Ask Kate: Should I Give Up My Great Life To Travel?
What happens if you’ve always planned to travel — but you end up with a great life at home that you don’t want to leave? And what if the clock is ticking on your ability to do so?
A friend of mine has asked me to go and work and live in Australia for a year (or possibly longer) in October. This is something I’ve always wanted to do in the past but last time the friend I was going with let me down and I subsequently didn’t go.
As I wanted to shake my life up a little bit at the time, I moved to a new city and got a great apartment. I have really made a life for myself in this city, I love my job, have made some really good friends and have a fantastic social life.
However I don’t want to regret not trying out working and living in another country but the same urge to do it isn’t there. It’s hard because one part of me wants to go as I know I would love it yet the other part of me doesn’t want to leave this great life I’ve made for myself in the city.
I worry that when we get back from Australia, I won’t find a job as good as the one I’m in now and having previously worked in jobs I’ve hated, I know how rare it is to find one you enjoy!
I’m now 28 and am only eligible for the working holiday visa until I’m 30 hence why it’s a now or never situation. I’m also plagued by the fact that I feel I SHOULD be settling down at this point (at least that’s what my parents think!) I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on this.
Oh, reader. I can relate to this so much — feeling like you absolutely SHOULD want something desperately, but the feelings just aren’t there.
I want to tell you that you’ve got more time than you think. I want to tell you that this isn’t your only chance to live abroad. I want to tell you that it doesn’t matter what your parents think.
But most of all, I want to tell you that you don’t have to go to Australia.
You didn’t think I’d say that, huh? 🙂
Our lives turn in directions we don’t expect. And if you always planned on living abroad someday, it may be shocking to realize how content you are with your current life.
The important part is that you have at least two years to make your decision. What a lot of people don’t realize is that the Australia working holiday visa is eligible until you turn 31, not 30. You could arrive in Australia the day before your 31st birthday and you would have no problem securing that visa. (Of course, I urge you to leave more than one day of buffer room, just in case!)
If I were in your position, this is what you’d do: I’d drop the idea of leaving for Australia with your friend this October. I’d stay in touch with her, follow her journey closely, and learn about what the working holiday experience in Australia is like. Meanwhile, I’d take one year to think and evaluate and decide whether I should ultimately go abroad. I’d take a look at other options besides just Australia — teaching English, long-term backpacking, other work abroad programs that aren’t age-restricted. And I’d save money like CRAZY.
In the meantime, I would throw myself into my job, do amazing things at work (and keep documentation of all my accomplishments), and make myself indispensable to the company.
And then I would meet with my boss and broach the idea of taking a yearlong sabbatical.
Not every employer will go for this — but some will. And even if they don’t and you decide to leave your job, you’ll be leaving on excellent terms and the door may be open for you to return someday. In the meantime, your apartment can most likely be subletted. Your friends will still be there — but keep in mind that age 28 is the time when people are getting married and having babies, and many of your friendships will inevitably change during these years, regardless of whether you go abroad.
If you do decide to go to Australia, I guarantee that you won’t regret it. Your previous life will pale in comparison. You’ll have the time of your life, and these are the stories that you’ll be telling when you’re older.
And remember that Australia isn’t the only option. You could work in New Zealand. You could backpack Southeast Asia or Central America. You could teach English in East Asia and make good money while doing so. Or you could find a job abroad. You could spend a year doing a combination of these things — maybe work in Australia for six months, travel Australia and New Zealand for two, and backpack Southeast Asia for four!
And one last thing — it’s tempting to go with a friend, but going on your own will allow you to customize your trip to you alone and it will open you up to infinite possibilities.
The decision is yours. You’ve got a good life. Only you can decide if going abroad is worth the gamble.
Wishing you all the best of luck.