Moving Overseas: Why Am I Doing This?
inborI’m rummaging through vintage university textbooks, lists of unlearned Spanish vocabulary and stained letters written by distant friends. I eventually come across a printed photo of Oktoberfest 2012. Intoxicated, 19-year-old me is holding two one-litre beer steins and squeezing them up against my flushed cheeks. It brings back a flash of a conversation that I had with a random German gentleman in one of the circus tent-like beer halls.
“You’re 19 and you’re on your own. I don’t want to come across as rude, but why are you even here?” he asked.
All I know is that it offended me so much that I was left a blubbering mess, which then led to the consolation of another salty pretzel.
But it’s a fair question that’s worth returning to. So once again I ask myself, Why am I doing this?
Living in Brazil has been on my agenda for the past couple of years, ever since I started doing lengthy stints overseas. Having dual citizenship made the decision much easier, but this wasn’t really the main drawcard, because from the very first inkling of relocating myself, my main objective was pretty simple: to start living.
I definitely appreciate my friends, my parents and Australia – the people and place that have given me the freedom to choose my own path in life. As much as I’d love to say it’s been all me, they have had my back since the very beginning.
I’ve taken on the world multiple times by myself, always with an unprepared and disorganised attitude. Every. Single. Time. I left the confines of Australia, it was to seek out new opportunities and interesting landscapes to roam.
I’m well aware that a large chunk of my 22 years of age has been filled with plenty of ignorance. But I can tell you now that since the very moment I could recognise my inability to stay put, I knew that seeking diversity and fresh horizons would be my only way to thrive in any environment that I’m in.
This doesn’t neessarily mean that these environments will be friendly ones.
Past experiences have taught me that there is no such thing as a “right” time for any sort of intercontinental escapade. There is no society that will ever exist that will not have any deterrents for a potential move overseas. I moved to the Britain – one of the most expensive countries in the world – with a shoestring budget at the age of 18. It was a turbulent seven months and, at times, the stress of it all almost broke me. My inexperience reared its ugly head, but I would never think to have done anything differently.
Each time I have left the comfort of the Australian border, I have been just as naïve, lazy, ignorant and unprepared as the last. But with each experience, I came back a little more motivated, intelligent and prepared.
So yeah, I probably am being a little audacious, and thank you for the compliment. I probably could not name a person that hasn’t been a little audacious in their lifetime and didn’t discover some sort of a successful outcome.
I’m not going to say that the prospect of being broke, anchorless and unhappy somewhere in the depths of Brazil is not a scary one, because it well and truly could happen.
“You’re 19 and you’re on your own. I don’t want to come across as rude, but why are you even here?”
And as much as my 19-year-old self would very much like to stuff that question back into the German gob that it came out of, I do thank him for helping me dissect a question that originally made me want to run back to what I’ve always known.
Sure, I am only in my early twenties, freshly graduated with a degree in knowing-more-stuff-about-the-world, single and in the scheme of things, quite inexperienced. I still struggle to understand the environment that I supposedly have known for the past 22 years of my existence. So it is definitely safe to say that I am just a smidgen terrified.
But as I sit here, emotionally fiddling with “things” that essentially encapsulate the ignorance of my youth, but also the self-awareness that I have obtained throughout my life, I still replay the same questions in my head, over and over again, Am I actually ready for this? Is this the right time?
Call me daft, but there is only one word that is undeniably battling for my attention. Yes.
Cover by Sofia Sforza