Blogging Retrospectively: why I am determined to see this to the end and where I am right now

It’s now May 2015 and I’m not in Asia or in Australia. I don’t want any of my readers to feel deceived since I aim for my blog posts to maintain high levels of integrity and purity of emotion. However, the truth is I fell behind with my blogging whilst travelling. I still have thousands of photos to sort through, and Australia brought with it new challenges and triumphs that required me to very much live in the moment. Not that this should eclipse my ability to blog, but it did mean that whilst diary entries were rife, translating such entries into pieces of writing that (hopefully) maintain a good balance between personal (but not too much) and engaging (reporting every aspect of each day would be bland) became somewhat difficult.

So what’s the future for the blog? I want to see it through until the end of Australia- I’ve written up few entries on Melbourne yet have developed a genuine and fond attachment to the place. My Australian family have joked that they expect me to return when I’m 25 (I’m currently 22) and it’s not outside the realms of possibility that I will. I’d like to say that there will be another point in my life where I can take some time out and see more places. I know that, by living in the UK, I am incredibly fortunate since Europe is very accessible to me. And if I’m being totally honest, there are still lots of parts of Europe I’ve yet to see. Even those that have been explored have not been viewed through the eyes of my 22 year old self. So, should the opportunity present itself, I would like to be able to blog about any future travels too (time, money and audience- I don’t know if you guys would be interested- permitting).

Right now I’m working in my home town. This period of time (let’s call it spring 2015) has had a comfortable feel- lots of routine, limited pressure. In June the tide will be changing- I can’t say whether this will be for better or for worse, but I strongly believe that life is about new challenges.

The next entries posted will pertain to Melbourne. I went to see the Great Ocean Road, and have explored places around the city including the Yarra Valley, Rosebud and Safety Beach. Completing this blog- though insubstantial and small- would mean a lot- closing the chapter but providing another source through which I can revisit those experiences. To everyone that has taken the time to read any of my blog posts- thank you 🙂 And I will be keeping a close eye on other WordPress travel blogs to see where I can be inspired to visit next!

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Why so over-jeju? My explanation to you.

Time is liquid, it ebbs and flows,

Plan for the future- sure- but who really knows?

You can anticipate, and this steers our imagination I suppose.

But the longer I go without writing,

the more my regret grows.

It’s been a while on the blog post front. I know this, and I spoke to my mum just now (trust her to feed me a strong dose of reality). She asked me when my next entry would be up, she told me my readers might lose interest because of the inconsistency of my blog entries- the fact that it has been a while since I’ve written a post which encapsulates the normal essence of my writing (my recent entry on Melbourne was an in the moment snapshot, an exception to my normal travel posts) is not great.

So I guess I am writing this for two reasons. 1. an explanation and 2. what you can expect from now on.

1. I’m in Melbourne. And I’m very happy right now. But it has not been without it’s challenges, and whilst trying to find a job, and somewhere to live, and adapting to a new dynamic (without my travel companion but with incredible friends and distant relatives) time has just disappeared ridiculously fast. When I travelled Asia, my companion disciplined me to write up my diary entries, put a post up, and gave me time to accommodate this. Here, self-discipline is key and I have so much more of my adventure to relay to you (whilst trying to monitor my current experiences and document them so that they can also go onto this blog) that I feel slightly overwhelmed. Nonetheless memory is a tricky customer, both friend and foe, and I realise as I read over old entries just how grateful I am to have posted about these experiences, to know that I can revisit them at leisure and lessen the risk of inaccurate recall.

2. You guys know I’m doing Asia and Australia. You might have read about my time in HK, Japan and part of South Korea. But as of yet, you don’t know the rest of South Korea or any of China or my second stint in Hong Kong or Melbourne. So here’s the new deal- I’ll be putting a post up weekly MINIMUM. Doesn’t matter if I’m in Melbourne, Hong Kong or London (that’s my next few months right there), I want to share with you and am so grateful for you if you’ve had the patience to wait for me, and continue to support me.

Travel is beautiful and I am fortunate to have experienced some really cool things. And what makes me so happy is knowing that you are reading an entry and in some cases, pressing that star. Because it makes me realise that although I can always improve, and some will dislike or disagree with what I have to say, there are others that have been undertaking this journey with me, and will hopefully continue to do so.

If you like, look out for my next post on Jeju Island over the next few days (hence the title- why so over-Jeju instead of why so overdue… sorry I couldn’t resist) .

And a very Happy New Year to you all  🙂

My mum asked me if I regret attempting to settle in Melbourne for a while… it made me think, but here’s my response.

It’s not been sunshine and roses (metaphorically speaking- in a literal sense, there is some sunshine). And it’s no walk in the park. But putting myself around the other side of the globe with only distant relatives to provide a temporary crash pad has taught me more than I could have anticipated.

 

I feel like I’ve been knocked down, yet (so far) my stubbornness makes me get back up (aches and all). My (relatively well-regarded) CV in the UK is scorned in Australia. Maybe it’s just my experience, but saying you’re on a “Working Holiday Visa” is like saying to an Aussie that you prefer Kiwis (New Zealanders).

 

It doesn’t go down well. At all.

 

I’ve had to deal with the rough and the smooth. The smooth was upon arrival; despite having only one Melbourne-based contact (bar the distant relatives), my friend Pum and a friend in Exeter who studied in Melbourne last year helped me. I was welcomed with open arms by Pum, her friends Bronte and Sarah and Emily’s friend Mary. So if you’re reading this, thank you so much guys! I’m really grateful.

 

I marvelled at the beauty of Melbourne in the sunlight (it’s not London in the rain), found Flinders Street to be more pleasant and easy to navigate than Paddington and Waterloo and reclined on the sand of St Kilda beach, relishing in the quirky ambience of the area-adorned with falafel shops, bars, boutiques and seafood restaurants.

 

I enjoyed the London Camden Vibe (hippy, alternative bars, charity/second hand shops) in Windsor and being able to meet generations of family I’d never met before made me feel so fortunate- like I was floating on air.

 

But soon reality settles in.

 

For the first time in my life, I don’t spend Christmas with my mum, dad and sister. There are 10,500 miles approximately (sorry metric system users) between us. And everywhere I look, reminders of Christmas- unnerving in the bright sunshine when people are wearing skorts, summer dresses and sandals.

 

I walk into Myer and David Jones (Aussie department stores) and, like their British counterparts (Debenhams and John Lewis), Christmas music is being piped out. A lady sings about how she can only dream of being home for Christmas, and I know that description is applicable to me.

 

Without the company of my closest friends or travel companion around Asia, I took this huge risk- to abandon Christmas Sweaters and an icy breeze, roast potatoes and Cadbury Roses in front of Harry Potter (and of course, Oxford Street Christmas Lights) for Xmas, my birthday and New Years in a place where I’ve only resided for a month and had never been to previously.

 

And, unlike friends who have done a year abroad or study abroad, I had no job or university course waiting for me. I’m also not in a position whereby my family can help me get a job- forget pulling strings, my distant family do not have a single thread. In spite of being incredibly lucky that I can even afford to get to Melbourne in the first place, I’m taking a total stab in the dark.

 

I’m trying to make this work, by and large alone- I say by and large because whilst family can’t help with jobs or finding somewhere to rent, they are very lovely and either let me stay at theirs or have me for dinner (or both).

 

Dozens and dozens of resumes get sent- to no avail.

 

And I view homes/share rooms/apartments in places that I thought only existed at home (South Kensington, St Albans and Rickmond- Melbourne to name a few). It’s an odd parallel between England and Australia. Close enough to feel familiar, different enough to feel foreign.

 

I’ve had a job here, a 6.30am- 8.30pm day (this includes an hour and a half travel time and back to the office, and further travel from there). Here, I had to sell car wax to innocent (and normally stressed) shoppers in Geelong (an hour and a bit outside of Melbourne). In 31 degree Celsius heat. And let me tell you (unless money is your whole life), face-to-face direct sales is every bit as unfulfilling as it sounds.

 

I quit on day 5 (though another British girl who lives 10 minutes from where I live at home and started at the same time as me quit after 2 hours).

 

But I have never chucked in a job before purely because I felt it was making me that unhappy. It taught me that no matter how stubborn you are, if a job is a bit meh but you need the money- do it. But if it makes you weep, almost faint with exhaustion and involves bosses that are still yet to pay you for the hours you’ve worked…

 

Cut your losses and get out of there (a.k.a. what the other British girl did).

 

And during my time in Melbourne, I’ve had to learn to rely on my own instincts more, and grow accustomed to being on my own.

 

As a resident singleton and future owner of a house filled with 50 cats to keep me company, some may think I’d grow used to this kind of lifestyle. But as an outrageous extravert with a good circle of friends at home, I’ve never really had to until now.

 

I went to view a property in a part of Melbourne I had never been before two days ago. In spite of what the bright sunshine conceals, alarm bells rang about the area.

 

I knew nothing about the place, but walking through two alleyways and a park to get between the train station and road (with no more direct routes available) set warning bells chiming.

 

Those same warning bells chimed even more after the block I viewed was offering a reward for a resident injury in the foyer and the front door of the flat looked like it could be kicked down by a 4 year old in the midst of a temper tantrum.

 

So maybe that property was not ideal for me. Onto the next ten viewings.

 

I’ve missed my friends, felt emotional watching my distant relatives share time together in a way that (I feel) one can only share with their immediate family and friends, those who know you that well and love you unconditionally for all your flaws.

 

I’ve left ample voicemails on my one remaining Grandma’s voicemail because I don’t want to not speak to her when I haven’t seen her for a while.

 

I’ve roamed around in a daze wondering whether today, a job application (normally fruitless) will actually bear fruit. During breaks from completing other job applications.

 

On paper, Melbourne sounds like a mistake. Iknow my mum is starting to think like that.

 

But despite the layer of obviousness which radiates with failure, there are some personal triumphs concealed but very much present under the surface.

 

I am more resilient and self-sufficient than I have ever realised (though I do still take life too seriously).

 

And I have bonded with people (Aussie residents and distant family) who I would never have been able to spend time with were it not for landing myself in Melbourne.

 

Should I regret my decision to come here? I wonder what you guys, my readers, think?

 

If nothing else, I tried, and removed myself far out of my comfort zone. And for that, I just can’t regret.