In 2005 I loved my job, and my life in Paris. I had an active social life, many good friends and I went to the gym at least three times a week that allowed me to have some “me” time. I volunteered to support a wonderful cause: take care of children in Necker hospital (specialized in children from 0 to 18 years old). I enjoyed fantastic holiday trips four times a year. I went to the movies and the theater every week -not to mention great food and wine!
I was happy and I knew there was nothing else I could wish for in life. Yet, I did
I was happy and I knew there was nothing else I could wish for in life. Yet, I did. I wanted to go far away and feel free to explore unknown places, and my dream had a name: Australia.
I decided to take a year off work to do an MBA at Macquarie University in Sydney. Though I wanted to plan as little as possible, I spent a whole year preparing. That’s why when I finally left Paris for Down Under I knew I had a place for the first two weeks only.
Did that bother me? No way! I was thrilled by the challenge: discover a new world in two weeks and find the best solution for the rest of the year once there seemed ideal. I felt more than up to the challenge, happy about my choice of planning not to plan beyond what was necessary.
My year away started as soon as I landed at Sydney airport. Of course, I had to move four times until I found the two girls that would become my best friends – and the best house!
Earning my MBA was hard to do in just one year. Plus, I had to work part-time to have some income, so I did all types of jobs foreigners do: waitress, cashier, shop girl and tourist guide. I met many people from a variety of backgrounds and with totally different ways of seeing things. No matter what, I was always happy to make new friends.
Once, when I decided to take golf lessons, I casually told some of those new friends. The result? 15 people came along and we formed our own group. Everyone got to know each other while totally missing the holes and digging up the turf. We had so much fun together I couldn’t believe it…people that seemed so different actually were very much alike.
During the two-month summer break I didn’t want to go back home. Instead, I chose to spend Christmas, New Year’s Eve and the entire Australian summer traveling. I wanted to see the desert and the rainforest.
Crazy as it sounds, I set out alone – I didn’t tell anyone until the very last minute – from the Great Ocean Road to Darwin and the Great Barrier Reef. It was the most extraordinary four weeks of my life! Early in the morning I could move, visit, walk and plan the rest of the day. From midday on, I had to travel by bus, truck or train because the heat and sun didn’t allow anyone to be outdoors. Traveling meant meeting new people. Arriving at a new locale meant discovering everything very quickly, finding a place to stay for the night, taking a shower and grabbing a bite. Nights had never been so quiet, peaceful and blissful – even when I knew I had no network connection!
Once in Darwin I initially thought I’d go back to Sydney through the coast. But I didn’t want this trip to be over, and I had always wanted to visit Japan. So, just as easy as that, I went to Tokyo, Kyoto, Kiso Valley and other places – another two unforgettable weeks.
Finally, I made my way back to Darwin and went down the coast to Sydney, including a stop at Whitsunday Island. This last two weeks of total freedom helped me reconnect with the world, where I could better understand city life and language …and start getting ready for the final part of the MBA, resume my part-time job and return to the culture I knew.
This last two weeks of total freedom helped me reconnect with the world, where I could better understand city life and language
This trip, above any other trip I made, changed my life and changed me. Going back to Paris I knew I’d never be the same person. I felt free; those huge spaces of wonderful peaceful nature were with me forever –they gave me what I was missing in my previous “perfect” life.
Of course, I went back to work and to most of my “normal” activities, my friends and preferences. Yet, since then I live my life in a different way. I have strong values which guide my life. I don’t judge anyone, I’m inclusive, my friends around the world are my family and tolerance became the leitmotiv in my life. That’s the power of travel!
About the Author
Adriana is a citizen of the world having lived in 14 countries and traveled to a hundred. She grew up discovering various cultures and languages that became part of who she is and what she stands for today.
She is a global branding, marketing and integrated communications expert & the CEO of 24-365 Online Consulting.
Feels passionately about effective branding, marketing and communications with a clear focus on results within cross-functional and multi-cultural teams: diversity is a key driver for any company to grow sustain-ably.