The Adventure

expat issues 3 Replies

It is such a cliche the way that I always respond to friends’ queries about how we are doing in Australia. “Really enjoying the adventure,” I always say.

“Adventure” has become one of those words that I use so often that it has lost all power, and has only a vague meaning.

I suppose I’ve mostly thought of an adventure as some sort of vacation outcome – maybe climbing something, seeing dramatic sights, learning about a different culture, eating foods I’ve never tried, and possibly getting wet or sunburned.

I have certainly had those sorts of adventures since moving to Australia: surfing Bondi, eating kangaroo, hiking to the highest point in Australia, driving through a swarm of locusts in Victoria, snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, drinking kava in Vanuatu … those are all that sort of adventure.

But, lately I have been reflecting on the more significant adventure of moving here. Before we came, I think I had the idea that I would just create a Southern Hemisphere version of my American life – like looking at a word in the mirror – the same, just upside down.  My life in the States had a pretty well defined structure to it – steady full time job, all of my friends worked in my industry, and a lively, predictable social calendar. That was all I knew, so I didn’t open my mind to imagine anything different. In hindsight, I think I was really selling myself short with that idea. I was lacking imagination in terms of putting any thought into how I would like to craft my life.

My newly found sense of adventure for my life has, admittedly, been by necessity. I couldn’t find a full time job in my niche field or easily break into the theatre industry. Without that job, there were no ready-made friends, either. It has been a process of exploration, trial and error, persistence, and a lot of blind faith, but I could not possibly love how my life adventure is unfolding any more.

These days, I work a part-time job three days a week. It’s not something I trained for or have a background in, but I love everything about it. I have never been happier in a job. And, I freelance in theatre in my off time. Sometimes I am flooded with work, and sometimes it is a drought, but it is becoming more reliable. Working for myself and getting to do one-off projects is so much more artistically fulfilling and productive than what I did in the States. And, on my off days, I also sometimes get to flirt with the life of a lady of leisure, which I rather aspire to, particularly in limited doses. Our friends here are a lovely diversity of interesting people that we have met along the way. I miss my friends at home everyday, but do also so enjoy the variety of interests, experiences and talents that our Sydney friends bring to our lives.

Forget getting on a plane or packing a suitcase for an adventure. These days, my adventure is at home. It is the adventure of what happens when all manner of possibility opened up before me, and I took the chance on seeing what happens when I follow my bliss.

As the brilliant Joseph Campbell said: “The adventure is its own reward.

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