When You Can’t Let Go of a Place… (AKA My Love for Australia)

Loch Ard Gorge, Australia

Am I right in thinking that everyone has a special place or defining moment that they’re proud of, means a lot to them, that they can’t help but bring it up?

Or is that just me?

Many people will know that I spent a semester studying abroad in Melbourne, Australia, in 2012. I don’t half go on about it.

I’ve mentioned in a few posts about how coming back to England after this was really difficult (exhibit A, exhibit B, exhibit C….) and I’m sure that was partly because people hated me for talking about it. And I’m very sure that now, nearly four years since I left for Australia to begin that oh so wonderful adventure, people would be even more likely to say to me, “Really? Still? Get over it…”.

My name is Kirsten and I’m an Australia addict. But living there was a long time ago now. I’ve finished and graduated university since then, I got my first full-time job, I’ve made progress with this blog, I’ve been to a lot of places since then, like my first trip (and many, many after that) to the US, Berlin, Iceland, Costa Rica, Panama. Hell, I’ve even moved to Canada since then and moved in with my long-distance-boyfriend-of-three-plus-years.

Really, a lot has happened.

Really, a lot has happened.

So why do I still bang on about Australia?

Why, even though it was nearly four years ago, can I not stop referring to Melbourne/Australia in all my social media bios? Why do I still gush about memories and experiences there to others as though it was yesterday? How do I still call Melbourne my home away from home?

The other day I thought, ‘maybe it’s time to remove it from my Instagram bio…’ but I couldn’t do it. Or, more accurately, I didn’t want to.

So, again, why? (This post does have an answer, I promise)

Because it’s a huge part of who I am.

  • It’s the country that began it all for me; the one that urged that travel bug out of its cosy sleeping bag with the rest of its travel bug family.

 

  • It’s the country where I was first made aware of how in love I could be with places: ever since my visit to my sister in 2009 when she lived in Sydney and I explored the city, the Great Barrier Reef and Uluru with my dad, it’s somewhere I was determined to go back to.
Way back when.

Way back when.

  • I would not have gone to my university if it hadn’t offered studying abroad in Australia.

 

  • It was the first place I travelled to on my own, organising my own bank account overseas, flights, visas, etc. Australia for me is synonymous with becoming more independent, curious and confident

 

  • It’s where I started my blog (which began as “Kirsten Does Oz”) and together, Australia and my blog have changed my life in different ways

 

  • Australia is where I first lived abroad. It’s where I met the most amazing people. It’s where I met my boyfriend I’m still with now. It’s where I had an incredible lifestyle in a very beautiful part of the world with quirks I can’t even explain how comfortable and at home I was with. Australia is where I was truly, truly happy.

Australia

Our walk to the falls

Ultimately, Australia is what made me, me. Prior to living in Melbourne, I don’t have a super high opinion of myself. I don’t know specifically what shifted, but during that stint in Australia, I was more self-aware and found out what I was like as a person. I realised who were my real friends, what I actually valued in relationships and the time out in another country from all the bubbles that school and university create put me straight on what I like, what I don’t like and what morals I wanted to live by.

Prior to Australia I was essentially just trying to fit in, be part of everyone else and just go along with things. It’s only since living in Australia where I feel I’ve diverged onto a different path and have mostly stuck to that one.

I still include Melbourne/Australia in my bios, I still talk about it and refer to it as the best time of my life because it’s part of me and it feels wrong and a disservice to not include it. I do believe it’s a huge aspect to knowing and understanding me as a person.

Byron Bay, Australia

12 Apostles, Great Ocean Road

12 Apostles, Great Ocean Road

It’s with all of this, when I was considering taking it off my Instagram bio that I realised the question really would be: why wouldn’t I talk about it?

Maybe one day I’ll take it off – that could be one day soon. But I will no longer do it because I supposedly “should” have let go of my Australia experience. “Should” is sometimes a pretty dirty word when used as a command, which a lot of the time only pressures you based on someone else’s judgements.

To all my lovely, sentimental people out there who have a place like this, and I know for a fact others do (a girl at my work went to Turkey on a dig and I recognise that sincere excitement on her face when she talks about it; my sister’s place is also Australia; one of my best friends always dreamed of New Zealand and is now living there; I became friends with another of my close friends by us speaking about her year abroad in the US) — never let it go. It’s part of you and nobody can take that away from you.

 

 

 

6 Comments

  • Bec J. H. says:

    As an Australian, it makes me feel really honoured and proud that my home had such a wonderful impact on your life. I also have a place that I keep talking about to friends and family that really changed me a lot, I think – Fiji. I spent a month there on a mission trip in my gap year, and boy, was that an amazing experience!
    Bec J. H. recently posted…Some Places Have It AllMy Profile

  • Kristie says:

    I love this post!! I’m an aussie and I used to work at a Surf Camp where I would meet loads of backpackers to Australia. I still keep in touch with many of the amazing people I met and many of them all still hold fond memories of Aus too! I myself love travelling as well and took the plunge last year to live aboard for the first time. I lived in the Maldives and taught English at an International school. I think thats an experience I will also bang on about for years to come. I love that you still have Aus in your social media profiles. Don’t change it! Nice to connect and hopefully one day you will get to visit Aus again! <3

    Kristie.
    http://youtheworldwandering.com

  • Leonie says:

    I lived in Australia for a year back in 2014. I never thought I would miss it as much as I do. Like i’m home sick for it. Wish I could go back.
    Leonie ♥ Lo On The Go

  • Oh my goodness, this post is pretty much exactly how I feel. I left Australia 3 and a half years ago and I still go on about it. I have the best memories from that country, met the most amazing people and had incredible experiences that made me who I am today. Sometime I think people do get bored and I can sometimes see them thinking “Has nothing else happened in your life since Australia?” but I don’t care. I’ve had a good time since I’ve been back in the UK but nothing else compares to the love I had for my life in Sydney. And why shouldn’t we go on about it? Australia is incredible :D
    Emma Hart | Paper Planes and Caramel Waffles recently posted…The Best Beaches In The CaribbeanMy Profile

  • I feel the same away about Japan – where I lived for two years when I “escaped” my home country of Australia!!!! Just kidding, I do still love Australia and live back here now after being away 6 years, but I am from Perth and it is hard to grow up in the most isolated city on earth and not want to leave for a little while at least.
    Amanda Kendle recently posted…9 great things to do in northern Tasmania with kidsMy Profile

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