In high school, while my friends struggled to decide what they wanted to “be”, I had it sorted.
I would study journalism at university and then work at my local newspaper. I’d stay there for a few years to get a good grounding in the industry before moving to the UK on a working holiday visa. That would last two years and then I would come back to Australia and perhaps edit a newspaper or a magazine. That’s if I hadn’t already scored my dream job as a foreign correspondent.
Sure enough, in 2007, degree in hand, I started work at that very paper. Four years later I jumped on a plane to Europe with a UK working visa glued into my passport.
Life was going to plan.
That was about the time the predictability ended. Travel can do that to you.
Over the last three years my life has become a lot less structured. If there is one thing I have learnt over and over again it’s that making plans is a wonderful waste of time.
There was a time when I could think a year ahead and have a pretty good idea where I’d be and what I’d doing. But a few months into expat life I realised my “plans” couldn’t allow for the all the opportunities that come up in travel and in life.
When I left Australia in 2011 I never imagined I’d be away as long as I was. Some of the things I’ve done and places I’ve been weren’t remotely on my radar 12-months earlier. I’d never heard of The Lake District in England until two weeks before I moved there for a year.
I’ve embraced the unpredictability of my lifestyle. Instead of planning things for weeks, months or years, I’ve taken to making sudden decisions, trusting my instincts and taking comfort knowing the worst that can happen probably isn’t that bad.
So a few weeks before my flight to Canada, I began to toss around ideas and options, excited to see where I might end up. I applied for jobs and cancelled my phone contract, but two weeks out I was no closer to knowing if I would spend another winter in Vancouver or perhaps move somewhere new. It was all up in the air. Having been through the whole “quit-my-job-and-move-across-the-world” thing a few times now, I wasn’t stressed.
Then I got an out-of-the-blue offer to return to Tasmania.
I accepted the offer in 12 minutes. Sometimes you just know when something is right.
So instead of flying to Canada today as planned, I’ll fly back to Tasmania on Saturday. It’s all happened very quickly. The paperwork for the job isn’t finalised yet and I only booked my flight to Hobart last night.
I don’t know how much I’ll be working or for how long. I’ve been asked to fill some casual short-term vacancies at my old job as a newspaper sub-editor, and between my time in South Australia and an intense weekend at the Problogger Training Event on the Gold Coast, I haven’t thought too much about it.
Going back to Tasmania is a dramatic change of direction. Returning to Canada was about the only thing I had been sure of for the last few months and it took just a few minutes for me to cast that aside.
A large part of the appeal is rejoining the team I used to work with. Seriously – these people are my grammar idols! I’ve enjoyed working in tea houses and youth hostels, but I’ve always been a journalist at heart. I’m also looking forward to having a bit of stability. I’ve got a lot of goals for Pegs on the Line and my writing and it will be nice to have the time and energy to bring those to life.
It doesn’t hurt that I’ll be in Australia for AFL finals (my team finished third on the ladder) and have more time with my friends and family. Then there are the practical benefits, such as being able to save money without the expense of relocating somewhere new and doing some work on my investment property myself, rather than paying someone else. And after working for just four months in the last 13, who am I to complain about a job?
Earlier in the year I would have felt differently about returning to Tasmania. By differently I mean I wouldn’t have considered it for a second. I had trouble coming to terms with being back in Vancouver in January and also coming home to Australia, even for a few months. We’ve all experienced the post-holiday blues, whether it’s going back to work on Monday after a weekend get-away or coming home after a year-long backpacking trip. Living in Tassie after three years of globe-trotting would have felt like the end of something really big.
But I’ve moved around enough in the last three years (a friend told me the other day they had six international phone numbers for me) to know that coming back to Tasmania doesn’t have to be the end of anything.
So what happens to my travel blog if I’m not travelling? Thanks to my procrastination skills you can expect a stack of travel stories from my adventures last year including posts from Turkey, Albania, Finland and Estonia. I’ve already promised you some great tales from my Outback Roadtrip and I’ll also writing a lot about Tasmania (finally). My frantic month in June didn’t provide many blog-worthy experiences, so I’m excited to share more of my home state with you.