Upon my return to Melbourne, priority number one was finding a job. After I’d given myself a well deserved and much needed week off, of course. I discovered my favourite recruitment agency would be unable to help. I had already undertaken 6 months of employment within the visa year through them. They did offer me another opportunity. I could return to the job I had left to travel in New Zealand. This was an unexpected offer, one requiring careful consideration. Elena pointed out to me that the job had made me miserable. I was coming home from work everyday demoralised and disinterested. Between shifts I had achieved nothing. This was a problem for her as much as it was for me.
Orange picking has been the most enjoyable job I’ve in Australia. I never thought I’d write that down. Selling gas and electricity to people who already have gas and electricity wasn’t for me. It was not the opportunity I had come overseas for. It wasn’t something I’d have put up with at home. I made up my mind, I wouldn’t be going back. I found myself looking for other opportunities. Editorial assistant roles, content writer positions, something a little more to my taste. I was full of excitement at the prospect of applying for jobs I had a genuine interest in.
It didn’t last long. I struggled with self-doubt, rejection, and a total lack of response. I found myself berating myself for my lack of experience and qualifications. Why hadn’t I made better use of my opportunities before now? Simple answer, I didn’t have a tangible goal before. Until now my aim had been more or less to stay away from home for as long as my finances would allow. Enthusiasm was useless without direction. Without intending, I had found myself with a purpose. Life was about to take on new meaning. This was a working holiday, after all. I am entitled to some time off, aren’t I? In almost a year and a half overseas I’ve spent most of it in official employment. That was that then, I’d take a holiday. You’re thinking “this guy has been overseas twice since the start of the year.” I know, I know but this is different. Trust me.
Things started out well. I undertook the WordPress Writing 101 course, completing a prompt a day. Observant readers, and other participants, no doubt noticed the appearance of a new page. I completed every assignment, not always to the letter. I’m proud of what I learned through the course. I don’t think I’m a better travel blogger for it, but I hope you can see some basic improvements in what you’re reading. Writing 101 remains password protected for now. Without the classroom environment, I found it difficult to keep writing daily. Challenging myself with new techniques and different approaches bordered on impossible. The course did instil in me the habit of keeping a free-writing journal. Finally! At last, success in something I have tackled, and failed at on many occasions. With the formation of this habit another soon followed. Thanks to WordPress’s 365 Days of Writing Prompts I have been able to challenge myself almost daily.
The writing is coming along, but what am I to do with it? I entered a Rough Guides travel writing competition. I rewrote part of my post about the Tongariro Alpine crossing. The winner is announced later this month. My hopes are lying in the gutter, but feel free to wish me luck anyway! Following on from there, I’m attempting to build my confidence to submit articles elsewhere. And that’s not all. I’ve started writing a couple of short stories, which may also become competition entries or submissions. So you might think the whole writing thing is going quite well. That’s me, attempting to build some experience.
What else is new? I decided to look into some volunteering opportunities as well. I came close to securing two different positions in the writing field. I could have been assisting with creating a memory book, or helping people write short stories. It was not to be, second best remains not good enough. Opportunities did spring from these failings. I have been volunteering at a swimming pool. I’ve been able to bring my love of being in the water to help others. It doesn’t always go ahead but when it does I’ll be the first to tell you how rewarding it is. Finally, I’m seriously considering studying again. Journalism, and publishing and editing, are avenues I’ve been seriously considering. I don’t have a definite plan yet, but I’m sure it won’t be long.
What then for the future? The working holiday visa is running out. I’m not looking for a job so nobody is going to be filled with a desire to sponsor me. Elena and I have decided that now is not the right time for us to commit to a de-facto, or partner, visa. We haven’t been together for a particularly long time. She hasn’t met my family or friends yet either. I can understand her wanting to wait until then before committing to anything long term. She’s looking to apply for an exclusive animation course in the UK that starts in September, which will be rather convenient! There’s also the unexpected to consider. Two years is a long time to be away. I have found myself surprised at discovering I’ve become homesick. I never expected it to happen. I always thought I’d be away for a few more years yet. I am ready to go home, at least I will be come September.