As I buckled and braced myself for takeoff at OGG airport in Maui this morning, I noticed a new sensation running through my entire being - one that doesn’t normally accompany me when flying. The day had finally arrived; bags were checked, goodbyes said and hugs exchanged. Fewer tears were shed than I expected; I was off on a new, one-way and one-of-a-kind adventure. My body, heart and soul knew it.
The closest thing I can compare it to is the moment we strap ourselves into a roller coaster car and begin the climb toward an inevitable, raucous ride. We all know the feeling: as the coaster car *click, click, clacks* its way upward toward the imminent hump just above eye level, the heart rate quickens and chest tightens. As those native tummy butterflies begin to flutter, I realize that the physiological reaction is REAL in both scenarios: I feel the arms and core constrict protectively— almost in a self-hug —as my breathing speeds up, getting more shallow but slowly more thoughtful. I inhale deeply. Exhale slowly.
The anticipation I feel has my heart near bursting, with a fear less dread-filled than adrenaline-fueling and a creeping itch to back out now, longing for the ground and friends and security back home down below. I know it will be exhilarating; on a practical level, I am also certain I’ll be safe and confident I’ll more than survive — I’ll thrive with the Sydney sea wind in my hear the whole ride! *Click, clack, claaack.* It’s here. Here we go.
A little over three months ago, I finished virtual discussions and in-person interviews for what felt like the dream job meant-to-be all along. Three months ago, I received a job offer that represents the manifestation of a pipe dream; an eight-year-old fantasy. After a near-decade of romanticizing it, years of talking about it, months of exploring it through conversation and research… Sydney became my destination: My next home, and my “next play.”
Three weeks ago, I was wrapping up the creation of my first “new life” after college in San Francisco. I had had ample time to plan, make a lasting impact on my recruiting customers of LinkedIn and enjoy all of the must-do items in my first city by the Bay. Then, it was time to create closure: sell my more material things, begin to bid farewells and downsize my existence to the most essential symbols — gifting what I could share or pass on and preparing my most drastic and indefinite relocation to date. I’m a procrastinator, too. I said goodbye for a beautiful yet solid month.
Countless friends, colleagues, fam and new acquaintances ask me why: why Australia, why this job, why now? There are too many reasons to list, but I’ll try here — below. One of my first realizations after this dream became a reality was that I didn’t always know for certain where or how I’d ultimately get abroad. A fickle broad I am, but one that’s also determined and persistent.
I itched for travel, longed for foreign lands and seas, and dreamed of living and working in a diverse, international market beyond my own since I glimpsed a taste in undergrad. Comparative Media in Europe, the course name of my summer 2009 eurotrip with USC, and a PR internship in Hong Kong both introduced me to the vast, sensitive and versatile nature of communication across physical and cultural boundaries. I knew I wanted more of it; to immerse myself, live in it rather than glimpse from the outside or during a fleeting visit.
The idea was born much earlier (see: MY STORY at the top of this page). My Mother first exposed me to the rampant travel itch when I was a mere and clumsy seven-year-old; as sad as she is now to see me go, I blame her for dressing me in stylish European outfits and revealing the common humanity found across thousands of unfathomable miles, which I somehow uncovered in an uncanny number of buttons: clothing buttons, strewn across Parisian streets and Metro platforms that proved to me that I could grasp or get my hands on something I understood anywhere I went in the world. The rest was history. I still collect buttons.
As I surpass the halfway point of my transPacific flight and slowly approach the proverbial “hump” of what is bound to be a thrilling coaster of experience and adventure, I can’t help but anticipate with nervousness — the uncertainty! The novelty! Back on a practical level, I know that nearly every question, each fear is answerable though.
My Fears: Missing out, missing my family, missing Simba and missing people at home and in SF. Being forgotten, starting over, knowing nothing, learning slowly. Being discovered, deemed an imposter, judged for leaping, snubbed for leaving. Being alone, flailing often, failing at all, daring to fall. These are just a few.
My Hopes, Dreams and Anticipations [which are much more abundant and feel truer to me]: Flying solo, discovering new paths, trekking along urban hikes, learning new hobbies! Making new friends, living at the beach, practicing balance, slowing it down. Connecting over FaceTime, embracing technology, mastering a new industry, discovering L&D. Learning a new product, evangelizing LinkedIn, mentoring others, and finding new mentors. Spreading my wings, celebrating new findings, sharing my experience, and [hopefully] inspiring others. Traveling new lands, breathing in new smells, surrendering to the sea, and even holding a koala. Savoring what I miss. Daring greatly!
My Intentions and my Why: to savor my experiences, dare greatly and lean into the discomfort. To write down as much as I can, and share with those closest to me (that’s you, if you’re reading this). Of many reasons, I write to taste life twice. I also write to embolden others to tell stories of their own, and to perhaps help one person bypass the learning lessons I lived to get to this moment. As my best friend CH says so poignantly, we can write to ensure others with common experiences that they are not alone. Finally, I write to savor and explore the moments that comprise my being — to assign and cultivate meaning amidst the chaos.
Upon hearing my news back in June, my Gramz told me that she thinks this is great - this being moving to Australia. She is so proud of me, and has surprised me more than anyone in her words and gestures of support (including but not limited do colored pictures, motivational quotes, travel tokens and simple emoji-texts). What she said that was both the wittiest and most profound? That this adventure will not only broaden my horizons, but that it will make me a better BROAD!
Thus was born: A Broad Down Under. Prepare for landing: It’s go-time.