So, I came home. Like many things in my (fairly) dysfunctional life, it was a pretty impulsive decision; kinda like a ‘fuck this, I’m done’. Ironically, pretty much as going travelling to begin with was.
Long story short, I was au pair-ing in (definitely not perfect) Perth, and I was so over it. I mean, I’d been over it after like a week of being in charge of three crazy children, but still. I was working a 40+ hour week for like £100, and honestly, it made me a bit of a moody cow. Couple that with a host mum who lost it because I accidentally splashed her newly mopped floor when washing up (outside of my working hours, to help), and three children who told me most days how much they hated me and wanted me to go back to England, and I was fairly fed up. The shit hit the fan when I woke up on a Wednesday, it was raining, and the kids had decided today was a special ‘let’s be mean to Meg’ day. I got in the car with the mum to drop them at school, and I decided I was so done. So, I told the mum this (went down well, as you can imagine), got out of the car, packed up my stuff and basically carried out a Great Escape with Jess and the bewildered little boy she looks after, who hadn’t the foggiest what was going on. After a lot of soul searching (and cups of tea), from Jess, Harriet, Jess’ mum and my mum, and £450 on the credit card later, I was on a plane, on my way back to England. And the relief was intense.
Coming back from being away is the strangest thing. It’s a bit like being plugged into the Matrix (hope you’re all impressed by the sci-fi reference). Everything looked the same and seemed the same, but yet you know it’s all different, and that there’s a whole other world there. That there’s people you know going about their lives whilst you’re asleep. That the other side of the world is legit a thing, not just some mythical place where mythical kangaroos and mythical koalas go about their mythical ways…
To put it bluntly, the whole thing is a massive mind-fuck. Within 24 hours, you’ve gone from being, literally, on the other side of the world, to being back in your own bed, with your dogs and your stuff, and responsibilities again. One of the first things I had to do on returning home was fill out a scary student finance form, cementing the fact that I was legit a grown up again, with grown up type things to worry about. Travelling is kinda like getting really drunk after screwing up your A-levels; you’ve still got the whole ‘shit, I mucked up my a-levels’ issues the next day, but you’ve had a lot of fun avoiding it. Only now you have to deal with it with a headache.
But the crucial difference? Travelling is good for the soul, in a way that tequila most definitely not. It makes your parents all proud (though why I’m not quite sure, as I basically went on holiday…), your friends think you’re all inspirational and you kind of feel different. I’m not saying I suddenly love mornings, kale and the gym, but I feel more confident in myself and more able to deal with the future, and even student finance (after ignoring their letters for a few days… obviously). I might be doing the same things as before, but I’m a different me, which makes everything else different.
And as for Australia? I’m leaving it as a to be continued… I’ll be back (one day!).