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Choosing the Path Less Taken: The Continual Stressors of Life Abroad

From the outside, moving to a new country seems exciting, thrilling, and something only those with money can afford to do. Relocating to a new country is exciting but also incredibly terrifying. The move may seem like the most stressful part of living abroad; however, some stressors are frequently present while living abroad. There are numerous reasons why one may move abroad. After many discussions with other immigrants, I've found 5 themes frequently arose:

1. Won't You Miss Your Family/Friends?
Excuse my French but no sh*t Sherlock. Of course, when you move to a foreign country, you're going to miss your friends and family. This is a given. It is continuously there no matter how long you've been away. You miss birthdays, holidays, births, weddings, the whole enchilada. Some people will understand this and continue to support you. Other people though find the separation to be a bit too much. 

I've had this happen with both friends and family. When returning home, I'm not choosing certain people over others. If I could, I'd visit everyone each time I'm back. Unfortunately, money and time tend to stop this. Losing people from your life because you chose to live abroad is never an easy thing to cope with. 

2. Immigration...The Stomach Ulcer of Departments
Oh lord, I swear once my immigration status is complete I will write an entire post about it. But as I'm sure nobody wants to read a 68-page manifesto on my frustrations with immigration today. Unless you're travelling on a straightforward visa such as a Tourist Visa or Work and Holiday Visa, immigration will become the bane of your existence. 

On almost a daily basis, one of my friends who is dealing with immigration has a breakdown. Now I can only speak for immigration in Australia but it stressful and continually changing. You think I'm joking, but almost every fortnight there's some sort of change to the website. Just the thought of checking the site fills me with anxiety. But if you adequately prepare, have some awesome friends, and cry into a tub of ice cream occasionally, you will be ok. 

3. Lack of Support System...You're Crashing and Burning on Your Own
Most people I've spoken to migrated to Australia solo. They did not know anyone, they're family was back in their home country, and they were on their own. I took the safer route, moving to Australia instead of England because there were people I knew in Melbourne. I figured worst comes to worst, I had at least one person I knew. 

I understand many people, regardless of where they live, do not have the luxury of close friends or family. It's kind of sh*t having to go through life on your own. But for those who do have an excellent support network, imagine a crisis where you need them immediately. The only problem, it's a minimum 15-hour flight plus travel time to get there. You run into financial hardships, high chance you're going to have a dangerous situation. You break up with the individual you moved countries for, you're crying solo into a tub of $15 Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream whilst listening to Sarah McLachlan instead of crying with your bestie. 

Even if you have an incredible support system in your new country, you're often overwhelmed with anxiety about being too much of a burden. Are people inviting you to holiday dinners because they want to or because they feel obligated? If something bad did happen, would anyone actually help you out? What if they think you're too much of a burden? Yay anxiety! 

4. The Constant Justification of Your Decision
Many will not understand why you chose to move to a foreign country. Whether this is out of envy, lack of understanding or just plain rudeness, facing these individuals is never a pleasant experience. I've personally heard, "what are you running away from?" or "you'll just fail and come home in a couple months". I've had friends be told they were stupid for moving across the world for the person they loved. I've heard stories of people entirely ending friendships because they didn't agree with the person moving. 

First off, it's not your dang decisions. Immigrants do not have to justify anything to you. If they're sharing tales of their move with you, you're probably important to them. So pull your head out of your butt and be friggin supportive. Moving to a new country is hard and scary. Each immigrant has their own reasons for moving. Deal with it. 

Secondly, please stop using the "your relationship is just going to fail, and then you'll be stuck in a foreign country alone" reasoning as to why a person shouldn't move. If it's ok for people to move cross country for love or end up on their fifth marriage, why can't someone move across the world for love? Statistically, you've got a 50/50 it'll work out but if that person is happy, who friggin cares! 

5. Potential Loss of Identity and Assimilation
When you move to a new country, you're constantly torn between staying true to your roots and assimilating to your new home. Where you were born shapes the person you've become, but if you cling too hard to the past, you'll find yourself sad, isolated, and wanting to move back asap. Where is the happy medium between old and new?

Fortunately, there are quite a few similarities between the US and Australia. Assimilation wasn't personally that difficult. But I've had conversations with friends from other countries who did assimilation difficult. It wasn't that they didn't want to adapt to Australian culture, it was simply overwhelming. They felt they were completely losing their identity. Not the most fun thing one can experience. 

Moving to a different country is a personal choice that does come with many challenges. Just because someone does not 100% fit the image of the country does not mean they're not attempting to assimilate. If one of your friends is an immigrant, try and understand things from their point of view. Give them pointers on how to adapt to life in their new country. Be supportive of their journey and their process. 

And until next time...
Stay Curious

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Be A Winter Warrior! Running the Sandy Point Half Marathon

Does anyone else find running during the winter a serious challenge? During summer, the beautiful, warm weather invites you into its gently breezing arms while you soak up the sunshine during your run. If you run during the winter, you get bitch slapped by the cold every step you take. With willpower slowly, or rapidly, depleting, how does one find the motivation to run during the colder times of the year?

*This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission from any purchases at no additional costs to you. All opinions are 100% my own*

I was never a runner. Heck, I still wouldn't even call myself a runner. Every race I run in physically and mentally inflicts pain on me. But I continue to sign myself up for race after race. Why you may ask? Because it challenges me and forces me to continually better myself. I had run a handful of races during more pleasant weather, so I thought why not sign up for the Sandy Point Half Marathon. 

*In full disclosure, I did not actually run the half marathon. I only signed up for the 10K so still maintained a little bit of my sanity*

The easiest way to force yourself to sign up during the winter, SIGN UP FOR A RACE. It doesn't matter the length. Even a 5K can seem like a bloody marathon when you have icicles dangling from your eyelashes. The point is, you've already signed up and paid the money. Do not allow your warm, comfy blanket to entice you into spending money with zero follow through!

After you've given yourself the kick in the pants needed to sign up for a race, it's time to get some proper winter running clothes. DO NOT make my mistake. I ran in 8C without the mist and wind chill factor in a cotton t-shirt. I cannot stress enough that running in cotton is never a good time. 

I highly recommend something with cool-dry technology so that even when you sweat you stay nice and dry and warm. Invest in a decent pair of compression leggings and a long-sleeved top, and you'll never want to stop running! If you're in an even colder climate than Melbourne, layers are your friend. Rug up with a jacket, beanie, gloves, and those little hand warmers. 

I did not think this through properly

Now that you're prepped with your cool winter wardrobe, it time to vary up your runs. It's ok to run on the treadmill and elliptical but make sure you're running outside at least once a week, NO MATTER WHAT THE WEATHER IS. This will help prepare you for any forecast Mother Nature may send your way race day. 

Alright, you little winter warrior, you've got your clothes, you've prepped for your race, and now it's race day. Time to go out there and rock the heck out of the run and prove yourself to be a winter warrior! 

I don't think any preparation could have prepared me for how cold it was going to be race day. The mist from the ocean gently coating me like I was a popsicle that stayed in the freezer for too long was not my idea of a good day. But for some reason, the cold made me run faster. I was ready to get the race done and over with! Running with Archer also gives me an added boost of adrenaline to keep the pace up. 

To recap, when running during the winter:
1. Sign yourself up for a race. This will give your first boost of motivation.
2. Get yourself some good winter activewear.
3. Prepare, prepare, prepare

Do you prefer running during warmer or colder weather? Share your running stories in the comments below. 

And until next time...
Stay curious!

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10 Phrases You Should Know Before Visiting Australia

I recently travelled back to the US for a bit of a forced holiday. It would seem each time I return "home" it feels less and less like my actual home. Everywhere I went, I felt like a tourist in the town I grew up in. While change is the only true constant, the rapid rate of accelerated change (not necessarily in a positive direction) made my little hometown look completely unfamiliar. 

Not only had the facade of the town completely changed, but it would also appear the people had too. Or at least, I had. I did not view this as a negative. It's only natural living in a different country would make me a foreigner to the locals. Even my friends and family often struggled to decipher what I was saying. 

The fact that people regularly had to ask what the bloody hell I was talking about made me laugh a fair bit. Many people would scream that I needed to stop speaking Australian because I was in America. Mate, I was speaking English. Same as the rest of America. 

It made me question, was it worth reverting to the American way of saying various words and phrases only to face the same ridicule when I returned home? In my mind, it wasn't worth using the extra brain power to translate between the two dialects of English and often used the Australian slang. 

A day did not pass where I wasn't asked, "I'm sorry but what in the world are you talking about?" But what if the situation was reversed? What if my friends were on holiday in Australia? What are some of the most common phrases they would need "translated"? 

A warning to all those who venture to Australia. Do NOT greet any Australian by saying "G'day mate. Wanna throw another shrimp on the barbie?" You will be promptly deported from the country. Also, avoid the word root. Unless you're prepared for a fascinating conversation to proceed. 

1. "How ya going?" 
If you're coming from the US, this is the same as "How are you?". While Australians will not look at you like you're nuts if you say "How are you," you're generally greeted with a warmer response if you use "how are you going."

I frequently used "how are you going" when I was back in the US and got heaps of funny looks and questions from this phrase. 
2. "TA." 
Aussies shorten everything! I cannot stress this enough. "TA" is a great example of this. Instead of saying "thank you" after a transaction or being helped, simply say "TA." 

3. "She'll be right."
This is another way to say "don't worry about it" or "it'll be alright." If it sounds a bit too foreign for you, simply use "no worries." 
4. "Good on ya mate."
Using this phrase is another way of saying "well done" or "nice job." 

5. "It's my shout."
A word to my American friends, if you're going out with a group of Aussies, you're going to be paying for drinks in rounds. It's rare that people will order their drinks separately. When you're going to cover the round or the bill, it's your shout. Want to make friends quickly? Tell them the first round is your shout. 

6. "Yeah, nah" or "nah, yeah."
Depending on how you use this will dictate what you're trying to convey. "Yeah, nah" is another way of saying no whereas "nah, yeah" is saying yes. If you're from California, these two phrases will be no surprise to you. 
7. "I'm knackered."
You're exhausted. Even if you tried, you couldn't muster up the strength to put on your rally pants. It's time to take a nap and rest up for the next adventure. 

8. "Feeling a bit crook."
Starting to feel under the weather? You may be a bit crook (sick). Sometimes things can get a bit rowdy in Australia so having this phrase up your sleeve will help heaps. 

9. "Taking the piss."
The word piss has about 20 different meanings in Australia depending on how it is being used. If you're poking fun at something, you're taking the piss. 

10. "Where's the/your local?"
Every suburb has their own local, the pub where people who live in that suburb go to drink. Many locals tend to have pretty decent food and cheaper drink prices than if you decided to go out in the CBD. Plus, you'll make some awesome Aussie friends instead of being surrounded by tourists. 

Bonus Phrase"A few tinnies short of a slab" or "a kangaroo loose in the paddock." I absolutely love these phrases. They're similar to "a few fries short of a happy meal" or "not the sharpest tool in the shed." They both bring a smile to my face every time I hear them. Please, everyone, use these! 

There are quite a few other slang words that are beneficial to learn prior to visiting Australia, especially if you're from the United States. Keep up to date with everything Adventures in Aussieland so that you're fully prepared for your trip to Australia. If you've ever visited this incredible country, what were some of the words and phrases that confused you the most? Share them in the comments below.

And until next time...
Stay curious!

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Adventures in the Dandenong's: William Ricketts Sanctuary

There are very few places on this planet that both amaze me and scare me. William Ricketts Sanctuary is one of those places. Throughout the lush Dandenong forest, you'll find intricate carvings of Aboriginal Australians blending seamlessly into the surroundings. 

Any Doctor Who fans out there? If so, William Ricketts Sanctuary may be right up your alley! The Sanctuary gives off a little bit of a Doctor Who Weeping Angel vibe. The entire time walking through the sanctuary I kept wanting to make sure I was looking at each of the statues as to not get sent back in time. 
Anyone else get a Weeping Angel vibe?

As soon as you enter the sanctuary, you are embraced by this amazing sculpture garden. The gardens project a place of spiritual tranquillity. The sculptures, half hid by the ferns and other natural fauna, aid in making the sanctuary the perfect place for quiet reflection.

As you continue to walk through the sanctuary, you truly get to see William Ricketts vision unfold. The house where William used to live serves as an additional information centre. In the house, you're able to learn more about the life and vision of William. It was a beautiful place to a take a little bit of a rest and learn more about the inspiration behind the sculptures.

Incredible he never had any training!
It takes about 15-20 minutes to walk through the entire sanctuary however, one could quite easily spend up to an hour looking at all the beautiful, mysterious statues. If you're travelling through the Dandenong Ranges, it is a beautiful, quick stop before exploring other areas. If you choose to stop by after going on a hike (like we did), I would suggest ending the day at the Alfred Memorial Gardens. It is located within close proximity of the Sanctuary and is a lovely way to end the day.

If you were in Melbourne would you want to visit William Ricketts Sanctuary? If you have visited, what was your favourite part about the sanctuary? Want to learn more about the Dandenong Ranges? Click HERE!

Until next time...
Stay curious!

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