Going abroad at 18

Brave, ridiculous, dumb or just amazing?

When I was 18 and finished high school I started law at university, soon enough I realised that it wasn’t what I wanted to do, so after the first semester I dropped out.

In my youth I was fortunate enough to travel a lot with my parents to different places around the world. One country we never went to was Australia, but for some reason it had always been a dream of mine to go there. So after dropping out of university, I travelled around Australia for 7months.

The question you’re probaly asking is, how did you get from dropping out of university to the other side of the world?    “Let’s go to Australia!” wasn’t the first thing that popped into my mind of course.

Although it was my choice to drop out, I felt like a failure and I didn’t have the right mindset. When I told friends and family that I dropped out, the first question they asked was “so what are you going to study now then?” Everybody just assumed that I would start another course in the second semester, but that wasn’t really what I had in mind…

I just needed a break from studying and as cheesy as it sounds I needed to find myself and find out what I wanted to do next in life. So I carefully spoke about it with my parents and told them that I wanted to go abroad, but as you could expect they didn’t jump on board immediately, which is understandable because I was only 18 and their “little girl”. After a while they understood it was the best option for me at the time, so we started to sort things out and a month later I was in Australia!

It wasn’t until I actually landed in Sydney that I realised what I had got myself into. I remember standing in the arrival hall being absolutely exhausted from the 32hr flight. All I could think was “Ooh boy this was such a bad idea! Why did I do this?! Get me out of here!” There was no way back. Although I felt scared, I think I was even more overwhelmed and reality was setting in .

 “You’re so brave for doing this at such a young age!” is the response I got a lot! To me that word “brave” always sounded just a bit weird. I knew it was a compliment but all I could think was, ‘Was it really a brave decision?’

Even when I was in Australia, most of the people that I got in touch with were graduated from uni and took a gap year before starting work life, so yeah most of them were older, but if you ask me “ would you do it again at the age of 18?” I would say YES – absolutely! Personally I think it’s the best way to learn things, you just get thrown in the real world and you just have to find a way to swim along and there are so many people that help you along the way, if something goes wrong.

So I’m in Sydney with all my fresh clothes that my mum had washed just before I left, but after a week of being in Sydney those fresh clothes weren’t so fresh anymore… what now? I had never done my own laundry before I left because my mum always did it. You see those are the little things you learn and yeah I might have washed my clothes once or twice at the wrong temperature or left a red sock with my white clothes so all of them turned pink…. (Good job ac!) But it’s like what they say you fall and you stand up again and you have learned something new.

So is it brave to fall? I don’t know, don’t we all fall once in our life?

Another thing you learn is managing your money. First of all Australia is really expensive, there is no lie there. In the beginning I was shocked and didn’t realize how expensive it was. You just go to the shop to buy food and you think that you barely bought anything, you go to the counter and hear “ so that’s $75 please…” What?! I’ve barely bought anything! So yeah next time I went I looked carefully at all the prizes and just bought all the cheap stuff, you learn making little decisions. If you want to travel, you have to learn to save your money because it is just expensive, so if you really are craving another beer on your night out you start thinking “I might need those $5 to save up for my skydive”. I’m not saying you can’t drink or go out – not at all – it’s all part of it but instead of drinking 5 beers on a night, sometimes 3 is just as fun and you have saved $10.

I guess a lot of people say that it is brave because they can’t put it together and they are afraid of the unknown… but I guess the people who actually go are adventurers and they get over the fact that it’s “unknown” because they get to know it… and that is the brave part! Not the fact that you go to the other side of the world on your own, but that you actually get over the unknown and make it the known!

I guess what I’m trying to say is that in this world we live in right now, everybody is just happy with what they know and don’t have the desire to go a bit further and go explore the unknown.

I guess most parents are just afraid to let their kids go, but at one point they have to do so anyway, they can’t keep them close forever, I get that, but why not a little bit sooner and let them experience this beautiful world? Once in their life they will hit their head against the wall, but why not during this amazing adventure? Everybody is brave that goes and explore, whether you go and explore a shop that you never went to or go and explore a foreign country – it’s all brave!


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