I didn't want to come home, I tried to prolong "home" as much as I could, to the point that it made me broke. I tried to keep the party going and didn't want to accept the idea that my life is sometimes not going to work out the way I want it to and sometimes, shit happens. When my visa ended, it was time to leave, I didn't have a house or job anymore, my money dwindling, I got a cool opportunity in Germany just in the right timing for when I needed to leave London, which would soften the blow ; it was then that I knew it was time to pack my bags. This wonderful life I have had for 2 years, this worldwide adventure, the passage of time, it now needs to end. The chapter closed and another to open.... So after Germany, I boarded the plane home.
Jobless, homeless and penniless... that was my life! I went from living it up in London (kinda) to sleeping on a mate's air bed in suburban Sydney. (Not that I wasn't grateful for the airbed and help). I was jetlagged for at least a week. I was emotional, I was trying to transcend from one life style to another and without wanting to. That was perhaps the hardest part.
Mates you really did miss that you have not seen in ages, what a gold mine!...
When the reality of leaving London had hit me, the fight had landed, the battle lost; I accepted the reality and tried to be positive, "Oh, it will be great when I get back to Sydney" I thought - A chance to catch up with everyone, make them all envious of my great adventure, tell all the stories and re-live it all... but no!
At first, it's great, everyone wants to catch up with you, telling your stories is more difficult than you think because 2 years is a long time to gather stories, and to be honest, most of them you really can't tell anyway, they have seen it all on facebook or the blog. Your stories are overwhelming and trying to tell them just makes you more depressed. So instead, my friends tell me what they have been up to. All that sinks into my head is how much I have changed and how alone I feel. The one clinging stone I had was my friends and seeing them again, but the more I see my friends the more I know our lives have changed, I no longer feel I can be the "me" I became when I'm around them.
Not all of my friends are exactly jumping at the chance to be around me and embellish me in a parade, they have a life as well; why would I expect anything else. I realise that life carried on after I left. I was no glue to hold anyone's life into place. Life carried on and I changed.
I knew it would be hard. When I spent the last of my savings on another trip to Germany, I kinda knew it was a bad idea, but I was living in the moment, trying to make the most of it all, stretch out my time in Europe and prolong the inevitable.
My new life was now depressing! I couldn't sleep, I was waking up at 4 am constantly (probably because of the jet lag the airbed, or the stress of knowing I needed a job and fast.) I didn't have a phone because I couldn't afford credit, I work on pride and lending money was something that hurt me. So I feel isolated from the world. The once exciting social life I had, now gone and I was slowly picking my life back up piece at a time.
I couldn't even buy a bottle of wine to drown my sorrows!
I was embarrassed, I felt like friends and family were judging me for allowing myself to get in this situation - how dare they?! They didn't know how easy it was to be reckless when you're on a trip of a lifetime with a time limit. They didn't understand I lost my job 3 months before my visa expired. They didn't know what I was going through or had been through... Would you of turned down that trip to Germany to come home quickly?! Whatever the case, I was broke and making excuses and feeling guilty.
I remember a good friend of mine that I visited in Wales had talked to me about her time coming back to the UK after living in Australia on a Holiday working visa, I could relate, she was depressed, wanted to do anything to get away. So whilst I sat around looking for jobs every hour of the day, I reminised on her telling me about her struggles. (This would lead me to reminisce able being about to pop on a bus from London to Wales visit her and see medieval castles and eat fish and chips by the cold seaside.)
Moving back to dads
My family although they missed me, they are not the kind of people to show emotion. So there was no giant party and ballooons, no talk of how they couldn't live without me. They were not begging for me to come and see them every day. They also had their own lives. Even my dogs didn't seem to care. 🙁
I decided to not move back in with my dad, I was head strong - I knew I wanted to keep my independence no matter how tough things got. (That's what I had moved to London for). I crashed with a friend of mine, who really helped me in this time of need. I still didn't feel any independence and when I started to feel like I was just over-staying my welcome and getting in her way, I had no choice but to move back to dads.
This was hard, it was great to be spending time back with family, but the same things that stressed me out before London, had not changed. Any talk of wanting another trip, or any spiraling fantasies I had (for which there are many) my family are quick to bring me back to reality. "Bec, you have no money, how are you possibly going to go to Africa in 4 months".... pfft, dam realists.
I struggled with the family; it seemed like I just wanted to keep acting the way I had in London, full of irresponsible fun; filled with being away from anyone who cared for me like a family member to tell me to grow up or be careful or wonder what's going on in my life. Suddenly I was telling people where I was going, what I was doing. A night out on the town was noted by my dad who would ask how my head was the next day, pointing out I drink too much, eat too much, should be saving more before I dream about more trips, left my rubbish on the table.... I felt like a 25-year-old turned 15 again.
Maybe if I had of left London willingly things would have been different, but they were not. I struggled with the next few months, even when I had finally found a job and moved out. I wasn't happy. It's safe to say that this unhappiness continued until it slowly tippled down and faded (slightly) the more independence I gained and the more time went by.
I was drinking too much, trying to relive London. I struggled with the night life being so horrible in Sydney compared to London. Stricter laws, less clubs and worst music, a different attitude by the crowds. A lot of my friends in Sydney lived in the outer suburbs and didn't go out a lot for night-life, I did in London and didn't want that to stop. Apart from that, we all wanted very different things, I had grown very different from a lot of my good friends. I felt judged by my friends. Eventually, I learnt to ignore that feeling, which was a great life lesson. I discovered meetup and met new friends, like-minded friends.
My views were looked at as immature by family. I want a life of travel, I wanted to get back on the road as soon as possible. My family suggest I find a nice boy, buy a house, work on my career, settle down. It was frustrating trying to explain myself to them. I missed London so much and I would speak about it a little too much - friends would see that as dissing my own country, dissing them - I couldn't win anyway that I looked at it.
This isn't London anymore
It wasn't all the worst thing imaginable to be back to my home town. There were certain things that was nice about being back. At first, I had a sense of relief at being home. Seeing everyone again and hopefully earning some decent money and not living like a student anymore. I was excited to spend time with family and friends (up until they got on my nerves, in the most loving way possibly).
It was strange to be back at first, the weather, the time zones, the accents and the big houses, the wide path ways... there was so many things that made me nostolgic about Australia and made me feel glad to be back....
Certain shopping centres, suburbs and slang words I would hear would give me a sense of, dare I say it... "home" After all I spend 23 years of my life in this country and only 2 in England.
Oh yes, the power plugs, I remember how they look, all so very different. The shower heads; I really am happy to be back to these shower heads; and the taps, the shower taps from the home that I spent 23 years of my life in. I notice how wide the pathways are, how safe we drive, I notice our trees, my friend who had been in Australia from Germany had said to me 'but Australia has very unique tree" and I just thought WTF you talking bout Willis, but now I know, the bark tree, the wide spread leaves. I notice the smell and the sounds of birds that I never did before. The heat (though it was our winter) the humidity and the gates, the lock on gates, the clothes lines, larger houses and back yards, these are all just a few things that I noticed, the wider roads and large expense of the country that I didn't realise before leaving. The accents and attitudes that all now seem like an Australia stereotype.
I walk back into my childhood bedroom, the horrible paint job, the vast amount of possessions and clothes that no longer fit me. I walk down the street of my childhood house and see all the changes to the street, the amount of emotion is overwhelming and I start to not even know what I'm thinking anymore, how to act, the amount of emotion, oozing out now feels like some fake soap opera tv show. It was exhausting. I felt like this for a long time before things started to stop reminding me that I left home. That I made that life-changing transition. Returning back home was an emotional chapter in life. Regardless, of what people said, what I felt and what I knew, my Wanderlust never stopped and I am still counting my pennies and planning my next trip. But for now, I have to learn to travel my city, there are certainly worst cities to be living in.