Lately, I have been thinking about Australia a lot.  I first visited Australia as a backpacker and travelled across the country for three months.  Several years later, I had the privilege to live in Australia as a resident. What once seemed an incredible destination on my travel list, has meant so much more to me.  Five years ago I left Jabiru, a small town in the Northern Territory of Australia that I used to live in. After three years living in Jabiru, I was ready to move on and eager for change.  

I ended up in the United States in Salt Lake City, Utah.  While in Salt Lake, I never once thought of Australia; however, now that I look back, I can’t help but remember with fondness my time on the other side of the world.

My first big trip

Australia has been many things to me. It was my first solo adventure and by far my longest trip. Travelling through it took me out of my comfort zone; it also allowed me to spend time with myself. I saw its vastness, its diversity, its vibrant colours. This country looked so different from anything I had seen in Europe before. I was mesmerized by its unique beauty. It was also my first road trip ever. This gave me the chance to meet people from all over the world, who were also drawn to this country as if lured by a siren’s song.

My first home away from home

Australia radically changed the course of my life. It became my home when I moved out of Spain. I felt so lucky to get a second chance to be there again. I got to know more about this land on a much deeper level.  Every day that I woke up it felt like I was living in a dream. And eventually, the exoticism of Australia started to become part of my day-to-day life. The extraordinary became routine. Don’t get me wrong, though. It felt like I became the main character of a movie of which I was previously just a spectator.

Our house in Jabiru

Daily life

The climate of Australia was different, tropical, which I used to describe as hot and hotter weather. I lived inside a National park so I was completely surrounded by nature. Sometimes I would hear the chirping of the Kookaburra in the morning or spot cockatoos in the driveway. I ate kangaroo meat and papaya fruit on a regular basis (when the flying foxes didn’t eat them at night). Stories in the newspaper about crocodiles and dingoes became normal. I met a lot of lovely people. I learnt about indigenous people and their culture. AS a result, I saw their struggles to fit in a western society while maintaining their indigenous traditions and lifestyle.

My biggest challenge

Australia also challenged me, especially with social interactions. My lifestyle changed. New people, new places, new routines. Social gatherings were difficult at times. Interacting with locals in a different language and cultural setting was really frightening and I became very self-conscious in large groups. You think you know a language because you have studied it for several years and can speak it? Try to go to a foreign country and you will realise that you don’t understand half of what they are saying. The worst: not understanding jokes. Luckily, my social life became more interesting and meaningful, and that gave me a certain sense of belonging.

Australia, what a beautiful place, what beautiful people. I hope we cross paths again.

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