2017 was a lot of things to me. It was living in the west and then living in the east. It’s been adventurous and it’s been dull. It was moving slowly and then it sped up. It’s comprised of many challenges and I’ve learnt more lessons in one year than I’ve learnt in my previous 21 years of life. 2017 was many things, but it was the year where I’ve truely growing up.
I kicked off 2017 exploring Bùi Viện Street in Vietnam, also known as the Famous Backpacker Street. With its vast amount of cheap bars and accomodation, it’s easy to understand why. On a casual weeknight the street is already bustling, so you can imagine how crazy it was on NYE. As we travelled down the street we encountered a mosh pit that extended from the bar out onto the street. It wasn’t long before spilt alcohol stuck to our skin along with silly string and confetti. While the bar was constantly crowded, it was easy to maintain our intoxication by ordering multiple drinks at once. Their tendency to free pour was a massive bonus!
It was one of those nights (well, mornings) that thrived the longer it went on. As songs began to wind down, you promised your body you’d give it a break, but as soon as the next track played you couldn’t help but continue to dance. While the hangover (and seven hour bus trip) the next day was killer, it was hands down the BEST EVER New Years I’ve experienced. Even better, it didn’t break the bank!
As the first month of 2017 came to a close, Kyal and I did something crazy. We jumped out of a plane from 15,000 ft.
In all honesty, it was something that had been on the cards for almost a year. While Kyal had received a voucher for his 21st birthday, it was an experience he wanted to share with someone. So when our first anniversary rolled around, my gift was fairly obvious. Fast forward a few months later and there we were, flying higher into the sky knowing that the only way down was to jump.
While I don’t consider myself to be scared of heights, I was petrified by the idea of jumping out of a plane. I spent most of the flight day dreaming (as well as smiling and nodding on cue) to distract myself from the reality of what was about to happen. When the moment came, my memory flashed back to my year 9 camp where I climbed and jumped off an 8 metre “Pamper Pole”. The best advice I received leading up to that moment was, “Don’t think about it. Just Jump.” So that’s what I did when it came time to fall out of the plane.
As I started to tumble into the sky, my mind instinctively started to yell “THIS IS SO WRONG. YOU’RE A HUMAN BEING. YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE INSIDE THE PLANE, NOT OUT OF IT. WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?” But once I started to free fall, I was reminded how widely magnificent the world is, and all my fears were put to ease.
There was a decent five month gap between our skydive and road trip across the Nullarbor. While it felt like forever at the time, in hindsight those months flew by. I spent most of my time working as a casual Pharmacy Assistant while also writing, blogging and creating content. Okay, okay – I probably spent most of my time procrastinating on those last three (and I’m kicking myself for it now!)
On Valentine’s Day, Kyal received the long awaited news: he was being posted to Victoria’s Naval base. This was a goal we’d been trying to achieve since July 2016, so to finally hear the news was a relief. It mean that he could live closer to his family and I could begin my career.
Kyal’s posting didn’t begin until the middle of July, so we had a big wait ahead of us. But before we knew it, my bedroom was an empty shell while Kyal’s ute was filled to the brim. It took us five days to travel from west to east. We stopped at Norseman, Eucla, Ceduna, Adelaide and Ballarat before pulling into Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. It was an interesting trip, but in all honesty you’d probably only do it once. It was fast and slow, interesting and boring all at the same time. We watched whales at Head of the Bight, encountered travellers pedalling on push bikes, met Big Bruce at the Penong Windmill Museum and was in awe of Sovereign Hill‘s Christmas in July light display.
As our trip drew to a close, we did have one heartbreaking moment. Despite our optimism and intense preparation, our dear Japanese fighting fish, Comet, passed away when we reached Adelaide. Still, I doubt many fish have had the opportunity to travel across the Nullarbor!
As a kid dreaming about the day I’d finally move out, I didn’t think I’d be tackling the trifecta. Moving…
- Out of home
- Interstate (or internationally)
- In with their significant other
Each of the above has had its own challenges, and I’ve had to deal with them all simultaneously within the last few months.
Moving Out of Home
Since moving out, the thought Holy shit – my parents were right about everything occurs on a daily basis. I also wonder how many times a day my Mum cleans the sink, wipes the benches and vacuums the floor to keep it spotless. I clean at least five times a day and it still looks like a meteor has struck my kitchen. I’m hoping my housework routine will be steadier when I’m no longer commuting three hours a day.
Moving out of home is one challenge. Add on the obstacles of moving interstate or internationally. I’ve completely uprooted and replanted myself and my life. While I still regularly keep in touch with my friends and family, a “catch up” is no longer a simple ten minute drive for brunch. It now involves a four hour flight and selling a kidney. There’s also the challenge of finding my community (or “tribe”) in Melbourne. It’s hard to find a sense of belonging, because it doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t happen easily. It occurs after many struggles and triumphs, and after many tears and laughs. It’s also difficult to develop a sense of belonging when you spend so much of your day commuting. Despite all this, there’s one thing I try to remind myself: I can’t compare 6 short months in Melbourne to 17 decent years in Perth.
Moving In with the Significant Other
To top it all off, I’m also sharing a home with Kyal. I thought it’d be a fairly easy transition as we’d spent a considerable amount of time at his Navy accomodation and my parent’s house. While WWIII hasn’t occurred yet, we’ve definitely had some eye-opening challenges. Since we’ve met, we’ve always had a hiccup or two to overcome because we’re totally opposites. Being a Virgo and INTJ, I’m incredibly organised, planned and tidy. On the other hand, Kyal’s a Pisces and ESFP who goes with the flow. We can clash, but we also compliment each other. One thing I’ve realised is that it’s incredibly important that we celebrate each other’s strengths rather than focusing on the other’s weaknesses.
After a month and a half of endless job hunting, resume writing and interviews I finally landed my first ever full-time professional job. My official title is Account Executive but my role also includes the responsibilities of a Social Community Manager. The company is an advertising agency that specialises in social media with some big Australian brands under its belt.
Each day in the office poses new challenges and lessons. I’ve learnt more in four months of working than I did in four years of university education. As my Dad puts it, I’m essentially doing a Bachelor of Commerce and getting paid for it. What’s shocked me the most about my job is the industry’s high turn over rate and cut throat nature. On the other hand, what’s pleasantly surprised me is the miracles that occur, even when tasks seem impossible. I’ve had to push myself and my skills to the limit, but I’ve rediscovered just how much I can take on and do. I’m excited and curious to see where my career goes in 2018.
While 2017 has had its highs and lows, it’s tough saying goodbye to another year. Probably because my head and heart are still stuck in 2012 and I’m in denial that we’re only a couple of years away from 2020!
Kyal and I are already preparing for a big 2018. It’ll have very similar obstacles to 2017, but hopefully with the lessons learnt this year, we’ll be able to tackle whatever comes our way. 2017 was a year of new challenges, a year of new beginnings. But ultimately, it was a year of growing up.
I hope you’ve had a remarkable and memorable 2017, and I wish you all an even brighter 2018!