“Wandering does not show that you are lost. It just says you like to explore.”
-Mattias Van Nimmen
OK, NOW WHAT?Surfcamp was an awesome experience, but it ended too quickly. I left there with no plan and no clue where I was headed next. I’m never one to plan my next move, because I’m never really good at following through with the plans I’ve made. I had several options: I could follow Lisa and Kevin to Melbourne and search for work, head to Brisbane with Bernd, or tag along with Bas, Pino, Saskia, Annarijka and Caralijne in a campervan and head up the coast. As much as I love Lisa and wanted to be with her, I loved the idea of a campervan up north along the coast. When we all arrived back in Sydney we still had a few days before we all had to leave one another. Bernd was the first to head out to Brisbane on an overnight bus. I was staying at the Wake Up! for another few nights but Bas, Lisa and Pino had to book a hostel near the harbor. Our last days in Sydney were bittersweet, full of fun and adventures with no direction and no one leading us. I felt like a true wanderer, which is something I really like.
Talk about getting out of my comfort zone!! No idea where to go, no plan, no work…so scary! But it was something I cherished because all of the worries and stress I had back in New York were gone. It didn’t matter whether I was on time, had my makeup perfect, was on point for one of my clients or that my paperwork was done on time. I’ve really needed this time to get my soul settled. It’s a hard feeling to describe if you’ve never been there. I was torn between feeling fulfilled by my work and wanting to run away from all the hurt I couldn’t heal. I love my family and friends and didn’t want to leave them, but I had to accept that I couldn’t take them with me. And if I stayed, I knew I would have continued down a dark spiral of anger and depression that could only be healed with adventure and sunshine-something that home was lacking for me.
KANGAROOS ARE CREEPY
On that campervan trip I learned several things: first, driving on the left side of the road is bizarre, but not so scary. Secondly, I learned that it’s very comforting to know you have a place to lay your head at night, even if it is in the top of a campervan next to Pino who is like a little brother to me. I also learned that kangaroos are creepy and I don’t love them as much as I thought I would. It was early morning after crashing hard the night before and I awoke to “Kangaroos! They are fighting!” I jumped up from a groggy state and headed out to a clearing. I missed the fight, but got to see a family of three hanging out. The baby was leaning back on his tail (could have been a she but I have no idea how to tell the difference so a “he” it is) scratching his belly. He looked like a fat old drunk guy itching his beer belly. As I crept up to take a picture I felt as though I could now relate to Kevin Hart’s spiel about creepy ostriches. This kangaroos froze and stared at me and didn’t move at all. No hopping. No breathing, it didn’t even blink. I felt as though I was the butt of a sick joke, like the minute I turned around I would be eaten by this huge ‘roo. No thank you. I backed out of that clearing so quickly with a chill running down the back of my neck. Under no circumstances was my tombstone going to read “she wasn’t faster than the angry kanga!”
We all headed for the water. “It’s just over the dunes…that way!” Said the locals the evening before. “That way” turned out to be a mile hike over brush-covered sand dunes that had me sweating and my legs scratched up. The walk was worth the view that morning. Untouched beach stretched as far as we could see. The crystal blue sky met the sand and water and there were a few clouds streaking across it. We were the only people to be seen and I had a glimpse of what the early settlers must have felt. There really aren’t words to describe that place and the pictures don’t do it justice. As I sat on the sand and felt the water run over my toes I thought about this moment. I was so far from home, surrounded by people who were kind and warm and funny, but practically strangers to me…I was riding in a campervan that had $1000 bond in my name on it, and no job, no plan and I loved every second of it. In that moment I was alive, my belly was full, the sun was warming my face and a smile was splitting it in two. That three day drive yielded several new experiences: yum balls, dunes and creepy ass roos.
I had been filled with such excitement and energy up to this point that I hadn’t yet had a moment of sadness or regret. Well that moment came on our last day of the campervan. I was sitting in the back alone because we left the girls in Byron Bay. Bas was driving and Pino was up front with him. I felt this wave of emotion come over me and overwhelming sadness hit me. It was such a different feeling that I began to cry. I hated saying goodbye to the girls. We all became so close in such a few short days, saying goodbye was really difficult for me! I get so attached to people and especially now that I am traveling, I form such a close bond with people. A quick video chat with my mom and then my best friends from home had me feeling better.
LESSON # 3: SAYING GOODBYES ARE HARD, BUT THEY ARE REALLY “SEE YOU LATERS.”
Traveling around with people
you hardly know is intimidating. I realized how alone I truly was while traveling with the Dutchies. I didn’t speak their language and they would sometimes forget to speak in English so that I could understand. It felt very lonely at times and although I would sometimes remind them to speak in English, it was difficult for them. The weird thing is, when you say goodbye to people you have been around 24/7, even though it was only for less than a week, you feel an emptiness inside you. I felt it while saying bye to Lisa a few days earlier, and Bernd and Kevin as well. It’s a beautiful thing, actually missing someone who has quickly become near and dear to your heart. This is the growing part. I was so far out of my comfort zone, I forgot what that zone looked like. Goodbyes suck, but the reunions are so sweet.