My story really begins in one of those small towns; the kind where being born there could mean marrying your high school sweetheart, popping out a couple of kids, growing old and dying there. Or being the victim of child abuse with survival likely leading to teen pregnancy, domestic abuse and drug overdose. Some of the greatest people I know will never leave my hometown, and I don’t judge them for it but I think we all knew I was never going to stay when the world is so big and the romantic notion of adventure will always call.
As soon as I possibly could I left my home town to move to the bright lights of the big city. I worked a few different jobs from hospo to retail and eventually found myself working in a corporate call centre.
At 23 I had everything I could theoretically want; a stable job, a car, a gorgeous Michael Hill Jeweller rock on my finger, a craft room filled with all the tools for all my hobbies.
But I wasn’t happy.
I knew I wasn’t living up to my full potential. I wasn’t clear on what exactly I wanted out of life, but I knew it wasn’t the life I saw in front of me.
I wanted adventure. I wanted to travel and reunite my long lost family. I wanted to find a greater purpose in my life.
So I quit my job, sold everything, and bought a one-way ticket to China to do an internship teaching English for 6 months.
You know in cartoons when the boss gets mad, goes red and the steam goes out of his ears? That’s exactly how my boss, my mum and most of my friends reacted. They questioned, they pleaded and they tried to hold me back.
“I can’t tell if you’re joking or having a mental breakdown??”
“But you don’t even speak Chinese!”
“Kiwi’s only fly as far as Aussie, you can’t move to CHINA!”
And the more they protested, the more empowered I felt. Because no one packs their shit and moves to China… That makes me a pioneer!
I became a master at flipping the script on them, laughing off their fears and using them as fuel to keep studying my TEFL course.
It was great.
Until the plane started descending.
What the fuck was I thinking?! NO ONE MOVES TO CHINA! Especially the first time they leave the country! Extra especially when they don’t even know where they are going to be living for 6 months! But I had the moxie to buy a one-way ticket. I trusted that whatever life threw at me, I would handle it. I wanted to push myself because I knew that the challenge would force me to grow as a person.
And logically, the plane was going to land anyways.
So I didn’t really have any choice but to keep breathing and putting one foot in front of the other. Follow the crowd that was also going through immigration. Fill in the Arrival Card. Hand over my passport. Get the stamp.
And that was it.
Well okay, not really. Click here for Part Two.