Winging Wanderlust & Choosing Happiness
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2017 has been a bit of a whirlwind so far, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that I’ve spent a fair chunk of it living out of various suitcases.
In late January this year we returned to NZ after packing up what Adam and I referred to as “home base” for the past four years living in Tokyo . Not knowing what the future held apart from the fact Adam was taking his first break after 2 years playing back to back rugby seasons between Japan and Oz.
So with 6 suitcases between us we arrived at my parents place on the Kapiti Coast and made that our new temporary home until we actually figured out what our next move was.
During the past few months we have travelled a lot for both work and leisure and some highlights include Seoul, Singapore, Cambodia, Bali, Malaysia and a trip around some beautiful parts of Japan during the infamous Sakura (cherry blossom) season.
Would you believe me if I told you that only one of those trips (NZ-Malaysia) was actually planned and organised in advance? It was the first time Adam and I had actually properly pre booked our flights somewhere months in advance and the only reason was because it was a big family reunion holiday built around the fact my cousin was getting married in my father’s hometown of Penang, Malaysia.
Now to clarify, the whole unplanned and last minute approach to our life and travels is something I wasn’t too crazy about when Adam and I first got together but his chosen profession is one that is filled with constant surprises and uncertainty which prevents us from planning life too far ahead in general.
For a long time I would look at other couples our age who were settling down in one place, buying a house and putting down roots. Planning mid year vacations months and months in advance and having life organised and mapped out so that the future was somewhat certain. I constantly compared my lifestyle to theirs and as a result felt increasingly insecure and uncertain about whether or not I was cut out for this unique transient lifestyle. People would tell me how lucky I was to live overseas and travel so much but I was so caught up in this idea that my life was supposed to look a certain way at my age that I wasn’t allowing myself to see all the positive things. All I could see were the obstacles, things like how hard it was to manage my chronic illness and depression in a non english speaking country, and not being able to work legally in Japan doing what I loved. Feeling homesick and not having my family and circle of girlfriends around me, living in a 9th floor urban apartment with no garden or being able to hear the sound of birds chirping. Not being able to commit and plan things until the very last minute depending on if Adam’s team was knocked out of the league or if he was injured. Honestly I cringe now looking back at how much I allowed my depression to take over and rob me of my joy but I really did! (FYI – I’ll be sharing an in depth look into my battle with depression soon)
The negative energy was all consuming and I just allowed myself to wallow in it until one day something inside me snapped and I hit a really low point both emotionally and physically and realised that if I didn’t get myself help and acknowledge that my depression was destroying me and my relationships with the people I cared about most I was going to lose EVERYTHING.
This was a major turning point in my life and I realised that nobody else could help me with this. It was my choice to either see the glass half empty or the glass half full, I chose the latter. Boy had I been missing out on living!
I know my life doesn’t look the same as what society traditionally deems “normal” at my age.
My partner and I are not married and we don’t have any kids. We don’t own our dream home, we have a storage unit in Melbourne, one in Auckland and we mostly live out of suitcases, but we’re happy. I am happy!
I’m about to celebrate 6 years loving a man who has stood by me through my battle with depression, makes me tea and brings me heated wheat packs when my endometriosis flares up and I’m crippled over in pain. A man who puts up with my creative and some what erratic energy and ideas, helping me to bring them to life, who supports my dreams and best of all, he loves me in a way that allows us to flourish and evolve both as a couple and individually.
I am 34 and look and feel better than I did in my twenties (well I think so anyway!) and I think a lot of that has to do with the way I have chosen to embrace my unique lifestyle and consciously try to focus on the positives. I no longer resist and fear change the way I used to and this has been a major one for me. Yes this lifestyle can be challenging at times but my god it’s full of amazing and unexpected adventures that have allowed Adam and I to experience incredible things.
I might not be able to plan or commit to things too far ahead but I’ve learnt that even the best laid plans can go awry. I’ve learnt to accept that life gives me lemons sometimes and I can choose to make a good batch of lemonade or pair my lemons with salt and tequila! Well, I wasted way too much time approaching life with sour lemons and I’m all about that Beyonce lemonade life now.
I’m a reluctant gypsy who’s winging my wanderlust as I go and discovering the world around me in ways I never allowed myself to appreciate before. It’s like I’ve gone from seeing in black and white to technicolor and the sights, sounds and smells are somehow more intense and vibrant.
I love that I’m lucky enough to be in this phase of my life where my body and mind are both healthy (this is a big deal for me!) and I have nothing holding me back from these spontaneous and unplanned life adventures and travels. Sometimes I’m travelling solo and other times I’ve got my best mate by my side but either way I am so blessed and fortunate to be in a position that allows me to indulge my wanderlust to the fullest.
To anyone out there reading this who might be feeling afraid to take a leap of faith whether it’s in a new relationship, new job, new country or you’re wanting to try something new but keep telling yourself that you’re “not that brave” – snap out of it! The only thing we have to lose by not trying is never knowing, and I think that feeling of always wondering how it might have felt or turned out is far worse than the fear of stepping out of your comfort zone.
Now for those of you who have been battling with mental health issues like me that have robbed you of living your best life for far too long, I promise you that you deserve to be happy. Make the choice to squeeze every drop out of those lemons life keeps throwing at you and make the best god damn thirst quenching lemonade anyone has ever tasted!
Happiness is by choice, not by chance…
I hope my travel vlog inspires you to choose happiness and encourages you to create a life for yourself that is as unique as you. Let go of what you think your life should look like and just live the life that fulfills YOU!