How I Overcame The Anxiety of Moving And Travelling Abroad
My name is Dan. Dan, Daniel, Danny. Whatever you like to call me. I’ve been on this little side of the world Australia, for just over three years now, and each day I am finding that another piece of my heart has been stolen. And though living the Australian Dream can feel like you’re on top of the world – there are moments when it can be tough and anxiety creeps in. Moments we need to know how to look after ourselves and others around us.
I remember walking around the markets of Melbourne and the streets of Sydney for the very first time. I had moved to Australia! But instead of feeling like I had stepped out of my comfort zone and thriving, I found myself feeling alone and anxious. There were people around me, and I just didn’t have any words for them. And sometimes the butterflies in my stomach felt more like a cry for help. I nearly booked a flight right back to London, but a very special person in my life told me ‘Give it one more week’.
What I can now tell you – three years on – is that little feeling in your stomach is exactly what is going to bring you so much joy. Because what I didn’t know is that the fear would soon go away and leave me with so much love. My heart would grow, and meeting new people would leave me in a state of elation. I was finally able to free myself – and start living that long sought after dream.
This is how I did it…
Learning How To Say Hello In A Hostel
“What are you cooking?” Four words that I didn’t know how much I needed. It may sound funny to you, but those words changed my life. “Carbonara” was their answer. A classic. For weeks, I didn’t know how to go and sit next to someone and just say hello. Turns out, I didn’t have to. The kitchen is a place of dreams for making friends as a backpacker. I’d normally be helping myself to a fine serving of Mie Goreng Pot Noodle, but I always took an interest in what other people were cooking, and I realised that I was starting to make conversations and build friendships without even knowing it. Carbonara Girl ended up being one of my best mates, and we are still in touch to this day. “That looks delicious” – works every time.
Working In A Hostel
Find a job in a hostel! There are always places looking for people. It gives you somewhere to live, with people from all over the world who are in exactly the same boat as you. Positions range from receptionists, events team, housekeeping, to bar staff and beyond! And the best part – guests will always reach out to you when they need a bit of support. You’ll become the helping hand for the people you once were. The staff you work with will become your very own hostel family – and you know that you’ll all be together in your own little bubble for a while.
Joining Facebook Groups
There are so many fantastic groups on Facebook that you can join as a backpacker, if you ever need help with anything. Lots of people post adverts for houses and jobs on them. But many people also reach out just to meet like-minded people who have the same interests (a bit like a friend Tinder, if you will). They might want to go on the same journey through Australia with you. If you’re travelling to Sydney, some groups you might like include:
Opening Up To People
Talk to people. Tell your loved ones about how you’re feeling. There is no shame in struggling with day-to-day life, whether you are living at home, or on the complete opposite side of the world. I felt myself battling with the strange feeling of guilt – that I wasn’t making the most of an opportunity that I had been so blessed with. Open up about your feelings to the people who you care about most. You never know where their advice might take you.
Last but not least, if you’re not feeling the best – try to hang in there. Find the little moments in each day for you to enjoy. Go for a walk, listen to some music, read a book, call home – do whatever it is that gives you a little sense of normality in this crazy adventure you’re on.
Have trust that things will always end up working out when you least expect it.
Since moving to Australia, my life has changed in endless bundles of amounts – even more than I can describe. I’ve been from Cairns to Brisbane, down to Sydney, and even further below to Melbourne. My travels have taken me across to Perth and up to Darwin. And that doesn’t even cover it. From working on the mines, to the farms, celebrating Pride, going to festivals, taking everyday dips in the ocean, to helicopter tours and bungee jumps.
I’ve done it all, and it has been unbelievable. And now, it’s your turn. You just have to try.
Your friend, Dan