After 18 months on the road travelling India and South East Asia, it was time for us to pause and try to regain some funds. We’d set the wheels in motion months ago; we had decided that we would work in Australia for a year, living cheaply and saving a good amount of money to head off back to India and Asia again.
But, as our time in Myanmar drew to a close, neither Ollie nor I were exactly looking forward to our next chapter. In fact we were both dreading it and wishing that we hadn’t finalised the plan so long ago. But now too much was set in concrete; too much money had been spent, too much time invested.
Leaving Yangon international airport, I was in floods of tears. And once the flood gates had been opened there was just no closing them again. I just couldn’t stop crying. I didn’t want to leave my beloved Myanmar, or Asia for that matter. I’d fallen in love with the crazy ways of Asia and the enchanting peoples we’d met in each country. I just couldn’t imagine living a life in the West again, with all of its red tape, monotony and ordinariness.
Our Time in Australia
Ollie and I didn’t exactly have the smoothest start to our time in Australia. I was very sick on the flight over to Sydney, perhaps an after effect from the Dengue Fever I’d suffered in one of our last weeks in Myanmar, perhaps something else.
Things didn’t get a huge amount better after we landed either. My feeling is always that ‘everything happens for a reason’ and that the universe always has a plan, even if at times it can seem confusing, backward or just downright frustrating. I think it knew what it was doing when it brought us to Australia.
We landed in Sydney on 13th November 2015. For the next month or so we both frantically tried to get jobs, applying for just about everything and attending countless interviews in the city. We were living about an hour outside of Sydney CBD, with some family friends, so the commute was neither fun nor cheap. When we kept getting turned down for jobs it became even more difficult to bear.
Finally, at the end of November, Ollie finally had success; he started working in a call centre with terrible hours. Each night he wouldn’t get home until 9:30pm, having left at 8:30am, and would always arrive back exhausted and downbeat. For five days of the week we barely saw each other. We missed our life on the road terribly.
By December I still had no job and there was little likelihood of me getting one until at least January. Ollie and I got out and went sightseeing at weekends; we found that we liked Sydney as a city and enjoyed the long walks that we went on. But something was missing. We missed the energy, the buzz, the colours, the sights and sounds and the culture of Asia.
A Bold Decision
So, we made a drastic decision. We decided to use what money we had left to go to Sumatra and Nepal in February and March and then start the teaching course we’d lined up in April. We would take a month long ‘Teaching English as a Foreign Language’ course in Chiang Mai in Thailand, one of our favourite cities, and then start a teaching placement somewhere in Thailand, the location of which we would find out later.
We both felt nothing but relief; we loved our new plan! We couldn’t wait to be on the road again and were both excited at the thought of living in Thailand for at least a year! Whilst Ollie continued at his job I booked all the flights and made plans for our months in Sumatra and Nepal.
We now have just two weeks left in Australia until we fly to Sumatra; we are well into January and time has actually gone pretty fast! Remember I said earlier how the universe had a plan in bringing us here? Well, I think it did.
What Australia Taught Us
Australia has made Ollie and I appreciate certain things again, not least each other. When you spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with someone it can be difficult to fully appreciate them all of the time, to not have snappy little arguments that mean nothing. Coming to Australia and suddenly spending a huge amount of the day apart has been more than a little strange. When Ollie isn’t here it feels like half of me is missing. Everything is so quiet and I hardly know what to do with myself!
We both recognise how we started to take each other for granted towards the end of our trip; we have determined not to let that happen again. Australia has also showed us, Ollie in particular, just how much Asia means to us and has made us more certain than ever that our lives are there now, not in any Western country.
I’d already experienced this East meets West realisation when, having lived in India for six months, I returned home to the UK, intending to stay for three months before I flew back to India. I lasted six weeks. Enough said!
Things haven’t been all bad here. Yes, we can’t wait to get back to Asia, no, things didn’t really work out with employment and saving, but I would be lying if I said I regretted coming here. I don’t regret coming to Australia because, despite the negatives, we’ve had some great days. We’ve been to some beautiful places and seen some awesome sights. And learned a hell of a lot about ourselves!
Ollie still hates his job but is sticking it out for two more weeks and I still have a lot of time on my hands, by myself. Strangely enough, I’ve started to get used to, and feel comfortable, in my own company again. I go out and see bits of Sydney, though my solo adventures aren’t nearly as adventurous as when I’m with Ollie, I read and I plan our future travels!
Another thing I’ve learnt these past few months is that plans may be in place but that doesn’t mean they won’t change. I’ve determined not to plan so far ahead anymore because nobody knows what the universe has in store.
We look forward now to Sumatra, to Nepal and to living and working in Thailand. 2016 sure looks set to be an awesome year! Keep following our journey through our photos and, of course, Ollie and Lynette on the World!