Destination: Unknown…just kidding, it’s Leeds!

My mum’s favourite saying as I was growing up was “It’s gotta be the going, not the getting there that’s good”. This saying has never applied to me as much as it does today.

I’ve always been the type of person, from childhood right through to now, that finds it difficult to stop and take a breath. To stop and look around and realise that no matter what, everything will be okay.

Which is why it’s going to be difficult for me to put my life on hold, stop and take a breath, and leave it all behind for a year next year.

Since the beginning of my degree, I’ve been planning on going on exchange. I had the subjects planned, the time planned and pretty much everything planned…because I’m a planner.

Teachers used to tell my parents in high school that I’d burn out before the end of grade 12 because I used to juggle so many extra-curricular activities on top of my academia. Those same teachers then told my parents halfway through grade 12 that if I was allowed to take a gap year before university, I would never go.

The high school student who walked away with 2 major awards and an OP 3 at the end of grade 12 would apparently never go to university if I took a gap year. So a combination of current life events and lack of money at the end of grade 12 saw me head straight to university to begin a five and a half year double degree in Journalism and Law.

Flash forward to now – the end of third year – and it’s finally time. I’ve actually decided to take another six months off after my exchange. Even more surprisingly, my parents were the ones who suggested it.

They called me up and told me that now is the time to do it. I didn’t get a gap year, and another months months off will only delay my graduation date by six months – the end of 2018 rather than halfway through. They also reminded me that I’m going to be working for probably the next 40+ years, with only 6 weeks holidays per year and will probably never get the chance to do something like this again.

My parents were very lucky. At 20-something, they met in Yugoslavia (no longer called that) working on charter boats. A while later, they packed up their lives and began a crazy sailing trip around the world for 5 years. They describe themselves as lucky – in the right place at the right time and at the right stage of their lives where all of that was possible.

And so I guess now is the time to take the huge leap into oblivion. It’s not that I’m apprehensive or scared or worried about the trip. I’m excited beyond belief about what the future holds.

Entering university, when anyone asked me what I wanted to be I would immediately say Journalist. “What type” was a question I got asked over and over and for the whole of my first year I used to tell people that I wanted to be ‘that’ girl from Getaway – the TV show that made travel look so so glamourous.

Three years on and I haven’t given up on the travel journalist dream, but since then I’ve also realised that I have a passion for news and current affairs which won’t go away. I love to write, edit and film and so hopefully travelling around Europe for a year will help me to enhance those skills.

Armed with a camera and a notebook, I’m going to use this year away in two ways – a gap year and a learning year. I’m going to grow in so many ways. Ways that I might not even have imagined yet and for that I am so excited.

I can’t believe that on December 23rd, I’m leaving Australia. In just over two months, I’m taking the leap. I don’t know what I’m going to pack, what I’m going to see or who I’m going to meet…but I know that it’s going to be amazing and for that I can’t wait.

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