Roughly one month after my graduation I decided to go to Australia. I landed in Sydney 3 years ago with no plan in my head and ended up staying for 2 years in total. That was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, I will never forget that experience nor all the amazing people I met on the way – including L.
Going away from home is one thing, going away to the other side of the planet is a different story. I had to learn quite soon I was the only person who could be of any immediate help, as family was far away and you don’t really make lifetime friends in a new country in the first few months. I suddenly became more grateful about all the little things such as free breakfasts at work, letters from friends at home, flowers delivered on my birthday and sunny days
when I didn’t have enough money to go on holiday. I learnt how to budget and how to spend wisely – though I have to say that is still an ongoing lesson to be learnt. I surrounded myself with wonderful people I could count on and saw some breathtaking places along the way.
I don’t regret having left Sydney as I now live much closer to family in a wonderful city, but there are some things I do miss.
Breakfast is my favourite part of the day. I always wake up hungry and I love to sit down and r e l a x before starting my day, even when this means waking up one hour earlier. Mornings are so peaceful and if I’m feeling rested I can get lots of things done by the time I head off to work.
During the weekend I usually prefer to go out for breakfast rather than for dinner. There’s something magical about it as when you wake up you don’t know how the day will be. It might be a very good day or a very bad one, but you don’t know that yet. In front of you there is a long series of empty hours that you will somehow fill in with any possible kind of activity, who knows what might happen. Breakfast is there and it’s certain, the rest is pure choice. Breakfast is the soldier’s rest before the battle.
The typical Italian breakfast consists of cappuccino and croissant, salty brunches are not contemplated in the menu. That is why I was a bit scared to try and eat eggs first thing in the morning, it was so unconventional and weird for me. I tried nevertheless and soon found out how tasty they are and how much energy they provide to my body.
Australian brunches are super tasty and quite healthy as well. My favourite one included poached eggs, salmon, avocado, spinaches, ricotta and tomato. Fresh smoothies were also quite popular, as well as wide selection of teas and some fairly good cappuccinos. The fresh ingredients, the generous portions and the good price made me feel in love with that country even more.
Efficient use of technology
Nowadays it is quite easy to find an internet connection. Almost everybody has a smartphone and a computer, scanning documents or taking good pictures is simple as it is sending emails or filling in details on a website page. However,
for some unknown reason, most of us still have to go to offices in person, schedule appointments just to find out that for some reason there is a long queue and you will have to loose the whole day or spend money on phone calls.
In Sydney I was able to do almost everything online. I applied for the Tax File Number online (an equivalent of NIN in the UK), ordered the travel card online, topped it up online as well, sent documents via email and managed my bank account online as well. Taxes were paid online for the year that had just gone by and not for the previous one as it happens in other countries, I never met anyone from my insurance company and I got jobs by sending emails.
When I returned home, it took some time to learn how to live without that level of service.
Beaches and wild open spaces
I was not sure whether I should mention this point or not, as it is obvious to anyone who knows what I’m talking about. Sydney is a great, modern city which offers a huge variety of beaches and coastal walks along the ocean. Being able to go to the beach after work or during the weekend was just incredible. It made me feel like I was on holiday each and every day I spent there, even when I was working 11 hours a day. I miss being able to reach the sand in half an hour.
I also miss that sense of l o n e l i n e s s you feel when you are driving through amazing landscapes and you don’t see other cars for h o u r s. That wild beauty made me feel small as well as incredibly lucky to be able to explore it. It also gave me a chance to reconnect with who I am, to discover a world regulated by another rhythm, to appreciate nature as it is and to let go of that heavy weight of responsibility, expectations and duties.
When you travel a lot, you meet a huge number of people from anywhere in the world, who then sometimes become valuable friends. When that number increases, it starts to become difficult to stay in touch with everybody. Over time, it is quite likely to lose contact with those you don’t share your everyday routine anymore. It is not always the case as there are friends you will still see and talk to. However, some of them will leave an indelible mark in your life and then disappear somehow, even if you have each other social network contact, emails and the best intentions in the world to make it work.
I have to say I am quite lucky as I can count the friends I met in Australia and still talk to quite often on both hands. I still hang out with them as they moved back to Europe eventually, so it is easier to travel and meet with each other. On the other hand, I’ve lost contact with some others, but I understand that’s life and what counts the most is to keep alive the friendships that are closer to my heart and cherish them so that they will last for many years.
That is what I miss the most about my Aussie life, even though now that I am writing about it memories start flowing and I could easily add more points to the list. Nostalgia has a bittersweet taste. That’s why it is safer to stop here
and concentrate on the clothes I have to iron before going to bed. Yes, reality is cruel sometimes!
I might eat a Tim Tam before that, though. Luckily enough, you can find these little Aussie biscuits in London as well.
Let me know if you have ever been to that part of the world or if you are considering to take that leap of faith, what are your memories and what you would add to the list!