Most mornings, I have a shift at work. Work at my beloved burger place, where I’ve been happily, if not repetitively, whittling away at a job for the last two years of my weird existence. I catch a bus and a train to get there. People get on and off – sometimes with prams, sometimes with headphones planted in their ears, sometimes arguing with siblings over bus money dropped on the footpath on the walk over.
I always read articles, quotes and novels laughing at people like me – people who have such a set routine that it makes their life feel like it’s passing by quickly. My days feel long and tiring. Yet somehow, my weeks, months and years feel extremely short. I’m amused by people who post a standard, “Oh my god, where did the year go?!” Facebook status every New Year’s Eve, but I’ve recently realised that the last few years, that person has been me.
Thirty hours of work every week. Thirty hours of work a week alongside full-time university, all whilst trying to be a normal 19-to-21-year-old girl and attempting to have a life. Saving just to save. Cancelling plans I’ve made with friends because I have a shift at the burger joint I work at. And for what?
I’m not trying to dim down the company itself; it’s an amazing place to work with amazing perks: friendship, flexible hours and free food sure to slide its way to your thighs when you choose the hot chips over the lettuce come mid-shift feed time. I’m more hating on the way I’ve viewed life as a whole.
When I look back on the last two years, I can list more customers’ names than I can experiences. I probably know more exact orders than I’ve done trips down south on weekends. And I never realised how dull or mechanical I was being until I spent a month in Bali doing a travel-writing internship late last year.
Writing is my passion. I don’t promise to be good at it – I mostly just jumble words together on paper from the jumble in my head. It’s not a marriage or a long term relationship, more a summer fling, a one-night stand… something I love doing, but only pick up on occasion and without commitment – another negative that came from working too much and living too little.
It took about two days into my trip to realise that going back to Perth, where I’ve been living since 2005, wasn’t really what I wanted to do.
I met a group of 30 people – impulsive, erratic party animals – and would come back to the hostel to them sometimes hungover, sometimes crying, sometimes bleeding. One night I even discovered a block of my store-bought cheese half-gone, with a handwritten apology attached to the plastic outer explaining it had been a rough night for the eater and that’s why the cheese’s body was now halved.
People like this may sound silly to you, but they were exactly what my tired, overworked soul craved. I needed spontaneity. I needed risk. I needed nights out in torrential downpour wearing nothing but underwear, a see-through men’s t-shirt some prick had lent me and no bra.
Every day I spent frolicking around Indonesia, I was excited, and it made me question why I was never excited to be at home. I decided then and there I wanted to get out of the city I had lived in since I was 12 years old and turn my back on the routine-orientated person that I had accidentally become there.
About a week after I returned from Bali, I booked a one-way, non-refundable flight to Sydney. I’m planning to go over with nothing but my clothes, guitar, camera and a new pair of rollerblades that have made my body become one with the pavement. Not because I don’t want to work, not because I scoff at working hard – but because I want the excitement of not knowing what the hell I’m doing, not knowing how to get around a new city and not knowing anyone except a handful of people. I feel a short spurt of the travel-bug feeling while I’m finding my feet will do me well – until, that is, I become a hypocrite to this entire piece and work hard, save money and set off on a new adventure to bloody up a pavement somewhere else.