“Until next time, thank you for flying with us.”
The captain’s voice over the loudspeaker sent a chill down my spine. It meant that we had landed. It meant that I was here, in Sydney, about to meet the family I would be living with for the next six months.
I shook my head in disbelief. What am I doing?
Rewind to six months earlier, when I was sitting in my apartment, holding a graduation cap. The way I saw it, I had two options. I could venture into the bleak, post-college job market, take a nine-to-five, and wait all year for those two-week vacations. Or I could pack up my entire life, move to a new city and chase after my true love: travel.
At university, I took dozens of classes, read hundreds of books and wrote an endless amount of essays, but there was only one thing I knew for certain; I was completely and utterly lost.
The thought of taking an office job scared me much more than the thought of packing up and moving.
You see, I had never been the type of girl that could stay in one place for very long. I’m the girl who took off for an entire year on a study abroad program in Copenhagen (though there was very little studying being done that year—don't tell my parents). I’m the girl who dreams of moonlit canals and the sparkling Eiffel Tower. I’m the girl with her head in the clouds, which is why the thought of taking an office job scared me much more than the thought of packing up and moving.
I just knew I had to go somewhere, anywhere. My gut told me that the answer to the “What am I going to do with my life?” question I had been asking myself over and over again was waiting for me in a new city. I pulled out my map, the one I marked with all the places I’ve visited. That’s when I knew.
I had always wanted to go (not just because we share the same name, though that was a plus), but had never had the extended period of time to make a trip Down Under worthwhile. I had friends there that could help me get on my feet. What was I waiting for?
I spent the next few weeks crouched over my laptop, researching the city, the visa requirements and the job opportunities. I also had to take a big (and extremely painful) look at my finances. I eventually settled on the idea of being an au pair. I submitted an application to InterExchange, who sent me over to an agency in Australia. From there, I was connected to a family who lived in the southern suburbs of Sydney.
That brought me to sitting on a plane, waiting to meet the people I would spend the next six months working for.
As the plane came to a stop, I pulled out my journal, and scribbled down six words from my favourite poem: "For the adventure of being alive."
I always find comfort in these words, especially when I can feel myself shrinking back from a new experience. Here I was: a new city, a new job, a new place to call home. It was all for the adventure of being alive.
I took a deep breath and stepped off the plane.Add this article to your reading list