The travel plan I’ve been keeping secret for so long

I have been keeping a secret for so long that it almost feels like it is not real and I have imagined the whole thing. I have had this plan squirreled away in the back of my mind for about a year now and I am very excited to reveal it.

First though, I must point out that some of you already know about this. This is not another big secret (how many can a girl have?) but the one you already know. In fairness, this has been a pretty badly kept secret. My family have known about it for a while and a few close friends too. I have had to be careful what I commit to locally and I have had to be careful about who could overhear certain conversations. Now though, finally, I need keep my secret a secret no more.

The secret

My secret is that I am going to live and work in Australia for a year. I am really excited about experiencing life in Australia. I have visited as a tourist and I have Australian friends. I love what I perceive to be the straight-talking, easy-going nature of the place but I want to spend some time there and really understand the place. And yes, I know they speak English, so perhaps in that respect visiting an English-speaking country is one of my less adventurous trips, but have you heard some of the Aussie lingo? A friend told me the other day he was ‘flat out like a lizard drinking.’ That makes sense if you think about it slowly, but rattled off as part of a speedy sentence, it requires some thought, for us less flamboyant English-speakers at least. I am looking forward to enjoying an outdoors lifestyle. I long for spending time at the beach becoming a regular occurrence again rather than a ‘two weeks a year’ special occasion. I am hoping for colourful lorikeets on sunny mornings and rums on warm evenings. Basically I am looking forward to a lot of things you don’t find here in the UK.

Bad times

This recent winter in the UK has been the worst of my life. Needless to say, the weather has been bloody awful, with the earliest and heaviest snowfall seen in years. But the reason I found this winter so utterly and personally painful is that I lost my father to melanoma. He was only 63 and freshly retired. Dad’s illness definitely delayed this trip, but during his final few months I would not have been anywhere else for the world. I needed to be here with him. If you want to know more about Dad’s story you can read about it here. Dad always loved travelling and exploring new places. He loved taking photos and trying to communicate with locals wherever he was. I laugh when I remember him asking a Spanish waiter if it was going to ‘biscuit’ a few years ago (meaning ‘rain’).

With Dad in Nassau, Bahamas

Dad’s death made me feel, all the more urgently, that I wanted to feel and experience as much of the world as possible, in short, to live. It made me scrutinise my daily routine here. When I get up it is cold and sometimes still dark. I join a bunch of grey, miserable commuters who are grumpy and rude to each other whilst travelling packed in like sardines. Inevitably London transport comes a cropper and we all end up walking half the way anyway, in the drizzle, having paid a small fortune for the pleasure. I work in an office and dodge office politics and depressing coffee machine small talk. By the time I leave it is often getting dark. Incidents of commuter rage aside, commuting home is dull and I get home exhausted and stressed and wondering how much holiday I have left to take this year.

Time for a change

I have had the out-of-the-ordinary lifestyle before. In fact, I am glad to say that it is more usual to me than the commuting and the 9-5ing. But over the past few years I have been studying at University, so a commitment to one place became necessary. I have no regrets about this. I have made some fantastic friends here who I am sure will remain friends forever. I have had a good job, which in turn, enabled me to buy a small flat. I have been able to have pets, which is something most travellers have to forfeit. My two cats are Sultan, who I took in when I lived in Turkey in fact and she has been part of my life for the last 7 years and Saba who I have had for the past 4 years. They have been fantastic company through all the long evenings studying and I will miss them enormously.

My cats

Although I am very comfortable with not living my life the way societal norms dictate, I have also been exposed to them continually for the past few years and this has introduced to my mind a hint of nerves. It has been years since I resigned from a job without another one to go to. Previously I also never had the pressure of knowing I had a mortgage to pay. I am leaving a good job, a lovely flat and my adorable cats to see what Australia has to offer. And who knows where after that. It is very exciting. Wish me luck?


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