Thursday, April 21, 2011

Remembering Independence Day - A Decade On

April 17, 2001, a fresh faced 22 year old country girl, who’d never lived outside the confines of her comfort zone, let alone the small coastal town of Coffs Harbour that she’d forever known as “home” weaved her way anxiously through the throng of fellow weary travellers who’d disembarked along with her at Heathrow, a 22 hour flight, and many conflicting emotions trailing behind her.  The day before she had kissed goodbye all semblance of the sad little cocoon she’d been cosseting herself in.  London beckoned, and along with it, a bright and bold new universe of adventure.

The emotions swirled so vividly around her largely because of the tumultuous three months prior to this date.  Just as a snake might do its skin, she shed her old life ENTIRELY, commencing a wild rollercoaster ride of giddy highs of excited expectation and equal low measures of dread.    Changing her holiday plans to relocation plans, it effectively entailed quitting her long time employment, applying for a working Visa, selling her car as well as all her worldly possessions.  It also signalled the death knell in a rocky four year relationship, causing her to move back home with her parents until the equally anticipated and feared date of April 16 arrived.  All that was left of life as she knew it was the smouldering ashes of a existence yet to be lived.  And although petrified about farewelling those near and dear, as well as making this enormous leap of faith into the unknown, she had two significant lifelines propelling her onwards.  

With her sister already being based in London, along with a spookily accurate Clairvoyant prompting her to make this move, she garnered up the mammoth amounts of courage required and dove head first into the deep end of the pool.  Oh yes, she floundered and fought hard to swim to safety, but ultimately she remembered the prophetic words the psychic had uttered, to reassure her she was on the right path for her destiny.

Without it, some of the most treasured memories and friendships she will ever have could not have been borne into existence. When you live so far away from home, friends take on a whole other level of importance in your world. Mates morph into family members and you forge unbreakable bonds that carry you through the lonely homesick times, as well as unforgettably mark the celebratory ones.

10 years on and the travel memories are still lovingly cherished & remembered as if they are inked (much like her little "souvenir" from Camden Town!) permanently in her soul.

  • Standing tall with immense pride, watching the sun rise over the mockingly still and serene ANZAC Cove on April 25, along with 15000 fellow countrymen;
  • Dancing and drinking through Europe on the ultimate Contiki adventure of a lifetime (oh, and taking in some pretty freakin’ amazing sights along the way!),
  • Living it up in the beloved Golders Green digs up, affectionately known as “Club 39” with the most amazing assortment of flatmates and fab memories of impromptu and well planned parties (any night of the week!). Special mention to her 23d birthday where her elderly Landlord made an unexpected visit at about 11pm, after complaints from the ultra conservative neighbours
  •  Surviving travelling solo from Austria to Sicily and only getting ripped off the once!
  • Seeing sights such as the Eiffel Tower, the Colosseum, the ancient city of Ephesus, pretending to live large in Nice, as well as cruising the canals of Venice, the stunning Southern Italian Amalfi Coastline and the Greek Islands.  And drinking in the divine sunsets, such as on Santorini, where people actually reward Mother Nature with a standing ovation..
  • Witnessing the spectacle of an Italian Premier League football match at the world famous San Sirro Stadium, Milan, with 80,000 fanatical fans, letting off flares, and chanting, war rally style!
  • Meeting wonderful mates Corker, Minol, Shellski, Rach, Al, Byron (& all the Hendon House of Horrors crew!), Johnny & Pete; all of whom rocked her world.  Whether partying in the sawdust strewn Backpacker pub, singing their anthem of "Land Down Under", or hosting family Roast Dinners on a Sunday night, she'll forever be indebted to each of you for making this brand new world feel like "home" 

Although she is guilty of forgetting it far too often, this is the chapter in her life which eventually established person she is today. The gifts have been many: character building, independence and knowledge, all gleaned from this 18month escape from responsibility.  And once she’d completed this desperately overdue apprenticeship of single life, the universe soon presented her with the supreme reward. Her Husband.

And how do I know all about her dreams and discoveries that were unearthed on this personal tour that became the making of her?

Because this girl was me.  And I say to her, Happy Birthday –I feel but only 10 years young after being reborn on that day a decade before...


Being Me said...

OH what a touching post! Congrats on only getting ripped off the once from Austria to Sicily! My oh my what sights you've seen. Thank you for the insight into your 'rebirth' :)

Tracy said...

What an amazing experience! My dad had adventures like this (although in the reverse direction - England to Australia) that we heard a lot of when I was growing up and I always wanted to do it to. But husband and 2 kids later it hasn't happened... yet. I guess I'll just have to join the grey nomads in a couple of decades time.

Glowless @ Where's My Glow said...

OH wow!!!! You've done so much! What a brilliant way to remember it all. One of my dreams in life is to mark Anzac Day at Anzac Cove.