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And just like that, I’m home and everything has changed so quickly. So quickly that even this paragraph I wrote 10 days ago is almost irrelevant but I thought I’d share in anyway.

‘It’s a strange time, there are moments where I forget that it’s real life. Grounded flights, countries on lockdown and barren supermarkets feels more like something out of a dystopian disaster film than a week in 2020. But that is what’s happening. It’s all anyone is talking about and it’s taken over a lot of people’s thoughts. I think partially because it’s a situation so out of anyone’s control, people like to be able to plan and control situations as much as possible but in this instance it’s impossible. I’ve been trying to plan my travels over the past week which has proved slightly difficult, the unknown creates a hesitancy to plan anything more than a few days in advance. My brother has just had to cancel his trip of a lifetime to India and another friend had to decide to postpone 5 months in South America the day before she was meant to fly. Obviously the virus is having a far worse effect on the health and livelihoods of others, it’s just the scale of the impact I can’t get over. Suddenly I’m wondering whether and when I’ll be able to get home and if I should be putting any kind of plan in place.’

Five days and much deliberating after that, I booked a flight home. A hard decision but the developments in the past week have reassured me it was the right one. If I’d stayed in Australia I wouldn’t have been able to travel, would’ve lost my job and just been stuck there, paying rent, on lockdown and on the other side of the world to the people I cared about. I was lucky, over the last couple of days it’s become pretty much impossible to leave Aus and all non-essential businesses have closed.

Being back feels strange, it’s like I never left, the past 10 weeks past are a hazy dream with golden edges. It’s been very different to the homecoming I’d imagined, there hasn’t been any excitement or big reunions with friends, no one is interested in hearing about my trip when there are so many more important things on people’s minds. I’m frustrated at myself, part of me feels I wasted the time. I went all that way and didn’t make it outside of Sydney, I didn’t see the best parts of the country or experience the any of the incredible scenery. But I’m just trying to remind myself that that’s ok and actually focus on what I did do rather than what I didn’t. I ate, drank and sunbathed my way around the city and felt what it’s like to live there, a luxury I shouldn’t take for granted. I met some wonderful people and I’ve been thinking that even if those friendships are the only thing to have come out of the past 10 weeks, then they were still definitely absolutely worth it.

There will probably be a final Australia post once the initial shock of this has all passed, there are photos and stories I still want to share but I’m not sure now is the right time. I hope you’re ok, that staying in isn’t driving you completely mad and the disruption to life isn’t too much, remember it’ll pass. Stay safe, stay inside and stay in touch x

Instagram: @IndiaGarrett

Twitter: @IndiaGarrett

 

Australia: Part 3

A month in Australia and I’ve moved into my new place, the location is great, the number of cockroaches who also seemed to have moved in is less great but it’s all part of the experience. I’ve made a bit more of a plan for the next few months which is exciting, Sydney is brilliant but I’m aware there is a whole country to see which I’m looking forward to. In the meantime, I need to earn some money to be able to afford all the travelling I want to do so the job hunt continues, with more urgency everyday. 

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Being unemployed means lots of time for people watching which I’m enjoying, I’ve noticed there is always lots to take in when you’re in a new place but I think that perhaps the longer you spend somewhere, the more you notice it all. When you’re just visiting, you tend to rush through the days, trying to see everything and fit it all in. But when it’s more permanent and you have the luxury of empty days there is more time to observe the routines and the movements of a place. That being said, I thought I’d share a few things I’ve noticed since being out here, a few things about the movements of the city.

  • There is more small talk and fleeting connections. When people in coffee shops or supermarkets are asked how their day is going it’s met with a smile and a conversation instead of that subconscious british hostility we’re so used to.
  • They toast their banana bread which makes a simple but life-changing difference. This is the only place I’ve been where I feel like my love for banana bread is matched.
  • Bus drivers wait for people, if they see you running they won’t close the doors seconds before you reach them, they’ll hold on a minute. Generally everyone can hold on a minute, the sense of urgency that exists amongst us at home seems more rare here.
  • Early starts and early finishes. I saw a sign in a gym window inviting people to join a running group that meets at 4.40am. On Saturdays. The days end much earlier too with people eating out at 6 and heading home rather than experiencing the long summer evenings.
  • Coffees are tiny, it seems like caffeine is there to serve a purpose rather than be enjoyed. They have keep cups the size of espressos and most lattes you can see off in two sips.
  • The more cockroaches you see, the less fazed you are by them. Slightly concerning because I definitely don’t want to get used to sharing my kitchen with the uninvited guests but on day one I was squirming at the sight and now I’m batting them away like flies.

So a month of not working has been great, it’s been incredible to enjoy the city, but I’m ready for a job now, for more routine and structure and something to fill the days. So if someone could hire me now that’d be great. Please.

Instagram: @IndiaGarrett

Twitter: @IndiaGarrett

Australia: Part 2

Today, by complete accident, I found myself at the beach where my family celebrated New Years Eve back in 2006. It’s funny how these things happen. How you can stumble back to a place or a person from a different time and it seems like a whole life ago. I guess in this case it kind of was, a lot has changed since 2006, expectedly so. It would not be good if I still looked like I did in 2006.

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I had the day completely to myself and it was brilliant. It made me think back to two years ago when I was in Cambodia on my own. I found it hard, I’m a sociable person and as much as I could chat to people, I found the fleeting connections frustrating and struggled to be in my own head so much. Today I didn’t have that problem. I read, swam, listened to podcasts, sunbathed, had lunch and did it all as and when I wanted. It sounds silly but when I realised I was so happy and content in my own company, I felt so aware of how far I’ve come and such a sense of self-assurance. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t come to Australia and decided I don’t need to see anyone else, I’ve met some great people and started some friendships but sometimes it’s nice to have a day of complete self indulgence.

Back home, two of my friends have just got new jobs, another is moving into her new flat, one has just finished their dissertation and another has just booked a ticket to South America and it got me thinking about the differences in lives at this age. I’ve found there’s no competition, no comparison, just support, happiness and encouragement. Everyone is just working out their own life in their own time and I’m so pleased we’re at this point. There’s so many options and none of them are right or wrong, it’s a time to do whatever you want without justification or explanation. It’s exciting and something that I found overwhelming a few years ago, like too much time on my own.

Ok, enough with all the cheesy sentimental stuff. Enjoy a few photos from the past week instead.

One final thing I will say about being on your own though is that there’s no one to watch out for sunburn so I’m now the colour of a well cooked lobster. A gentle reminder that we all need other people or a harsh reminder of my own stupidity? You decide.

Instagram: @IndiaGarrett

Twitter: @IndiaGarrett

Australia: Part 1

Day 3 in Australia and this morning I went for coffee with a boy who didn’t have shoes on. He picked me up, drove to town, parked, walked to the cafe, bought our coffees, and it wasn’t until we sat down that I noticed he was barefoot and I thought yeah, I’m definitely in Australia now.

It’s been a long time coming so it feels strange to actually be here, to feel like I’ve been here for a while and to be settling into a routine.

It’s rained all day in Sydney. The heavy hot kind that you don’t mind feeling on your skin and letting it soak you to the bone. It feels cleansing, like it’s washing away the dust and flooding out the city so it’s ready for new things. It’s not like English rain, you don’t want to hide from it, you want to live in it, to experience it. And I feel ready to experience it.

Boarding the plane on Monday I wasn’t sure that I was. It was harder than expected to leave London behind, to leave the laughter and the happiness and the people for the unknown. I was surprised that for potentially the first time in my life, I didn’t want to rush on to the next thing, there was no burning desire to leave my world behind. I know that’s a good thing but it definitely made it harder to leave and made me doubt what I was doing. Why would you choose to leave guaranteed happiness for the unknown? But to think like that means there would never be new adventure or people or places and now that I’m here, I know that actually leaving was the hardest part.

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The joy of the past few months means there’s no pressure on this trip anymore. It doesn’t need to be life changing or help me decide who I want to be or fulfil anything that was missing, that all happened before I left the country. I know that dancing around a kitchen in London can be just as good as lying on a beach in Sydney, maybe even better. Thinking about it now, you’ve got to find your happiness in the small stuff, in the day to day, the coffee and the dinners with friends and the dog walks. If it only came from trips to the other side of the world you’d so rarely experience it.

Ultimately, I feel so lucky to have people to miss, to have a life to miss and something to look forward to going back to, whenever that may be. In the meantime, I’ll be here, experiencing it all, throwing myself in, taking each day as it comes, eating a lot of brunch and working on my tan. Maybe I’ll even stop wearing shoes.

Instagram: @IndiaGarrett

Twitter: @IndiaGarrett

P.S If anyone does fancy a trip to the other side of the world, you know where I am x