I have to admit – this blog post has been in my outlook calendar reminders for 15 weeks. But here I am, finally finding the motivation and headspace to write again – to let you know what on earth has happened since 2016 – the best year of our lives.
For those who are new on-board the NAC blog; last year my boyfriend of 7 years (James) and I, travelled for a total of 10 months. We drove around Australia for seven months and backpacked across Africa for three. It was an incredible year of discovery, not just of our own country, and the African Savannah, but of ourselves and what we want in life. Since returning home, life has moved along rapidly in a whole new direction. And it is now, when I stare out the train window on my way to work, and dream of those days swimming in waterfalls and chasing lions, that the lessons from a year of travel really begin to sink in. It is now that we are putting those lessons into practice, as we navigate our way through this adult kind of life.
The uphill climb
When we arrived home from Africa in October 2016 we were ready to take life by the reins. With broadened perspectives, sun-tanned skin and the energy of people who average 20,000 steps a day – we set out to pave the way for our future. It felt like the fog of societal pressures had lifted and we were able to see things for what they were – making decisions based exactly on what we wanted. We began applying for career jobs, searching for a place to live, and promoting NAC Ts and singlets, in between carting hay on the farm.
But the journey to where we are today wasn’t all that easy. When the Aussie summer heat wore off in March, moving out seemed impossible, and we had each applied for over 20 jobs, the shine of being home began to fade. As I continued to check emails, look for jobs, walk dogs cook dinners day in, day out – I began to ask myself – how many of these daily ‘life admin’ tasks were changing my life?
Moments that shape your future
When we were travelling, every day changed our lives. We woke up somewhere new, discovered a new waterfall, hiked a new mountain summit, had incredible conversations about the world. I began to really miss the nomadic lifestyle.
Now this is the part where I could easily tell you that all of a sudden James and I landed our dream jobs and bought a block of land…. Or I could make you feel a bit more human and tell you the truth.
The truth involves stressful job interviews. It involves double layers of deodorant, sweaty palms and big vision questions that left me feeling small. It involves the ecstatic hype of thinking you have your dream job, and the shattering low of being told you missed out by the hair of a whisker – of course to somebody with more experience.The truth is that I almost lost hope of a successful career driven future. I was stuck in the dichotomy of needing experience to be employed, and needing to be employed to get the experience. A scenario familiar to many uni grads.
It was at this very point – the point of either giving up and returning to study – or persisting – that one of the most important lessons I learnt last year got me through to achieve success. It was faith in the future and patience with the current situation. In 2016 I finally learnt how to let go a little bit and life proved to me that things will, and do, happen for a reason. Yes, it sounds cliché, whatever, but I truly believe if it’s meant to be, it will be, sometimes you just have to ride the wave. Not convinced? Let me prove it to you:
After yet another rejection call I was recommended to check the Probono website for NFP job listings. Having already visited the site I believed I had applied for everything I could. But upon a second desperate glance there was one communications position I hadn’t attempted – most likely because the PD was 5 pages long and I was almost certain it was out of my league. The job applications had closed 2 days prior, but the contact details still appeared at the bottom of the ad. What did I have to lose? I emailed the organisation that evening. Simply asking if they were still taking applicants. My email signature included the link to my LinkedIn profile.
I didn’t receive an email back to my question, but I had a missed call on my phone the following morning – no voicemail just a mysterious number sitting red in the missed calls list. I couldn’t let the unknown dominate my thoughts, so I called it back. Well you probably see where this is going – it was the organisation’s Deputy Director. He had viewed my LinkedIn profile and wanted to meet in person. In the next two days I had a job offer – it was Christmas Eve. And it seemed like the best Christmas present that ever was. Nobody could wipe the smile off my face.
It all started to fall into place and my damaged self-esteem began to repair itself. James and I are now both working in fulfilling positions, the next NAC range of products have just landed in our online store and we have purchased a block of land to build a home. Starting work full-time has been a steep learning curve – but I will leave those life lessons for another blog. For now, I want to give you hope in the future, I want to give you faith in fate and I want to give you the motivation to live your dreams. Just when you start to think things are never going to work out – you might just find that the sun peeps through the clouds.
Best wishes for your next life adventure Nomads!
Talk soon, Lauren oo