friends all over the world that anywhere I lay my backpack could be called home. Plus I can write anywhere in the world so this is just another chapter I get to write!