It’s a weird feeling to have your dream come true. To know you’ve conquered it. To have set goals and spent countless seconds, minutes, hours, days and weeks fantasizing about what it would be like, imaging how it would feel, picturing it becoming a reality. Then to have it happen; in some ways exactly how you’d expected it to be and in some ways more different than your wildest dreams. It’s not sad exactly, because you achieved it, but it’s weird. Like, what do you dream of now?
For months Australia glittered like a trophy at the end of a finish line. For years, really. Even before I realized it, it was the promise that got me through high school and university and the awkward grey area that comes after 17 years of organized schooling: The dream of the hope that hard work would actually pay off just like they tell you it will and that there actually WAS adventure to be had in this world that can be so rigid if you accept it to be. I didn’t even know it but I’d been dreaming of this all my life.
Australia embodied all of that for me. To have actually done it leaves me with a sense of pride, confidence and empowerment that I didn’t have before. But it also leaves me with a major sense of “what now.” Because now I know that if you want something badly enough, if you work for something hard enough, if you’re brave enough to accept unexpected challenges and gamble with some big risks…there’s a real good chance you’ll actually make it happen.
I’m so inexplicably thankful for all that this year has brought me. For the highs… jumping out of a plane at 14,000 feet, snorkeling with sharks and fish in the Great Barrier Reef, dancing like crazy on a yacht cruising under the Harbor Bridge, forming unforgettable friendships with humans from (literally) every corner of this planet, creating a home within an amazing community with somebody I love… and the lows, not being able to find work, worrying about how I was going to afford my next meal, being away from family during some of the most difficult situations life can hand you.
I’ll never forget the feeling of walking into Wake Up Hostel in Sydney on my first day and overhearing and participating in conversation after conversation about travel and world views and immediately knowing I’d made the best and most right decision of my entire life. That I’d finally found some other people who couldn’t stomach the idea of doing what everyone else was doing just for the sake of fitting in. Who dreamt of seeing the world and had the guts to make it happen, no matter what.
Yes I may be coming home with a bank balance of $0 but I have learned lessons and gained experiences that will last me longer than any paycheck ever could.
I’ll carry this with me forever.