I never thought a holiday would change my perception of things. Meeting friends, seeing places, experiencing cultures is all part of a holiday. But re-assessing your life and changing what you thought you were meant to do is something I will cherish forever.
I came on this trip to get away from Perth. I was sick of the people, the places, the same week by week rush of work and play. So I quit my job, packed my bags, and set of for a 2 month adventure of ‘self discovery’. I didn’t actually think I was going to find myself.
My whirlwind adventure started in Viva Las Vegas. I met my Contiki group just before we jumped into a limo to ride the streets. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t scared at all. I want so excited to meet new people, dance with foreign boys, and see what I could take from America. After skipping through the southern states (Dallas being my favorite, ask me why ;)) I came to Florida. By this stage I was so ready for a beach. Ready to lie on the sand, splash in the water. I didn’t realize how much I actually missed this, considering when I started I wanted nothing more than to get away from the usual ‘lano weekend’. I didn’t know what to expect from an American beach. Some were amazing, some were average, but all were tacky, commercialized and full of tourist. This only made me realize how much I missed Western Australian beaches. And how much I missed my friends.
Once I got to New York, my Contiki trip was over. The friends I had made over the last month by spending every day together were all going their separate ways. Some where continuing on their travels, others were unlucky enough to be going home. All of them promised to stay in touch, come see me in Perth, meet me when I come to Europe. Although at the time I believed them, I now wonder a month on, after they have met new friends, or returned to their old friends in life, if those promises will be kept.
After spending an amazing week in the big apple, is was time to meet my second family. This trip was totally different from the word get go. After traveling 700kms in the first day, we had played an intense game of ‘would you rather’ which broke the ice in a ridiculous way. We already had nicknames for each other, and were chatting like old friends. Once we hit Chicago, we had two nights that would confirm our friendships for life. Drinking, laughing and karaoking to wonderwall made our family of 10 tighter.
After a few national parks and charming cities, we came to what I thought would be my favorite part. Canada. Don’t get me wrong, I did love Canada, but i did feel a little too at home, which is not what I wanted. Banff was a 50% Australian town, so every second ‘local’ I spoke to was someone I was trying to get away from. But they did know how to party, and that meant I had a wonderful time. I will definitely be returning there, whether the Canadian government wants me to, or not.
Vancouver was disappointing. Not because I didn’t like it. But because I didn’t have enough time there at all. I saw the inside of my hostel and a tattoo parlor. Another one for my ‘when I return’ list.
Once I hit Seattle, I was falling in love with the west coast. As they say, West coast Best coast! Just like home. Seattle was that hipster, funky town just like Fremantle, and spending more time in one of the two states that have legalized recreational weed is definitely on my list to return to.
Once we were California bound I knew I had found my American home. The beach was the highlight everywhere I went. It was that laid back ‘it’s Cali dude’ attitude, that I was so accustomed too from home. Venice beach, where I spent my last day in America, was where I could see myself living in the summer. Beautiful beaches, tacky tourist traps, and the odd ‘happy herb’ ;)
Not wanting to go back to reality just yet, I changed my flights and hired a wicked van on route to Newcastle. In the 6 days I spent with my best friend, we traveled to so amazing coastal areas. First stop was Trail Bay. After an early morning swim and bacon and eggs on the beach, we set off for Byron Bay. As to be expected, it was touristy, hippie, indie and alternative all at the same time. We spent the raining morning there before getting lost on our way to Nimbin. What do I say about Nimbin. It is so much more than the ‘weed capital of Australia’. It was the people, the culture and the way they work with the police rather than against. The last night in Station Creek Campsite was lovely, and I definately want to spend more time there. The beach was to die for, and the creek was lovely to laze by in the sun.
The beach, the beach, the beach. It’s all I ever take about, right? Well it’s my life. It’s what I do to escape. It’s where I go when I can’t cope. It’s how I breathe. As most of you know, I’m not a surfer. I don’t live near the beach, and I don’t spend every day there. But it’s where some of my best memories are. In Cervantes as a kid with Mum, Dad and Alex. At lano for my first ever RAM. Two peoples bay for an amazing summer. I just love the water. I love the beach, and I love getting that sun kissed glow.
It’s going to be hard to come back to Perth. Not because I don’t love my home, but because I have re-assessed everything I’ve ever wanted to do with my life. A career and a family is what I wrote I wanted in my year 12 yearbook. Now I couldn’t think of being anything further from that. I want to explore each country extensively. I want to see what makes our cultures different, and why history happened. I want to meet new people and see new things. I want to put myself out of my comfort zone and see where it takes me.
Reality is going to be hard to come back to. Making money to pay bills, weekend/weekday balance, my family and my parents are responsibilities I left in Perth when I wandered away. But that’s life isn’t it. Suck it up and work hard in order to be able do it all again.
Next up: Europe. Watch out, I’m coming for you!