Australia is a fascinating country. Not only for me, but for many other people as well. Every year countless of travellers hit the Australian roads and cities. So did I. It was always a dream of mine to go to country full of natural variety. A place where it’s sunny, warm and where you can go for a surf everywhere at any time. And what could fit better than a country that’s bigger than the whole of Europe?
So, back in 2014, I just packed my bags, sorted out some personal stuff, got my visa and just headed off, with no clue what was waiting for me. Obviously I tried to inform myself upfront, but as you might know yourself from travelling, you only really get to know a country when you have been there yourself. Never listen to prejudices. That’s one big lesson Australia taught me. And this is what this post is all about how Australia changed my life and what I have learned.
Basically, Australia was a great teacher for me, personally. And this is why I love this country so much. It is not just the natural beauty, the exceptional kindness of the Australians and way of living in Down Under, but it is also what travelling a country like Australia can teach you for life. Especially some specific moments have helped me to improve my character and learn a lot of valuable lessons.
During my first couple weeks I was completely on my own. After a great couple of days at Melbourne Metro YHA, I went to start my adventure. Because I could not really find anything suitable at first, I had to stay in a tent in a dirty garage of a really dodgy guy. A perfect start! I just could not stand that, so I needed to find something different.
During ‘White Night’ in Melbourne I met an Indian guy, who was one of the nicest people I have ever met in my entire life. He let me stay in his house for free for three and a half weeks. Just a really kind dude. Sometimes I even got invited for dinner. And it was not just him. When I was lost in the streets of Melbourne (that happens in the first couple of weeks sometimes!), the Australian people just come up to you and ask “G’day mate. You look a little lost. Can I help you?”. This happened to me several times.
It just fascinates me how people can be so nice. Why? Because back home in Germany it’s the complete opposite most of the time. This is why I changed my behaviour as well after a short period of time. It just happens naturally. When you live in an environment full of friendly and happy people, you become friendly and happy yourself, very quickly. And this personal change led to other great opportunities.
I got a sales job, where I learned countless lessons about myself and other people. I also got a room in nice flat share, where I got to know the coolest people from all over the world. One guy even came from Mauritius, a place I had never heard of before! This dude has such a lovely soul and he is still a friend of mine today. This person was one of those guys where you could really see how being a genuine, honest and friendly person leads to having a fulfilled life. You could really see it in his eyes and from the way he just lives his life. A great role model. The same thing occurred with my manager from the sales job, who I’m also still in contact with. Just in a different kind of way. He is the complete opposite. He is also a nice person, but way more driven and addicted to his personal visions and goals. He taught me a lot about how to set goals, how to reach them, what to do to get ahead, what kind of mindset you need to succeed in life (generally) and much more. Just way more practical. I really learned a lot on how much having the right attitude matters in life. Everything we do is connected to our thoughts and to the way we see things. If you think you can climb a mountain, then you can. If you think you can not, then you can’t. It always just depends on your attitude.
Today, I try to combine those two ways of living every single day of my life. And I am very grateful for the lessons I learned from those people. But all this was only possible, because I got out of my comfort zone and I opened up to almost every person that I met. This is a critical requirement in order to change. If you’re not willing to open up and do the things that make you uncomfortable, then you should not start traveling anyway. Because travelling is all about opening up, making new contacts, gaining new experiences and eventually becoming a better person.
One last small anecdote, which is a very important one in my opinion. I found that a lot of travellers present travelling as this magical holy thing where you start to become a happy person automatically. It seems like many people want to tell you, that you “truly find yourself” while travelling – ALWAYS. But that’s complete BS. Sorry for the harsh words. But it’s just not true.
Don’t get me wrong. Travelling is a great teacher and you do find yourself in a way, but it doesn’t just happen from one to the other. You really have to be willing to do it. And travelling is not always fun. It can be really hard sometimes, just like anything else in life. You will feel lonely and lost sometimes. But in these situations, you have to keep pushing and keep moving. Just don’t stop your travels and then you will eventually see, how travelling also changes your life!
Read more articles from Christian on his blog, Volle on Tour.