I've travelled for so long that there is nothing more beautiful to me, than the memory of arriving, of belonging. I know how it feels, but not how I can recreate it. I've been in Sydney for five months, and yet it takes ages to find my place. I settled in with my job and my shared flat, I know how to get around the city and still, I'm just visiting. It's like my head hasn't caught up yet. It takes a long time to settle (and I'll probably have to wait much longer). I'm restless.
Life in Australia is hard and ruthless. No matter how rich people are, most live on the edge of their financial capabilities. Here, you always pay too much. Everything is too expensive. Everyone has to make maximum profits to survive. You never pay the actual price, and the profit margin is three to four times higher than in Europe. Even poor quality gets sold for horrendous amounts. In addition to products, every experience gets treated just the same. In the end, even with personal contacts, often only one thing counts the money. To get paid, it is morally justifiable to do anything you can. I'm thrown into situations that leave me speechless.
My Australian family life is similar to that at home. They live in a good neighbourhood, which is situated five minutes from the sea and ten minutes from the super-rich. Nobody here is poor. The family I live with values good food and proper manners, just like my own. I realise with dismay and on several occasions that I don't understand the parameters for politeness here and that I might have misplaced some of mine on my two-year journey through Asia.
From mine to yours! ;-)
Thank you so much for reading. It has been an exceptional year for me. I started it at the train station in Dehli, India, saying goodbye to Ahmed and boarding a train to Jaipur. I am ending it in Sydney, Australia, without any train in sight, curled up on a battered apple green leather couch, not sure of how to continue.
These past months have been busy and heavy. There is a lot to write about, but so much of it isn't finished. Part of me wants to wrap up this Australian chapter with a bow and move on. Other parts wish to stay and finish what I started. I will use my cherished Christmas break to reflect and make plans for the future.
To one more year of moving, seeing, feeling and experiencing this vast planet we all live on.