Autumn Transitions

Autumn in Australia is in March, April and May. I still have a hard time thinking about the seasons here that are so completely opposite from home! It was strange to have Easter in the fall, and to think that winter is up next as everyone at home is beginning to get Spring Fever. The sun worshipper I am, I’ve found myself in far north Queensland, where a fall day is averaging 85 degrees (or the high 20s in Celcius, which I am proudly becoming more comfortable using!).

I have now been traveling for 5 1/2 months, and it feels like it! I’ve started to miss the comforts of having my own apartment, of having a solid routine and the general stability that a permanent home provides. While I struggle with the concept of feeling nostalgic for these things, the very things I was so desperate to escape last year, I still know on a deeper level that I’m not finished here yet. I am still living an absolute dream, in a country that I’ve grown to love and have, at times, felt more connected to than anywhere I’ve lived in the past 3 years at home. I look around and see, remember, that I am in a tropical paradise that many only dream of visiting– with no return flight. Or even plans for my next domestic travel, for that matter. I am literally living next to the Great Barrier Reef. As I type this I actually have to smile and shake my head in disbelief. I will not lose sight of how fortunate I am, and how proud I am of myself for doing this on my own.

I’ve long wondered where I would be and how I would feel come my half way point of this year-long time in Australia. To answer my own question, I am back in Cairns, on my own, struggling with a competitive casual job market and watching the number in my bank account decrease. I am laughing at my own dramatics, but those are truly my present facts! I am not at a point of desperation by any means, but I am having a hard time finding a clear vision for what’s next. However, I do need to remember that I felt the same way going into each transition before this. The very transitions that I can now look back upon and see with such clarity, that are tied up so neatly… I can see that they’ve all occurred in the very way they were meant to occur. Get real, Gina, that isn’t going to stop now!!!

I am currently looking ahead at 6 1/2 months with the following ideas and plans:

  • Complete my 88 days of regional work to secure my second year visa eligiblity (!!!)
  • A 2 week holiday in Cairns and Bali (end of June, early July) with my galpal Taylor from home
  • A vague list of places I would still like to visit in Australia this year that includes Uluru, Perth (WA in general), Adelaide …. and pretty much every other place I’ve seen on Instagram that looks amazing let’s be honest (omg help)
  • Haydn, do you wanna hang out a few more times??? πŸ™‚

April was an easy month, filled with many things to look forward to, in both travels and company. I experienced comfortable living and the comfort of companionship. I gave myself a few “meditation retreat recovery days” in Brisbane at the end of March before flying to Melbourne on March 28th– new territory. I spent a week solo but met some great girls in my hostel and had a nice week mixed with socialization and me time (I feel like this makes me sound like a cat or something and it’s making me laugh). Dad arrived to the city on April 4th and the craziness began! In Melbourne we ate amazing brunch every day, walked the famous street art alleyways, went to a footy game, and I may or may not have ordered room service in the hotel a few times. We did a day of winery tours in the Yarra Valley and went to Phillip Island to see the Penguin Parade (look up “little penguins” so that you can tear up over how cute they are). We rented a car and drove Great Ocean Road over two days, seeing the amazing coastline, farmlands, and iconic landmarks like Bells Beach and 12 Apostles. We flew to Tasmania and went to the MONA in Hobart, walked the famous Saturday morning markets, toured Bruny Island, drove north along the Great Eastern Drive and passed through Freycinet National Park, did a sunrise hike to see Wineglass Bay, saw and learned about tasmanian devils and other native wildlife at an animal sanctuary, saw Binalong Bay, the Bay of Fires and walked the streets of Launceston. We saw the two-part Harry Potter and the Cursed Child show !!! and had incredible tapas dinners on our last two nights back in Melbourne. It was the vacation of a lifetime, for both of us. I was so pumped to see how much my Dad loved it here, and so happy to finally share with someone how amazing this country is, and how hospitable the people here are. Dad, thank you for the massive two week treat, you’re a legend. And also thank you for putting up with my cranky and hangry butt when I’ve had too much social time for the day hahaha. Love you long time.

Coincidentally, Haydn is currently living and working 3.5 hours outside of Melbourne, and had a week-long Easter holiday beginning on the day that my dad flew home. The fun continued! We booked an Airbnb in the CBD with view of the river and ocean in the distance. We finally got to hang out as real people without a schedule and it was amazing. We played mini golf, went to the RipCurl Pro at Bells, played Mario Kart at an arcade bar and had a few gin and tonics along the way. We had a lot of laughs and I’m excited to see when and where we’ll meet next. Thank you for everything H πŸ™‚

Since leaving Melbourne on April 25th, I have felt the most alone, and even a bit culture shocked, that I have been since arriving in November! I underestimated how it would feel going from Melbourne to FNQ in one day and how different the two places are, even though I’d already been up north. And despite being the independent, introverted person I am, it was also a big change to go back to being on my own. It’s difficult to admit this, but I also do not want to deny my feelings. Unfortunately, the luck of finding a job in one day (literally, one day) in Noosa has not magically carried over to this round of job searching. The hospitality job market is competitive up here at this time of year, and with the limited experience I have I am not exactly the most qualified candidate. I am fortunate that hospitality work will count towards my 88 regional work days, so the hope remains that I will find something. I spent a week in the resort town of Port Douglas and felt that it wasn’t the best fit for me (plus obviously, no work) and decided to come back down to try my luck in Cairns. I am keeping my options for work for accommodation and actual farm work open as well. I don’t think I am in the position to rule anything out at this point, and with an open schedule, why not? I also now know that the people you meet along the way often make the biggest impact, so I stay positive and hopeful that people will come into my life as I need them. Shoutout to all of you who have encouraged me and sent happy vibes my way this past week and a half; it has been much more appreciated and helpful for my mental well-being than you know!

If I stay in this area for the next few months, I would like to work on getting scuba certified! I would definitely need to be earning money to do it here since it is pretty pricey, but there is probably no better place in the world to do the certification. I’d also like to work on being more socially involved in the community as well; there is a health and wellness expo happening here this weekend (meditation marathon anyone???) and the hostel I’m in has a few social nights too. I think that once I find work and ease the pressure that I am feeling there, I’ll be able to direct a lot more of my energy towards this side of things. Sometimes I feel super self conscious of my social habits (aka my nose always in a book and going to bed at 8:00) but I have become so much more comfortable with my introverted tendencies. I am doing the things that bring me comfort and reenergize me on a daily basis, and it’s okay if that is different from others around me. I recently counted that I’ve read 20 books since leaving home!! 20! Actually one of my proudest accomplishments since being here.

On that note, it’s 10:30 PM and past my bedtime! I am lucky to have so many loved ones following along as I figure this out, thank you for reading! I certainly would be able to do this alone, but having the constant love and support makes it so much easier β™₯

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