The following is a guest post from Sara Hardman who blogs over at On Broken Wings. I first stumbled across Sara and her amazing blog one day on twitter, and was instantly hooked by her impulsive story and uplifting personality. I asked Sara what first inspired her to travel and you can read her response below.
The end of an eight year relationship, fast approaching 30, my boiler blowing up in the throes of a particularly horrendous winter…there are so many reasons why I decided to buy a backpack and change my future.
It was the most monumental and seemingly least well-considered decision I’ve ever made. One day I left work on a lunch break and, on the way to Starbucks, saw a poster of the Barrier Reef in the window of STA travel. I then proceeded to go inside, started talking to Andy the sales rep and, 40 minutes later, walked out with an open-ended ticket to Melbourne and some leaflets on a Working Holiday Visa.
Then, with no time to get the now very-much-needed caffeine shot, I raced back to work, grinning. High on a heady cocktail of shock, excitement and fear and the rather large shot of chaos that comes from the realisation of leaving a career, a mortgage, family and friends for a completely uncharted road that only came into view an hour ago!
I had been lacking direction for some time but suddenly it was obvious – an escape with no limits, no timescale and no responsibilities was exactly where I was destined to go.
Career halted, property sold, family hugged. I arrived in Melbourne three months later with $400 cash, a backpack of bikinis and, for the first time in a long time, so much to look forward to.
Melbourne was cold, so I moved north three weeks later – just because I could. I loved the feeling that the weather is a sufficient catalyst for change – “It’s raining today, so I’m moving to Sydney”. I did.
I arrived in Circular Quay and for the first time in my life, I was home. I have moved-on a lot over the years, it’s something I’m good at. Growing up I got through 11 school moves – it’s not that I’m uncomfortable with commitment but that I’m comfortable with change and cutting ties and beginning again is second nature. I have a low tolerance for monotony and predictability. Naturally, I took to the freedom of backpacking like a dream.
I lived in Bondi, I landed the job of a lifetime at Universal Music Group, I climbed the Harbour Bridge, saw New Year at the Opera House, learnt to surf, skydived over the Barrier Reef, worked on a ranch in the outback, walked around the base of Uluru, swam with reef sharks, discovered Fraser Island, sailed the Whitsundays and bathed in the beautiful Indian Ocean of Western Australia. Without question, the best two years of my life.
I was lucky enough to have travelled a lot growing up but there’s no appreciation for a place that compares to discovering it for yourself, writing your own map and being your own guide.
When the two year visa ended, I left Australia and took as long as possible to get back to the UK. I went off to ski in New Zealand, partied in Bali and dossed around in Thailand. When the time came to buy the ticket for London I just couldn’t do it. I was on the airline website purchasing the Bangkok to London flight when, at the last second, I clicked Paris, France. My unrestrained spontaneity strikes again! Ticket bought, inevitable delayed for a while longer…
The end of the trip and a return to normal life broke my heart for a time but now I have a new challenge. I’m on the journey to discover the world while holding down a full-time job and a mortgage. Well, that’s the plan… but you know what they say about best-laid plans and I’ve learnt that anything can happen when you’re me – and you carry your passport in your handbag…
I just want to say a big thank you to Sara for being the third guest poster to be featured on this site. If you are also interested about writing a guest post for this site please get in touch using the contact page. You can also contact me through my various social sharing sites that you can find on the sidebar.
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