Australia you’ve changed me

Any avid traveler can testify that leaving a country you have just explored and fallen in love with can be a heart wrenching and difficult thing. I was terribly sad to leave Australia and its beautiful and breathtaking scenery, its strange animals and its marvellous people. So after spending a month in this new and different wonderland, it comes as no surprise to me that I have come home changed.

The worst part of my homecoming was the feeling that no one understood me anymore. This is an understandable situation because my friends back home did not get the same summer experience that I did. They didn’t get to feel the heat of the warm Australian winter sun or hear the silica sand squeak under their feet, and they missed out on the opportunity to see the most beautiful mountain and wallaby accompanied sunrise.

Through these feelings of not being understood, I have come to some really solid realizations about life and the way one chooses to live it.

Never settle for anything

I met a lot of really happy and content Australians. In fact, until I reached Sydney, traveling from Cairns down the east coast, I did not meet one unhappy Aussie. I remarked on this to one retired 38year-old man and he said, “Tanis, the reason I am happy is because I surround myself with people who value the same things I do, as well as those who are in general just really excited about their life.”

“If there is something you don’t like in your life, why wouldn’t you take the initiative to change it and make it exactly how you want it?”

And that was the beginning. It was in that moment that I thought about what I allowed into my life, and it was then that I was truly disappointed in myself.

You control the pace of your life

After thinking about what I was doing with my life, I realized that I tried to pack too much into it. I was constantly stressed out and I didn’t understand why, because I was doing all these things that I wanted to do. But that is just the thing. Time is precious, and no matter what I tried to fit into a day, it still only has 24 hours.

De-stressing your life is not impossible. Cut out what you don’t need and what is taking up your valuable school, relationship, work and self time. I cut out TV, movies and any thoughts of having a boyfriend. My education is important to me, so taking control of my stress and putting off the girlfriend role is a much better idea than having too much on my plate and failing a few classes come December.

Dreams were made to be achieved

Whether you call it a dream, goal, bucket-list or resolution, it’s made to be fulfilled. I was encouraged again and again to create a list of dreams of my own. Things that I really wanted to personally accomplish and not things that other people expected of me.

Here in North America we get so caught up in what our parents tell us, or we head off to university before we even know anything about the world around us. Relax, kick off your shoes and just think about what you want to accomplish.

So when I tell people that after I graduate I am going to run off to Saskatchewan, of all places, to train for the RCMP, I get a mixture of looks. Do you want to know why I am doing that? Because when I get to the bottom of it, it isn’t the job security or the money. It’s simply because it is exactly what I want to do.

After returning home to my old life and to the regular fall schedule of a university student in southern Manitoba, I realized that I had been settling for less for far too long. I had allowed too many things into my life that I didn’t even want to be doing and I was not leaving any time to accomplish what I dreamed of accomplishing.

To the unobservant tourist, the Australians might just look like a bunch of tree-hugging hippies who run around barefoot and in a funny array of clothes, but that is just an example of where we begin to miss out. They’re so much more than that. I think we as North American’s could learn a lot from the Aussies.

So, if your life is too busy and you feel like you are missing out on the events that you think are the most important, then maybe it’s time you tried to live the Aussie way. Don’t let society tell you when to breathe. Remember that you are in control of your time. If your schedule is too full, don’t be afraid to put off something for a while. Allow time to fulfill your dreams, you just might end up as a happier and more enthusiastic individual.