Saturday, 26 April 2014


It's been a while since I've posted and I have a big Bali adventure blog coming up, but to be brutally honest, I'm finding it a little difficult to adjust back to Sydney.

For those of you who have travelled internationally before, and possibly for longer, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. The biggest thing isn't work, surprisingly; being in the office has actually been alright, if not almost pleasant.

The noise is doing my head in. For a country where I nearly got hit by a taxi or a bike 3 times day, whistled at by security, or yelled at by street vendors, Indonesia really was less stressful, and nowhere near as noisy. I sat in Martin Place the other day to try and acclimatise myself and just ended up with a headache and a weird twitch in my eye.

Westerners really do have the most appalling way of speaking too. Don't get me wrong, I'm lumping myself in with this crowd too, but I hope I make a concerted effort these days not to be this obnoxious. Two girls who sat next to me on the bus recently talked loudly enough for almost everyone to hear, and I now know way more about Maria's new boyfriend than I ever wanted to. 40 minutes of my life I'm never getting back., right there. 

I did a lot more walking overseas as well. I didn't realise just how much sitting I did until I got back, and two days later, my knee started to ache again. I haven't got any injuries, the doctor just reckons it's just a weakness in my patella. He's given me some exercises, which I memorised before I left so I could do them on the spot if needed. I never needed them. Not once. Even on the flights, I got up for a few minutes, stretched a little, and was fine. Once over there, nary a stray twinge to be seen. Back in Sydney, one day in the office, and the ache started in my knee and proceeded to lance down my thigh.

I'm aware doing a sedentary job means a lot of sitting, but even in my previous job - which was longer hours and much more sitting, I didn't get this. Possibly being on holidays means you're obviously more active, but surely the change wouldn't be this different...

A lot of you are probably thinking, of course holidays make things different, and I don't disagree, but there's something about the variances here that i can't just put down to being on holidays. For instance, for the last few weeks after getting back, I've needed less sleep. Albeit, the colder weather really is my element, but it's still warm enough, and I'm not sure holiday mode sleeping would last this long. I can go to bed anywhere between 11pm and 1am on a weeknight, and still get up when my alarm goes off at 6am ready to roll.

My skin has also gone to hell. Again, for a country as humid as Bali, my skin was lovely and soft, with barely a blemish in sight. Back in Sydney, I broke out within 48 hours, so I can hardly put that down to food or mistreatment by myself, as I hadn't had the time to re-establish any bad habits. It's definitely clearing up now, but it's taken the better part of 2 weeks to make it so.

Look, it's not all bitching about being back though. I am struggling to readjust, and it's taking longer than I expected, but it's also given me time to think. A little while back I promised myself that this would the last year of working the way I do. I'm not leaving my job by any means, but I decided that this time next year, I wouldn't be working 5 day weeks, or if I was, the money and benefits would be better.

It's funny how an international adventure and a serious culture shock solidifies your resolve. I can see so clearly now how much I want my goals, and how much more patience I'm going to need to get them. That's not to say they are any easier or harder than they were before I left, but removing yourself from your environment has the exceptional benefit of creating enforced clarity, and I can't recommend it enough.

Taking yourself out of your comfort zone, both physically and mentally, forces you to consider situations from a detached point of view. Being completely unable to do anything about them, creates a clearer and more focused thought-stream than I thought possible.

It sounds very much I'm getting on the 'take a break' bandwagon, which I know most of us don't have the money, let alone the time, to do. But I honestly can't praise this concept enough. You've also got to want it enough, and hence I'm wondering if you have to take yourself far enough out of your comfort zone for it to be effective.

Are the holidays we are all taking enough to recharge our batteries? Are we really giving ourselves a break to reboot, revilatise, and re-clarify our goals? I know in the last few years it hasn't felt like this. Until last November when I went to Melbourne for a week with lawyer-boyfriend, and then the amazing Bali adventure with my Mum, I hadn't had a holiday that was about me in over two years. Sure, I went away with my ex, and then there was a little trip to Byron not long after my 30th, but these last two really moved my soul. 

As hippie as that sounds, that's exactly what it was; I got some emotional and mental nourishment I just haven't had in a while. No small amount to the important people in my life, whom I was luckily enough to travel with.

Which brings me back to the point; are we really taking care of ourselves? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this, whether you think it's all about how you mentally approach having a break or purely an environmental factor.  I know it's given me some long-lasting food for thought.

I'm off to hide in my room a little longer though, there's only so many times I can hear the non-word 'yolo' before I start to get homicidal.


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