This Adventure We Call Life

I have this friend, well he’s more a friend of a friend and he is, as they say, ‘living the dream’. He says he got sick of paying bills, sold everything he owned and went on an adventure. 

He’s been living and working in the south of France and just traipsing about Europe for the past 8 months; meeting people along the way but travelling solo for the most part. 

My life, for the most part, involves travelling 5km to work, sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day (if I’m honest, it’s more like 10 hours) and feeling like I need an extra day in the week set aside just for rejuvenation.

There are no causal 2 hour drives landing me in a completely different country. No waking up among a sunflower field. No sunset strolls at 9.30pm. No southern France beauty. 

And that’s okay because life won’t always be a holiday, but if you’re lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel, you should grab hold of that opportunity without asking questions. Travel – new experiences, people, cultures – is one of those things that truly enriches your soul. It opens your eyes and teaches you things you never even thought about learning. 

The point I am trying to articulate is that while I get caught up in the intricacies and day to day sameness of my life, there is someone out there who took a giant fucking leap. They left everything they know, every comfort they had, moved to a place they’ve never been, and started an adventure. 

An adventure; exactly what life is meant to be. We get so stuck in our own worlds, keeping our heads down and dealing with only what’s in front of us. We hear about people travelling and say ‘I wish that was me’ without realising that it could be. If that’s what you really wanted, it could be. Life is a journey and it shouldn’t be experienced from just one viewpoint; pack a bag, go on a road trip, move cities. Don’t stand still. 
No matter what’s going on in your life, no matter how busy it is, never forget that this world is infinite. It’s so much bigger than your city, your state, your country. Go and explore it, at least for a little while. 


The First Post From Melbourne Town

I have been all over the place lately. Unfortunately, that place hasn’t been within this blog. While I could sit here and make excuses, the truth is I’ve just been lazy. I’m happy to admit this because it’s been a conscious choice. I thought I would have all the time in the world to write when I moved to Melbourne. I anticipated being met with some solitude. I was wrong. It feels like I haven’t stopped since I first stepped off the plane onto Melbourne soil more than a month ago. Sometimes I can’t believe it’s been a whole month. Other times, I can’t believe it’s only been a month. Time is fickle like that.

One thing I can say for certain is that I’m very happy with this decision. In a place where so much is still so new, I’ve not once felt out of place and I believe that has a lot to do with it being the right move at the right time. Your mid twenties are a sweet spot in life – you’re old enough to be earning a decent living and therefore living a decent life, you’re selfish enough to put your needs first, brave enough to go after what you want and still young enough to make stupid mistakes without berating yourself over the notion of ‘knowing better’.

If I’m honest, even at times when I’ve complained over the past four weeks, I know this really couldn’t have gone any better. I want to write that I’ve been lucky but luck implies that there was no planning or effort involved. I have put in effort. Effort to find a good place to live, effort at work, effort to be social. I am proud of those efforts. That may sound contrived but it’s not often enough that we acknowledge our own efforts. It’s not often enough we stop and take stock of what we’ve accomplished. I’m pretty damn happy with mine.

Decluttering life.

A few weeks ago I decided to move from my hometown of Perth to Melbourne. There is now less than four weeks till I board a plane with my one way ticket and there’s never been a better time for me to go. I wanted a new challenge. I needed a change.

Relocating also means that I’m going to have to pack up my life into a suitcase – a very exciting prospect indeed. I love the idea of decluttering my life. It’s so easy to hold on to things just because they are there, without really thinking about what benefit, if any, they bring.

Over the years I’ve held on to a lot of stuff. Stuff that has been taking up space and serving no purpose. The other day I found a bunch of old high school text books stored under my bed. Why did I still have these? In case I got struck with the sudden desire to read up on the Foundations of Mathematics? Highly unlikely. They no longer served any purpose in my life. They had to go.

The same goes for clothes (so many clothes), random gifts you keep for so long that you don’t even remember who they were from anymore and, on a deeper level, insecurities, fears and even people.

Lately, my social feeds have been awash with quotes about outgrowing relationships and not having time for people who no longer benefit your life. They are right. We all change in different ways and there comes a point where you realise that certain relationships are causing you more stress than joy. I believe this can be said for both your relationships with other people and the one you have with yourself. We are each our own biggest critic and prioritising your own happiness is easier said than done.

Decluttering your wardrobe is easy. Decluttering your life is something entirely different.

But moving – moving gives you the chance to start fresh. It gives you the chance to choose what you take with you and what you leave behind. I’m going to take my strengths and try really hard to leave my doubts. I’m going to take the people who support and encourage me, who bring good vibes to my life. I will keep hold of these people even from thousands of miles away. And everything else? Well, I figure if it isn’t important enough to bring with me, I’m probably better off without it anyway.

It’s Never Too Late To Learn

A friend recently told me that, not more than two years ago, I said I didn’t care about learning things I didn’t have to know. I literally rejected learning unless I had to. I don’t remember this and could hardly believe I’d uttered those words, because I’ve changed.

Like everyone else, I’ve always been inquisitive about things that I am personally invested or interested in. I like knowing more about my personal hobbies, my favourite artists. But, apparently, I didn’t used to care about learning things that didn’t relate to me.

Looking back, I know this to be true. I didn’t take history in high school because I didn’t think I would need it later in life – a decision I have since regretted. I was wrong. It’s not that I need to know about history for my job or because I need to pass a written test, but because the test is everyday life. Knowing the dates and some details of historic events is valuable. I feel pretty silly admitting that, without Googling, I don’t know when WW2 ended. A giant, historic event and I don’t have a clue. This goes for learning about anything and everything, not just history. The more we know, the more interesting we become. The test is being able to participate in dinner party conversations; it’s finding common ground with someone at a networking function. The more you know, the better off you are.

Today, I don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want to learn new things. As I said, I’ve changed. Today, I am all about learning. We live in a time where you can find out anything about anything and you can do it on your phone. Isn’t that incredible? I am going through and watching Youtube crash courses on world history. I click the science posts that appear in my Facebook news feed. I want to talk to people who work in industries I know nothing about and gain just the slightest understanding. Everything is fascinating. There is so much to know. There is so much cool shit in the world to learn about. And the best part is, everyone is a teacher. Everyone knows something you don’t and has an experience you can learn from – we just have to ask the questions and be willing to listen.

There are always going to be some things I don’t care about and don’t care to learn about, and that’s fine. No one can know everything. But I have started to take my head out of the sand, expand my horizons, read the research paper rather than the gossip article and know that it’s never too late to learn something new.

Liz Gilbert: On Creativity and Fear

Last Saturday night I watched the ever-inspiring Liz Gilbert talk about creativity and fear. As part of the Perth Writers Festival, Gilbert spoke to a practically full house at the Perth Concert Hall – which was a testament to either how many people are interested in creativity, or how popular an author becomes once their book is turned into a movie. Hopefully it was a bit of both.

One thing to note about Gilbert is that, as well as being an acclaimed writer, she is a great public speaker. Granted, her success comes from story telling and this was not her first public talk (with two TED Talks to her name, among others), but the woman knows how to engage an audience. She knows how to give anecdotal advice. Her advice is the kind people seek out, rather than the annoying kind your great aunt gives you about how it’s time to settle down and find a man.

Gilbert spoke about how we shouldn’t strive to be fearless, for that is living without any sense of fear. And, let’s be honest – everyone is afraid. Afraid of not being good enough, smart enough, skinny enough, whatever enough. Instead, Gilbert’s advice is to acknowledge this fear, accept that it’s part of the journey but that it has to sit in the back seat; it can’t give directions, it can’t change the music and it certainly doesn’t get to drive.

Something else that came out of this talk was the idea that “done is better than good”. This one little line made me want to spring into action and just get on with everything. It also brought up two important issues; perfectionism and entitlement.

Gilbert’s idea that ‘perfectionism is just fear pretending to be fancy’ struck a chord. How many times has someone created something but never shown it to the world, for fear that it isn’t 100% perfect? How many people don’t even begin because they are convinced they won’t be good enough? We hide behind perfectionism when, in reality, we are just scared. We also often feel like we don’t deserve whatever we’re chasing (women especially). We lack any sense of entitlement. Entitlement doesn’t need to be arrogant; it is just the belief that you deserve to have what you want, and not to feel guilty for going after it.

I’ve just realised this blog, that was meant to be a review, has basically become a re-hash of what I heard. However, it was just so damn on point, interesting and important that I want to tell everyone about it. And isn’t that the sign of a good talk? One where you leave wanting to go forth and spread that same message far and wide?

Liz Gilbert’s talk resonated to the writer in me but it was also very relevant to everyday life. After all, it’s not just creatives who struggle with fear – we all do. The idea of over-coming that fear by acknowledging it, letting it be there but not in control and ultimately, just finishing what you started because while it may not be great, it will be good enough – these are ideas I hope to take with me and put into practice in all my future endeavours. It’s safe to say Liz got me thinking in all the right ways.