Fun fact! The numbers on the bracelet above are actually my coordinates to home, a gift I received from my auntie and cousin during my leaving party last October! How cool is that?! Anyhoo, it seems so surreal to sit back and type this as the sun is setting in front of me whilst getting my butt into gear for tonights barbecue with friends – 16 year old Isobel would be so so proud of me right now. I spent today walking along a beach in Brisbane, editing photos on Lightroom and listening to the sound of nature from my bed with ‘My Dear Melancholy’ in the background. Being the ultimate stereotype of a homebody, I’m still amazed and also proud that I’ve managed to last so long away from my home, and being away from my family – the longest I’ve ever been away from home is two weeks with even that being a struggle!
A few years ago the thought go moving 45 minutes down the road to another city for four years terrified me; I wasn’t too sure if I was even able to handle it. Growing up I was never one for sleepovers, often lasting 5 minutes before I was calling my dad to pick me up from my best friends house 5 minutes away, and during my 4 years at university in Chester, I still travelled home more or less every Friday afternoon for the weekend. I never once imagined I’d be able to purchase a one way ticket to another city on the other side of the world, but that’s what I did! In November last year I hugged my family goodbye at Manchester Airport, managed to keep hold of all of the emotions I had building up inside me, and stepped on my first ever long haul flight. Almost 5 months in, I’m still here. It’s crazy to believe that I haven’t seen my friends or family, and my dog Martha (importantly), for a whole 5 months.
To be honest, I don’t think anyone or anything can actually prepare you for how you’re going to feel being so far away from home, I expected things to be a lot more difficult than they have been (I definitely have FaceTime to thank for that). I’ve been given so much advice prior and currently about this whole travel thing, and I will say that it takes you to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Of course, there’s been many struggles and many temptations to pack my bags and book a flight home – missing home is inevitable I think for anyone, but for the majority it’s been an enjoyable challenge and a sense of freedom I never knew I needed. I would never deny that I’m extremely close to my parents and I’d consider them as my best friends, however I’ve definitely become too dependent on them and stayed within a close distance to my comfort zone. Since being away, I’ve grown into my independence; I’m able to look after myself better than I ever have done before and I can ~actually~ now cook (Jack may disagree). It was pretty daunting at the time, I suddenly had to book doctors appointments for myself – I know right?! Open up bank accounts, find accommodation, co-host an Airbnb for a month, and I’ve dealt with all kinds of highs and lows without a cuddle from my mum. It isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.
Whilst I don’t think this is forever, being away from home for a long period of time will make you a better person. I already can’t wait for Christmas, family walks, cuddles from Martha and hugs from my parents – but I never thought I’d be sat down typing something so personal about being so far away from home, and without taking a huge leap out of my home comforts and finding some self belief, Australia would never have been possible for me.