“Once the soul awakens, the search begins and you can never go back. From then on, you are inflamed with a special longing that will never again let you linger in the lowlands of complacency and partial fulfillment. The eternal makes you urgent. You are loath to let compromise or the threat of danger hold you back from striving toward the summit of fulfillment.” ~ John O’Donohue
I have been traveling for a few years now and always end up in different living situations; a hostel, a house with numerous amounts of people, a camper van, etc. and a popular discussion is comparing our countries, families and ways of living. For some of us who are rarely in our own country for more than a few months at a time, we realise that our friends and family have a hard time understanding why we want to leave, how we travel and why we can’t stay in one place for more than a few months. This tends to be one of the hardest things to try and explain to people who don’t ever leave their comfort zone. Their fulfilment in life is easily found; you graduate college, find a partner, get married, buy a house and have children, but for some of us, it’s not enough. For me personally, I’ve been having a hard time internally dealing with the American “norms”. You’re taught at such a young age from society; movies, magazines, family, etc. that your life is completed by marriage, a stable job, a house and children, but as I’ve gotten older, I couldn’t imagine being at that place in my life right now. Thankfully for Facebook, it’s so easy to keep up to date with everyone’s lives.
I turn 25 in two months and if you would’ve asked me 5-10 years ago where I would be at 25… well lets just say that I was WAY off. Never could I have imagined living in New Zealand, Germany, Australia working at an amazing winery, working random jobs at cafes, bars, restuarants and being surround by so many amazing people from so many different cultures and being so content with such a simple life. But at the same time, I feel like I’m getting too old (obviously not that old), but still, too old to be living like a college student; out of a van with absolutely no plans for the future, no permanent job and no care in the world. But then I remind myself that it’s okay! I don’t need to be like my friends or the people on tv or have the best things in life. How many people who have all of those things are truly happy with themselves and their decisions? When I left, I only brought a hiking bag and a back pack. And I’m so happy with just having that. I’m actually overly thrilled to have my own bedroom with a twin sized bed and a small dresser. It’s crazy how fast things change.
So the most popular questions: Whats next? What are you doing after Australia? When will you be DONE traveling? Are you going back to school? When will you “settle down”? How can you move so much? yeah.. i think you get the idea. Well to attempt to answer these… whats next? I have no idea and thats the beauty of it, isn’t it? Back to North Carolina for school? Probably not. Meet a man and buy a house? Most likely not. Stay in Australia for good? Possibly. The good thing about school is that it will always be there. Ive learned in the past few years that you can’t plan your life. Ever. You can have goals and places you want to see and someone you want to be, but if you can honestly tell me that your life has worked out exactly as planned, I’d have to call bullshit.
How do I travel? Well… working harvest at wineries is about 6-12 weeks of 12 hour days, 6 to 7 days a week with pretty good pay. Thats enough for me to live on for a few months after that. Then you run out of money and get some random job at where ever you can and wait for harvest to com back around. Gumtree is a great way to find jobs, housing, cars, basically anything that you want. Meanwhile, I can pick almost any country in the world that makes wine and that I want to visit, then I go there. Once you start this, you become addicted to the exciting feel of experiencing and seeing something new constantly. Meeting people from all over the world, experiencing their cultures, seeing the beautiful landscape and understanding why people in that country are the way that they are.
For example, in New Zealand, everyone is so RELAXED! Yes Americans, people can work to afford their lifestyle and still have time for themselves. Most stores there close at 4 or 5. Almost nothing, including restaurants, are open on Sundays and basically, work is a way to pay for food and somewhere to live, but it’s not their life. The biggest city, Auckland, has half of the countries population. There are many more sheep there then there are people. The land is so untouched and so beautiful. When I was in Blenheim, you could drive for hours and only see vineyards. and more vineyards. and more vineyards. And everyone is so friendly!!! Kaitlin and I ended up staying with a young married couple in their house that we met the day we got to Blenheim and Kaitlin stayed with them for three months during harvest. Would that ever happen in the states? Most likely not. But there, its normal.
Now, I’m in Adelaide, Australia and it’s another lovely country, although it’s a lot bigger than New Zealand and the money is a lot better. People are still just as friendly, although the cities are bigger and so is the country. I’m looking forward to really exploring Australia more after harvest in April! For now, I’m working for Hardy’s Tintara Winery and living in a lovely house with 6 Frenchies! It’s quite an exciting time right now.
Anyone have any ideas of where I should travel to next? I’m thinking Asia, Bali, South Africa… the possibilities are endless!