"I returned home and sold my store and planned to move to Australia for a year. This was one of the biggest decisions of my life so far. But even though I felt nervous, I felt very alive."
Since I was very young, I have always worked really hard. By 21 I was running my own company and of course this takes a lot of work.
Many young people worked for me, often just to earn money to go travelling. I sometimes thought that maybe I should travel too? These people were in my age group, had fun and travelled. I was just working. Basically all the time. Maybe time for a change?
Said and done, I went to Asia for 3 months. First stop Bangkok. On arrival in the airport I remember asking myself “what have I done?” I felt VERY lost and lonely.
After I calmed down I found a hotel and the rest of the trip was a success. Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. I was hooked.
I returned home and sold my store and planned a trip to Australia for a year. The whole process of planning a year away and selling the company to go out into the unknown without any idea of what might happen was exciting but also scary. I was quite stressed out in the end before I left. This was one of the biggest decisions of my life so far. But even though I felt nervous, I felt very alive.
As soon as I sat down for takeoff I just felt joy and excitement. This was the right decision! The only plan I had was to go to Brisbane and meet up with Jon, an English friend I met in Cambodia when I was travelling through Asia. We had also spent some time diving in Thailand after that.
He was going to take me to the Gold Coast to meet his half-brother who had lived there for 20 years.. He was turning 50 and a lot of family from England was supposed to come over to celebrate. Laurie went to Australia by boat when he was 19. Jon had only really met him a few times.
That family changed my life. Laurie, his wife Liz and daughter Jemma were amazing. I loved them from the start. And there, in a big family reunion with family members not seeing each other for many years, there I was! A girl from Sweden. And I felt at home!
I stayed for 3 months. My friend Jon left to travel more, but I stayed. I was a part of the family and Jemma felt like a little sister. I was also extremely tired. Probably from working so hard in the end before I left and the stress of making so many big decisions. So it was nice to have a home.
There was also Laurie’s older sister Ginni and her husband Michael there. One of the loveliest couples I know. Even if it’s now about 14 years ago, we are still in contact and have met up several times. Ginni, Michael, Laurie, Liz and Jem are my chosen family and I love them.
Finally I started travelling around Australia and I’ve now been almost everywhere. I kept in contact with the family and I returned a couple of times before my year was over.
I love Australia and I could write a whole book about all the fun and crazy stuff that happened to me under that year. I learnt so much about myself. That year changed my life and I met some of my favorite people. Friends that I will have for life.
Thank god for that decision to travel!
Marie Zamora lives in Sweden with her husband and two children. She is soon to embark on her next adventure - travelling with the family to South America. You can reach her by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org