On November 13, 2013, I had no clue, in a million years, that that was the day I’d finally be learning who I was, who really cared for me, and what life lessons there were to be learnt. It was the day I stepped on the airplane in Brisbane, to land 15,000 km away in Toronto, Canada.
Me writing this now, I feel very raw and emotional. But I don’t want this blog to always be all rosy and cheery, when we all know life can throw curve balls, or HUGE BOULDERS, your way. And that it did to me. And still does to this day.
Now you might be thinking “Courtney, you’re always talking about how much you want to travel and see the world, why on Earth would you be sad to leave Australia for Canada?!” I’ll tell you why, and I hope I can pass on my knowledge and share tips for any of you travelling for the first time, moving away for College, or moving out of home even.
I was 18 at the time, leaving university, all my high school friends, the parties, the concerts and festivals, and the “teenage” lifestyle. All of a sudden, I realised I had entered into the total unknown – working full-time in a job I didn’t know, having no friends, unable to drive, and having to dress for the Canadian winters (yes that was a huge adjustment from Australian summers!). BUT luckily I had my family, and that was really the only thing familiar to me. And that brings me to TIP #1: Find a hobby & do the things you love. Moving countries, there is going to be a lot of “you” time. Whether that be the transition of moving and looking for a job, or you landed yourself a job that offers only 15 hours a week, you have to keep your mind busy. For me, that was starting a blog (not this one surprisingly) about how the move affected me straight away. If I wasn’t keeping my mind active, I could feel myself over thinking things and thinking and saying things I knew I shouldn’t be saying, because I was cooped up for most of the day.
So after a few months working in my awful, AWFUL, job, I had made a really nice girl friend who introduced me to her group of friends. From there, they invited me out to gatherings, parties, bars, and social hangouts. So this brings me to TIP #2: Be social. You never know who you’re going to meet, and what life has planned for you. I made the huge adjustment to move countries -> got a new job -> met some friends -> MET MY SOULMATE. Yes. I met Cree through my workmate’s friends. We literally just crossed paths one night at the Casino, because he was friends with a group of other people my work mate was friends with (confusing I know). I’m not going to get soppy (in this post at least 😉 ) but we basically looked at each other and knew. Within a month of us meeting, he had asked me to be his girlfriend and we had concert tickets booked 4 months in advance.
However, since meeting my boyfriend, we have moved to a different city and away from our families and friends (it’s only a 2.5 hour drive, but enough that it’s not exactly a day trip), and the girlfriends I did make are literally all having babies and we never kept in touch after me moving. Now I’m basically back to square one, living with my boyfriend, essentially still living in the unknown, and have no friends (YAY). Which brings me to Tip #3: Be thankful of what you have every day. I don’t have the friendship group that I had in Australia 3 years ago, but I am living with my boyfriend, happy as ever and thinking about the future has got me excited. All the time, my mind is racing, and thinking, and thinking, and sometimes I need to remind myself to just relax, take a breath, and think about all the things I do have, rather than what I don’t.
It’s tough being 21, working full-time, and not being in university or college to meet friends. It really is. I’m not going to sugar coat this. This has been the best and worst 3 years of my life. No one likes being friendless. And although I am fortunate enough (and so grateful) I get to come home to Cree every night, there are times when I just need a friend-chillout. You know? Besides creating this blog and recently starting up my YouTube channel, I have yet to find a hobby or actually go out and join a club or oganisation to meet people. I do have plans in the Winter to find things I love doing – whether that be really focusing on my blog and videos, or taking up photography online courses, or volunteering at a Humane Society, I do have plans to really focus on doing things for me, and meeting some new people. It’s so important to build relationships and be social. And I’ve learned this because recently I’ve noticed that my anxiety levels are through the roof and my social skills are non-existent. So now I really have to force myself to get out there, and I don’t want this for you. So be SOCIAL STRAIGHT AWAY! I mean… AS SOON AS YOUR PLANE LANDS! okay… maybe not that quick.. but don’t leave it for 3 years like me and don’t say “there’s always tomorrow…”
I hope I have given you an insight into the reality of moving countries. It’s not all fancy concerts, and prom parties and celebrations – I sometimes wish life was a movie but it isn’t. But I seriously hope these tips and my little story has helped you in some way.
Comment below any other tips or tricks you may have for someone going through something similar!!