About a year ago, I wrote about being granted a working holiday visa in Australia. In the end, I did decide to take the giant leap of faith forward into the unknown, and the payoff was priceless.
My year in Australia was amazing. For the first time in a while, I felt extremely proud of myself. I flew to the other side of the world completely alone, with no money, no family, no friends, and no confidence. By the end, I left with all of those and more.
Now I knew that I had some family in Australia, but I didn’t know just how much. When I landed, I was greeted by my Teta Ljubica with the warmest, most genuine hug I’ve ever received. She spotted me without even knowing what I looked like. The feeling was unreal. I felt so, so welcome and the hug initiated a chain of positive events in my life, because my first steps onto Australian soil were filled with positivity, acceptance, and hope.
She told me stories about my family history, and I learned so much about who I was and where I came from. My great-grandfather escaped Yugoslavia during WWII, and settled in Australia where his descendants would all be born and live currently.
However, my great-grandfather did not bring his son with him, and he was left behind in Yugoslavia. That’s why my dad was born there. It’s crazy to think that, had everything gone as planned, we would be living in Australia with the rest of our family. Instead, my dad emigrated to Canada and we’ve been pretty alone here with a small handful of family members.
Learning about this family history triggered my own inward journey of self-exploration and discovery. I plunged into the depths of my soul to figure out who I was, and understanding my background provided a lot of leverage for this journey, surprisingly. The feeling of rootedness inspires feelings of security, which helped me become more grounded as I ratified who and what I felt I was meant to be.
I opened up what seemed to be Pandora’s Box – and the result was thrilling. I gained new family, and made all sorts of friends. I succeeded in the workplace, too.
The best part of my journey in Australia was moving to Sydney. What a dream city Sydney is – it’s the ultimate destination. No city in Canada can compare.
When I got there, I learned to stand on my own two feet, and to trust myself that I could get through anything alone. I developed strength I had no idea I could own. We won’t always have a shoulder to cry on – sometimes you need to trust in your own neck and shoulders to keep your chin up. You need to trust that you can get through anything. That the world, though big and scary and strange, will not eat you whole if you’re alone. You can navigate yourself.
My social skills improved, my confidence, and relationship skills – because I gained all of these while there. I even got into The University of Sydney to complete my PhD – which had been a dream of mine since forever ago.
I went through a lot of changes and growth in Australia. I feel like a new, more capable person.
For anyone who feels stuck, who feels they need to grow, who feels they need more confidence, who feels they don’t trust in themselves – I highly recommend taking a leap of faith and experience living in another part of the world completely alone. You will learn so much about yourself.
In a new world, you’re able to be whoever you want to be. You get to create your new self, and shed all that was holding you back before. Putting your best foot forward is easy when you can leave all your baggage at home.
When you come home, you’ll see the “trash,” the bits and pieces of yourself that no longer serve you, has taken itself out. You will be a new person, and you’ll love the person you’ve become. Because you took control and forged a path toward the truest expression of your best self.
No matter what, no matter how much money I could have made or saved staying at home working, nothing is worth more than the memories I made in Australia that I will carry in my heart forever.
That’s what life is all about.