What do you want to do when you grow up?
It’s that question. The one that you seem to be frequently asked from the moment that you can comprehend it.
For me, the answers changed over the years but for a long time I never properly understood what my answer really meant. Yes, I said I wanted to be a physio, a pathologist, a scientist, maybe even a teacher. I answered the question. Those were just ideas though.
The reality didn’t really dawn until towards the end of university. I now had to ‘pick’ a job/career and get on in the real world.
I’m not going to lie, it kind of terrified me.
Not because I didn’t know which one to pick (even though I didn’t) but because I didn’t want to be that person in 5/10 years time that is stuck in some job I don’t really like. For the first time in my life, I didn’t have a plan and I couldn’t cope.
The solution came in the form of my PhD.
4 more years of study = 4 more years to figure it out. What it actually meant was 4 more years until I had to face it.
Truth is, at the end of my PhD the only thing I had figured out, was that academia wasn’t for me. A start, yes. However, if I was ever going to figure out how I don’t turn into the most boring version of myself I had some serious thinking to do.
Luckily I found myself with the time to do that thinking and eventually found that my thoughts always kept finding their way back to the same thing.
I wanted to see the world.
Before starting my PhD I had done 5 weeks in the USA and Canada with my brother and some friends and had an amazing time. It was the first proper trip where I had had to plan and organise all different transport and accommodation etc.
When I got home I remember thinking that if I wasn’t starting my PhD then I would be saving up to go on my next adventure. Maybe my academic career was doomed from that point?
It didn’t matter how much I convinced myself that the job opportunities that I found and applied for were what I wanted to do. Nothing got me excited like the thought of getting on a plane to the other side of the world.
The job was just a means to an end. A way to get me on that plane.
I wasn’t ready to tell people yet.
I wasn’t ready to tell people that I didn’t want that ‘normal’ life.
That the thought of working a ‘regular’ job and entering the ‘real world’ just doesn’t do it for me.
That the thought of saving up and getting a mortgage and being tied to one place feels like a prison sentence.
I was sure they wouldn’t understand.
Then I got the bad news that I hadn’t got that job that I thought was the right one for me. The one that would have been perfect.
I was upset about it for all of 30mins. It meant I could get on that plane
I was now excited.
My mum had the same reaction. That’s when I really knew I was going to make it happen.
Since then I’ve booked my plane ticket and sorted someplace to stay for the first couple of weeks.
Guys, I’m off to Australia!
I’m taking on the Australia working holiday visa and I’m heading out just after Easter all on my own!
Don’t tell me I’m brave because I’m not. I’m just not going to sit around waiting for some else’s life to fall into stride with my own. I’ve done plenty of solo trips in the UK before and 1 international trip so it’s not that big of a leap. It just adds to the adventure of it all and to be honest isn’t the whole travelling and seeing the world as much about meeting new people as the seeing the new places? Sometimes that’s easier to do when it’s only you and there isn’t anyone else to consider.
I feel so lucky that everyone that I’ve told has been really supportive and enthusiastic about it. I don’t know why I was so worried about what they would all say.
Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet, take that deep breath and jump right in.
It may be terrifying – and believe me, as excited as I am I’m also pretty scared but in a good way. You know like that feeling you get as you start an abseil or before you jump off the diving board kind of scared – but deep down you just know that if you don’t do it you will regret it.
It doesn’t have to be as big as getting on a plane to the other side of the world. Your bite the bullet moment could be something a little closer to home but still just as huge for you. From getting more active, eating better, to learning something new, whatever it is I know you can do it.
Need some encouragement? Let me know and I’d be happy to be your cheerleader!
Take a deep breath in…
And jump (or at least step) into your new more adventurous, less boring life and see where it takes you. (don’t forget to breath out).
Until next time