I’ve been living in my hometown of Oslo for a little over a year now after quitting my job as a tour guide in places like Crete, Egypt and Cuba. I moved back to save up some money and to figure out what and where I want to study. I’m getting closer and closer to what the adults call “mid-twenties” and it was important to me to get an education, so I figured it was time to get started. I did the very grown-up thing of renting the over-prized apartment in the city, getting the full-time 9-5 desk job, started living for the weekends, and settled into the comfortable Oslo routine. It went really well for a while, but once fall hit us and the sunlight disappeared more and more every day, it started to feel… well, less than fulfilling. Was I getting any closer to figuring out my next move in terms of where to go to university? I thought so, but something in my gut feeling wasn’t quite 100% right when I talked to people about the decision I’d made to go to rainy Vancouver the next fall. All that money I was planning to save up? I spent it all (and then some) on escapes to Turkey, Spain, Mexico and London.
Because I had spent the past 2,5 years living a very unconventional lifestyle, the lure of “normal” life in Oslo was incredibly strong at the time when I decided to pack my bags and head home last spring. In the beginning, I was absolutely ecstatic about things such as riding the subway to work, having a dining room table, people speaking Norwegian on TV, having a TV, supermarkets, and FOOD in general.
–> I should probably cut in here and explain that my last stint living abroad was 4 months in Cuba. They don’t really have food in cuba. They have moros y cristianos (rice and black beans) with pork/chicken. Needless to say, I opted for the best alternative: being a little tipsy on rum the whole time I was living there so I didn’t quite notice how hungry and malnourished I was. Being somewhere as overwhelmingly different from anything else as Cuba might have contributed a great deal to my longing for a “normal life”. Had I spent the winter months in, say, San Francisco, I probably wouldn’t have been so childishly eager to return to my mother’s kitchen table.
But who was I kidding… I’m just not ready to make Oslo my permanent home just yet.
“If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine. It’s lethal.” – Paulo Coelho
The turning point came when I got back from an unforgettable trip to Mexico in February. I pretty much threw my hands up in the air, collapsed onto the floor, belly down, and kicked my legs like a toddler who’d just been denied a 5th serving of cookie dough. “Why do I have to sit at a desk and count the hours 5 days a week in Norway when I could be spending my days serenaded by hippie South-American backpackers on a beach in Playa del Carmen? Why, God, are you doing this to me? I can’t take it for another second, just put me out of my misery!!!”
Okay, so maybe the picture I just painted for you there was a bit overdramatic, even for me.
However, the honest truth is that the same week that I got back, feeling like I just described above, I sat down with a catalogue for international business studies that I apparantly had ordered online, pointed to a where it read ‘Australia’ and said “You and me – I think we’re made for each other. Let’s do it.” It was as obvious to me as if I’d been planning to go to Australia my whole life. Which, for the record, I haven’t. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever given thought to that freakishly large and diverse country way down there. But in that moment of clarity, I felt like Australia had been patiently waiting for me all along to get my act together, and now she was ready to welcome me with open arms.
Do I know anybody in Australia? Nope.
Have I ever been there before? Nuh-uh.
Do I even know what their money looks like, what the food tastes like, or who’s the Prime Minister? Not really, no.
But we’ll work it out, Australia and I.
That’s one thing I’m 100% sure of.