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How Australia Changed My Life

A picture taken during a fun week in Sydney, Opera House and Harbour Bridge in the background.

October 23, 2010. That’s the day my life would change forever.

Before that day I was living the most normal life a person could possibly be living. I went to high school, played soccer, was a member of Chiro, had a group of friends and went out every weekend. I went to and graduated from college, got a job and kept hanging out with friends.

Part of me was happy with that life, which after all is great, but another part wanted something more. Something different.
I still remember the day when I was in English class in high school and we had to read an article about Australia. It had a picture of Uluru and it talked about Aborigines and the outback. I was completely fascinated. The desire to go there myself some day had been born, even though at that moment I didn’t know it yet. During the next several years I never really thought about it again, but the idea was buried somewhere in the back of my mind.

Fast forward six years.

It wasn’t until after I got out of college and I found my first job that I really started thinking about what I wanted to do with my life. I had no clue at all. I was living an easy life, doing what everyone did and what everyone expected me to do. Graduating from college was easier than I thought it would be and life was treating me pretty well. Still, there was that part of me thinking about something else. About adventure and excitement. About challenges. That was when I remembered that picture of Uluru I saw years before. And I decided I had to go there. I HAD to go there. I didn’t want to be stuck in a routine of work weeks and weekends, not when I still was so young.

I decided to keep working for a while to save up some money.

Fast forward nine months.

I had quit my job, said goodbye to my friends and family and finished all my preparations. There I was, at the airport in Brussels early in the morning. I had never even set foot in an airport, let alone on a plane. I had never been to another continent. And, maybe most importantly, I had never been anywhere completely alone. Yet, this was what I wanted. This was what I was supposed to do. I knew it and I could feel it. I wasn’t nervous whatsoever. After all I was preparing for this moment for half a year.

So, I stepped on that plane as confident as I had ever been. Even though I knew that a lot of people had doubts about this, I had none. I was going to go for it. Have my own adventure. Gain new experiences. Meet people.

I won’t be talking about my actual time in Australia now. That’s why I started this blog in the first place, so there’s lots about my experiences to be found in the archives. (Remember there is a translate button at the bottom right for the non-Dutch speakers.)

Fast forward nine months again.

I was back home. Full of new ideas, goals and with a new perception of life and the world. I had found a new direction in my life. The direction I am supposed to be going in. And it’s not a traditional life. It will be a life of travel. Traveling and seeing new places has become a passion. I’m addicted to it. It has become really hard for me to spend several months at home. There’s the expression ‘to be bitten by the travel bug’, but it really does exist. And it got to me too.

I strongly believe that everyone should follow their passions, no matter what they are. It’s your life and only you can decide what to do with it and how to spend it. This quote that I read recently sums it up pretty well: “The more you love your decisions, the less you need others to love them.”
I also believe that there’s no reason to postpone the things you want to do. If you take care of the present, then the future will be alright.

Going somewhere by myself made me grow up. I learned to stand on my own two legs and to take care of myself. I learned to:

  • Be spontaneous and change my mind
  • Be creative at almost anything
  • Do laundry and cook food
  • Be flexible
  • Be more social
  • Take care of (serious) problems
  • Be myself

But by far the most important thing I learned is how to be free and follow my dreams.

It was the best decision I ever made in my life and possibly the best one I will ever make. It opened my eyes and changed my way of thinking.

Now I do know what I want to do with my life and it couldn’t be any clearer.

A closing note: It was a picture of Uluru in Australia’s Red Centre that got me going in the first place, but when I was in Australia I didn’t even make it there. How ironic is that?

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Published by Bram Reusen
Bram Reusen is a Belgian travel photographer, writer and the founder of Travel. Experience. Live. He now lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, USA. From backpacking and adventuring to slow travel and cycling trips, Bram focuses on nature and adventure travel. His passions are hiking in national parks and sampling craft beers.

4 thoughts on “How Australia Changed My Life

  • Hi 🙂

    I just did the exact same thing you describe in this article, also from
    Brussels by the way. What I wanted to ask though: how did you get through the first few days/ weeks? I’ve found myself being confused, lonely and disoriented. Like I’m lost in all this newness. It’s not the first time that I’m leaving by myself (I studied in China for three years) but it’s the first time I’m leaving my comfort zone without a plan… Any tips? Thaaaanks a million, dankjewel!

    Gwen

    • Hi Gwen! I met a bunch of people through Travellers Contact Point during my first two weeks in Australia. They’re really amazing, organizing a bunch of get-to-know-each-other activities such as pizza nights, city walks, pub crawls and harbor cruises. No better way to meet new people than that!

  • Hey Bram. So glad to found your Blog. I´m from Argentina and on february I´m moving to Australia.
    I agree with you, it´s like a feeling you can´t explain, I was stuck in the same routine, college, work and decide that there´s something else out there.
    Reading you make me feel more confidence.

    Thanks!

    • Thanks so much for your message, Flor. I’m thrilled that my own journey has been a (small) example to you. I wish you all the best with your move, Australia is a fantastic place to live!

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