The coming of days. The passing of years.

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I’ll be twenty-eight in approximately sixty minutes.

Keeping me up is the ridiculous concern that, in accordance with the sun rising tomorrow, so will the world’s expectations of me. Ageing and anxious.

Two decades earlier, I was young and free. I couldn’t wait for the light of day and the permission it granted for me to open my presents.

It seems insecurities can gatecrash any party. Even our own.

I start rummaging through my memory, looking for those plans I wrote under the enchantment of teenage naivety: ‘Life at 28’.  I scrunch it up and throw it onto the pile with editions 24, 25, 26, and 27.

A smirk, a flick, and it’s all up in flames.

I don’t oppose having plans. But it is said, you can’t control the direction of the wind; you can only adjust your sails.

I still remember the week I turned 26. A gust came through from a future I never imagined to lead me to where I am today. My curiosity allowed me to be carried me away. But what if my fear kept me fixed to all that was familiar?

Regardless how drastically different our decisions are, they all raise a similar question… what if.

Perhaps a wondering mind is the sign of a wanting heart. Some people love almost every moment of their lives, and only wonder how they got so lucky. I hope that’s you.

I’m me –  someone who spends a lot of time wondering where they went ”wrong”. Especially on my birthdays.

But not this year.

I’ve learned a few things over the last two years. Mostly from my own experiences – going overseas, moving states, working in the mental heath field, and addressing my own issues. And from people who have pieced together their dream life; people that have lives that are in pieces; and people like me, who are somewhere in the middle. I even met a guy who was pronounced dead after suffering a brain aneurism while having sex – luckily coming back to life (no pun).

As old and wise as we feel, we’re still children of chance. There’s no stopping the world from turning, seasons from changing, or our hairs from graying. Before wishing it could be better, we should be grateful for all the ways it’s not worse. Time is precious and what ifs, worries, and waiting on God to answer our prayers only wastes it.

For that reason, this birthday, I’m cutting myself some slack with my cake, and I’m saving you a slice of both.

Tomorrow

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5 years doesn’t fit into 60 minutes. But this morning, I tried.

I saw Graham, a psychologist, for a free one hour consultation. My plan was to explain all that was wrong in half that time, giving him the rest of it to tell me how to make things right. But anyone who has ever had one of these spill-it-all conversations – with a professional, close acquaintance, or total stranger – knows they’re no straight road.

Nearing my late twenties, I wasn’t sure where to start. I can’t remember exactly when the clouds started rolling in. I just know they’ve been following me around and raining down more frequently than usual.

Stumbling over several stumps of silence, I got out a ‘bit about myself’.

Then, thinking of this time as too precious, I took control of the conversational wheel, making a sharp turn towards the topic of my desire of certainty and my disgust of anxiety.

Halt.

Graham was quick to point out – having volunteered in a developing country, and most recently moved states – my actions have a remarkably different tone to my words.

I lost at least 5 minutes to silence after that.

Before I knew it, he was explaining my options for moving forward: The costs, the rebates, his limited availability during the week.

This isn’t to say I didn’t appreciate his help. He is the only professional I’ve ever come across that offers a service for free. He had some great points… but he didn’t have the answers.

Maybe, no one does. Maybe some songs just have to play themselves out.

As I walked out into the streets, the sunlight hit my face. A ray of optimism came over me. I hoped today will be a good day.

But if not, there’s always tomorrow.

Only tomorrow knows what today doesn’t. If you give it the chance, tomorrow can bring you what today didn’t.

 

 

 

Sydney Month 3: Spring is Coming

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These words brought a smile to my face, which was far from my expression when my doctor suggested I go on Zoloft; and nothing like the looks my co-workers had when I arrived at the office in thongs, with a smell emanating from my feet as a result of that morning’s plumbing problems.

I left my housemate with a mop in hand and feet in sewerage water as I hurried to work. But not without first returning with a fresh muffin from the cafe down the road. It wasn’t much, but it was what I could do.

When I got here 3 months ago, I didn’t feel the same way about making it through winter. I honestly thought I would crumble; break; snap – or one of the many physical depictions of mentally giving in.

It’s been a challenge. The transition from a slow island in the South Pacific to Australia’s biggest city isn’t easy – or easily explained. To many it’s all ‘just another day’, but I can’t help being put off by the overpowering cold, cement surroundings, and presence of consumerism.

So understandably, there have been many nights where I’ve been left asking myself: “Why did I come here?” But truth be told, a few months ago, there were just as many sleepless nights spent keeping company to the thought: “Why stay here?”

But as my new housemate rightfully stated:

“You can’t run.”

I feel it’s important to mention that this experience has introduced me to what share housing is really like. Previously, I’d only lived with close friends. I’ve since learned that differences are to be expected, but also traversed through honest conversation. In this instance – despite our differences in where we’ve come from and going – we discovered a rather unexpected mutual understanding. It’s that wherever you go, so will whatever you’re trying to escape.

I know the importance of properly addressing ‘issues’ rather than avoiding them. I work for a non-profit organisation that promotes positive mental health… yet I’m having trouble staying positive – and worse, staying me. Bascially, failing the advice of one of my inspirations, Robin Williams:

“You’re only given a little spark of madness. Don’t lose it.”

Though various books, I’ve been exploring the idea of life itself being comprised of many instances of dying and being born again. The one requiring the other; letting go being the only way to have our hands open to receive. I don’t feel like the person I used to be (especially at work), but I’m holding onto the belief that it’s a natural process in the same way that a snake sheds its old skin for the sake of new growth.

Vivid, but the thought gives me comfort in what I’m doing: leaving home for the second time to  ‘start again’ and hopefuly figure out myself and my place in the crazy world. Sure, it could be me that’s ‘crazy’. But that would make days founded on coffee, cigarettes, high costs of living, and long crowded commutes… normal.

Maybe it is, and maybe this just isn’t the lifestyle for me. I’ve been exploring the ideas of minimalism and other alternative ways of living. The central theme being that one is encouraged to evaluate their obligations and desires against what they truly need to be ‘happy’. (Whatever that means, it should be defined by the individual, not marketers).

Without a doubt, these are all questions that first emerged last year while I lived in Tonga – a place where people had much less, but smiled so much more. There are Ted Talks on the topic as well as blogs from people like Lauren who are living their answers. (I’ll be Skyping with her shortly!)

It does seem that whenever we leave – and wherever we go – we run the risk of finding more questions than answers. Some settle, and some keep seeking. I don’t think either is particular the wiser. There’s many ways to live this thing called life. I had no idea about most of them until I stepped off the ‘road most traveled’ for the first time in my life last year.  My remaining commitment here in Sydney is 9 months, but I have every intention of making this place my permanent home if I can. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I promised myself I would try.

Before going on medication, there’s certainly things I will try… like following the advice that I spend 40hrs a week ‘giving’.  That means doing things like eating and sleeping well; and getting enough exercise, sunlight, and social engagement. I’ve also found getting enough ‘me time’ to pursue my hobbies to be essential to my wellbeing.

These are all things that definitely make one feel better. Except, ‘feeling better’ seems to be the prerequisite for having the energy and motivation to attempt these things in the first place. It’s kind of a ‘chicken and egg’ situation, so we’ll just have to see what hatches. In the mean time – as I have through every dark storm that I’ve weathered over the years – I know that I can find solace between the pages of books.

Philosophy’s main task is to respond to the soul’s cry; to make sense of and thereby free ourselves from the hold of our griefs and fears.  – The Art of Living

It’s possible I might just end up passing through. But then, just like Tonga, I’ll hopefully leave with this place, and myself, being that little bit more better off.

Email Graveyards

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I want to tell you about a place.

It’s a place that lies beyond the illumination of the most impressive memories. A place full of fragments from the years past, which are now incomprehensible to even the brightest of minds. This place is the darkness of the digital world.  It’s a place we tend to forget more than we remember – just like that storeroom at your parents’ house.

And like that storeroom, this place houses many different pieces – some accidentally left behind, some simply forgotten, and some originally intended for destruction.  The one thing they all have in common is fitting somewhere in the puzzle that is ‘you’. Unlike that storeroom, there isn’t any issues with space. Infinitely expanding, the darkness of the digital world rather resembles outer space.

It’s depth depends on how long you’ve been digitally active. What you find in there, and whether you dare to go in, depends on you. I’m still as curious as I’ve ever been, so I stepped over several previous-pages and into the area of my inbox that’s become a graveyard to conversations gone cold, romance that’s never returning, and laughter that’s left me in the same way that my favourite red shirt is fading.

Within 1 hour, 70 pages became 1. I could have sped through with the delete-all button;  but I had wanted to take the time to cringe where I was weird, acknowledge where I went wrong, and smile where I wasn’t… anyone else but myself.

The past 7 years became 7 days, but not without firstly moving several messages into a newly created folder called ‘memories’. It ended up being more about gratitude than organisation. It’s really something special to be able to ‘remember through technology’, not just by memory. The same task for my parents would involve digging through dusty old boxes that have surely become misplaced and worn over the years; I just clicked  ‘sort by date’.

But a mouse is no magic wand. I know there’s no bringing back what’s truly gone. But just like an actual graveyard, going back is sometimes a nice reminder of the magic we had in our lives.

What’s in your email graveyard – ghosts or good times?

Adding Colour

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The grass isn’t always greener. Sometimes there’s no grass at all.

This is my first post since moving to a completely new city.

So far its been a corrosive mixture of feelings. The most unsettling being the urge to turn my car around and head home. That’s the thing about options; as much as they help us when we fall, they can also be a hinderance when it comes to taking flight. Tony Robins said it well:

If you want to take the island, make sure to burn the boat.

I didn’t set my car on fire, but I gave myself some much needed rest after two days of solid driving – accompanied by no one but my own thoughts. For most of the way, I was going between 100 – 120km; they were racing at least twice that fast.

I didn’t exactly know why I was doing this, but I knew what I was doing. I was running.

I guess I didn’t learn from Tonga; you can run from anywhere, anything, and anyone … but yourself.

I opened the door to a standard Sydney-sized shoebox of a room. My bags barely hit the ground before the mirror caught my eye. There I was. Somehow, I expected the mirror, but not the person in it.

But I didn’t run. I stayed because I believe that somewhere out there is the person I want to be. I might find him here. Or as I did in Tonga, I’ll at least find a few more pieces of the puzzle.

I already wrote about a recent realisation regarding my parents. Likewise, so far this experience has also allowed me to see even more value in my friendships. “Thinking of you,” “Call me anytime,” and “I’m on your side,” are more than just words when you’re in a city of four million people and only know four; they’re a way forward. But making my way is still my responsibility.

In his Ted Talk, How the worst moments in our lives make us who we areAndrew Solomon speaks about “forging meaning and creating identity”. Inspired by this, I’ve found strength in my own slogan: adding colour. (Shattering several stereotypes in the process considering that I’m the straight one.)

It’s like that phrase about finding the silver lining in the clouds. I’m faced with a silver wall of concrete to which I’ve taken it upon myself to add some colour to. Our perspective and personality truly are paint brushes. So far – based on my limited experience – this city seems dull and dark, but I know things can get brighter.

However, just like when it comes to working with an actual paint palette, I understand that not every colour will work. Compromises must be made and benefits must be balanced as we walk down this tightrope that’s made of time and a temperament towards snapping at any moment. ( I just watched an episode of Louie which had an unexpected death.)

And on the topic of walking, I’m a short distance from work, but far from comfortable in a house that has parts hardly standing. I’m paying little in rent, but not enjoying spending all my time in my room. I got the things I wanted, but it’s clear that they’re just not working for me overall. So I’m going to change my circumstances like an artist choosing colours. I can’t be certain of how my decision to move will affect my ‘bigger picture’… but hopefully my next post will be looking a lot better.

Halfway and Half-hearted

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Yesterday morning I faced a similar sight:  two open suitcases and a bare room. I felt a similar feeling: excitement stirred with far too many dashes of doubt. This is happening; I’m closing one chapter and turning to nothing but blank pages.

All of a sudden at the half-way point in my journey, I have a thought at 1.09 am:

“Turn around, go home.”

It’s amusing how certainty gives the illusion of comfort. I left home in order to seek out more ideal conditions, but nothing can dilute the odour of uncertainty that drifts with any daring decision. That stench surrounded me in the middle of the night. It gets us all at different times and in different scenarios, but it’s always felt as fear –  fear of the unknown. 

It’s also elaborated in sayings such as, “The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t.”

Well, here’s what I do know: I held by breath through the night and woke to the fresh air of possibility and this beautiful view. There’s also now something on the first page. Something that I wrote; not my imagination.

What stinks in your life?  

My Crossroad: Moving State

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The Crossroads of Should and Must – Elle Luna

It’s amusing how the most unexpected and usual scenarios can play themselves out for a second time.

I recently went camping for the weekend to spend a night under the stars, but only to find myself lost… in thought. I was preoccupied with the possibility of how my life may change based on the news I was awaiting. Last time it was whether I got accepted into the volunteer program that sent me to Tonga for the year; this time it was a potential job offer in another state.

Once again, I returned to get the good news, but also to be left with the weight of a gigantic decision to make.

Just like Tonga was a country that I never saw myself visiting, Sydney is a city I never saw myself living in.  I even wrote a post about how I didn’t enjoy my last experience there…

But there is a key difference this time: why I’m going.

I have the opportunity to work for an organisation that focuses specifically on promoting mental health and preventing youth suicide. It’s an opportunity to better lives and to make a ‘difference’ – pretty much the kind of difference that I intended this blog to make by reaching out to the kid I once was: sitting alone in my room starting at the wall for hours; lost, numb and unwilling to fully participate in life. It’s the opportunity to save someone from making the mistake that I’m lucky I never made. It’s an unfortunate reality, but many people do – which is why what this organisation does is so important.

But the question remained: how important is it that I do it?

I spoke to everyone – from my friends and family, to passing strangers and even shop clerks. I also spent one hour going through a pros-and-cons list with my psychologist. No one could give me a definite answer. This advice from a friend illuminated my biggest concern:

“When it comes to making such big decisions, make sure you’re running to something, not just running from something.”

Not that I regret my decision – but I will admit, my decision to go to Tonga was definitely motivated by the latter. I enjoy the feeling of escaping; I think I always will. But I also desire to grow; I hope I always will. As I’ve been slowly sinking back into old habits and mindsets since returning, leaving my ‘comfort zone’ may strangely enough, be the only way to save myself.

Sink or swim.

Just as pressure forges diamonds, it’s said that it makes the best in us shine. I hope it does because, apart from the job, at this stage, I’ve got nothing else of value waiting for me. I believed going to Tonga would allow me to reinvent myself – which it did. But it also left the process largely incomplete. Which is why I’m hoping another change of scenery will allow me to discover the rest of my missing pieces.

Currently, I dislike the uncertainty I have in my life. I’d definitely prefer to be ‘normal’ with a secure job, wife, house, and baby; but I deeply desire to be different, too. Or better put: myself. My employment experience so far has also proven that I’d be better off with some congruency between who I am and what I do. Just as Elle Luna asks in her ‘must read’  book, The Crossroads of Should and Must:

“What if who we are and what we do become one and the same? What if our work is so thoroughly autobiographical that we can’t parse the product from the person? In this place, job descriptions and titles no longer make sense; we no longer go to work, we are the work.”

It’s a question worth asking; but we are not always given or guaranteed an answer, to which Luna also states:

“To choose Must is to say yes to a journey without a road map or guarantees.”

So I can’t say that taking the job is specifically the best decision… but I do feel it’s certainly a step in the right direction. And that’s enough for me to choose Must.

PS

* Great Ted Talk by David Brooks discussing the desire to live for more than just our work.

Uncertainty Isn’t Always Ugly

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I took the above photo on January 1st. I was on holidays at the time and enjoying the feelings of wonder and excitement that comes with not knowing what tomorrow holds.

Sure, to see the sunrise on any day is a gift, but it doesn’t always feel that way. 

Lately, it feels like I’m slowly being wrapped up in my old ways: grudgingly going along through the motions of applying for jobs, doing interviews, and crossing my fingers. That was certainly the pattern before I went overseas.

But this time, something is different.

The same question that once caused distress, now dares me to dream.

Anything could be next! 

I never saw myself having the adventure I had – but I did. Likewise, a friend who felt trapped in a similar way – grudgingly working discount-retail jobs in the city district – is now on a solar farm in the rural area of another state… You really do never know.

But I do know, that personally, uncertainty has always been undesirable. And I think I also know why. I realised that sometimes the reason we don’t focus on the better outcomes is because we’re not comfortable betting on ourselves. I wasn’t. Which is why I played it safe up until the point of leaving my comfort zone completely.

Now that I’ve lived in another country and culture, I feel capable in pursuing opportunities in the distance – should they be in another country or state. Things could get worse, but they could get also get better in ways that I never imagined. It’s a gamble.

Sure, every day is a roll of the dice, but it doesn’t always feel that way.

As someone who’s on their second round, I’ll just say: have more faith in yourself and you’ll have more fun in the game.

I’ve Been Counted

Back in early 2014, before venturing overseas, I took part in my first photoshoot. A series of diverse photos were taken to capture ‘who I am.’ As I intended, these photos also became an core component of the book I was planning to write titled Living in Cream.

Just recently in early 2015, I ran into Shane, my photographer, at a careers fair on a local university campus. I was there to represent the organisation that sent me overseas, and he was there on behalf of the software engineering firm which he worked for as his full-time job. It was so unexpected and random, yet still so fitting.

The coincidence was perfect as Shane informed me that he had just submitted one of my photos into a renowned photography competition. As honoured as I was to be selected as  one of his submissions, I’m even more honoured to learn that the photo was given a gold award!

Personally, the most enjoyable part of the opportunity was hearing others’ interpretations of the tattoo, the pose, and the finished photograph. If you visit this link Watch AIPP QLD – Portrait – Room 2 and skip 2 hours and 1 minute into the video, you can listen to the discussion. In particular, one judge can be heard saying:

He left me asking so, so many questions.. about forgotten children.. a racial thing.. um.. I don’t know. There were so many questions there that were raised […]

So allow me answer.

It was back in early 2013 that I got the tattoo. It’s the handwriting of a girl I once knew. I know tattoos in reference to ‘lovers’ are usually horrible ideas, but this was 3 years after we had split… which probably makes less sense. But given that it was my first serious relationship, and my age at the time; the whole experience was undoubtedly going to have a defining impression on my future and how I interpret myself as well as the world.

Having eventually processed my emotions, gotten to know other girls, and most importantly, myself; I decided on getting the tattoo. I recall it was specifically triggered by a situation where I questioned what the ‘old me’ would have done. She doesn’t know and I don’t want her to. We haven’t even had a conversation in 5 years so explaining it wouldn’t be easy… or necessary. As truth be told… it’s not about remembering her.

 

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From my personal journal the day I got the tattoo

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The original note from her

Somethings To Say, Before the Sun Sets

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So, I’m home. My one year work assignment in Tonga has come to an end. I made several monthly posts during my experience, but feel I should do one last post to properly see this chapter of my life closed. (You can read all the posts I wrote while away here)

If you haven’t been following my story, here is the gist of it: I moved into a new place, started a new job, hated it, but I went through the motions of working and saving. I booked a 1 month holiday to the USA, but eventually got fired first. I tried finding a job I’d actually enjoy, came very close in a few interviews, discovered an international development / capacity building program, thought why not, applied, got accepted, refunded my planned holiday, moved out, and then spent 2014 overseas.

I was as shocked as everyone else. Having spent my whole life in the one city, it’s something I never considered or saw coming… which was why I believed it was so important to ‘just go with it’ before it got away.

Since leaving childhood, I’ve learned that card tricks, control, and certainty are all illusions.

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It turned out that what appeared to be a sunny tropical island was actually the furtherest from my comfort zone that I’ve ever been.

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I’ve heard it before; you’ve heard it before: sometimes, you’ve got to get uncomfortable. I get it now, I really do. Once we’re past puberty, the only growth we get is voluntary (with the exception of toenails and unwanted hairs.) It’s also excluding physical workouts. I’ve done a lot of those. Lifting twice your bodyweight is uncomfortable, but there is still an element of control: we know we’ll either be successful in the lift or we won’t – and we’re familiar with both outcomes either way.

Real growth is more than just physical; it’s a deeper change than that. And really being uncomfortable means giving up all perceived control and certainty over the situation. Simply put, it means not knowing.

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There was a lot I didn’t know: Where I’d live, what work would be like, who my friends would be, what I’d eat, and what I’d spend my spare time doing. These are all common questions to which I now know the answers; but what really makes going away such an experience is the things that you learn … that you didn’t expect or know you needed to learn.

There was a lot that happened over the year; there is a lot to write about, and there is a lot I already did write about.  Looking back, here are the main things I want you to know… and that I want myself to remember.


1) HAPPINESS IS AN OUTLOOK

I arrived in Tonga feeling sorry for people, but I returned home feeling sorry for myself. I realised I had been sold a dream. I had been told by a combination of my peers, upbringing, and culture – that there were set requirements for being happy. There aren’t. Despite being classed as a ‘developing country,’ people in Tonga smiled, laughed and seemed openly happier. How? Isn’t that the point of all the luxuries and privileges of the the western world? Well, I learned that it’s all about perception.

You can’t enjoy the taste of what you’ve got when you’re sniffing the fumes of what you don’t have.

I coined the above term, but I’m just as guilty of the offence as anyone else. With less disparity between wealth and status, and hardly any mass advertising, people in Tonga can devote their full attention to what they do have – and tend to be happier as the result.

I’d be lying to claim I’ve dropped all my desires since coming back to the western world. Desire and ambition definitely has its place. But given what I’ve learned, I’m definitely trying to remember that

there’s satisfaction in simplicity, and a blessing behind every breath.


2) THE SLOWER YOU GO, THE MORE YOU SEE

Tonga has Tonga Time, Fiji has Fiji Time, and so on. It’s a fact; time moves slower in the South Pacific. As a ‘city rat,’ getting used to a slower pace of life definitely required some adjusting. There were also withdrawals from what I call ‘stimulation addiction,’ to which mobile phones and modern technology are the most common perpetrating paraphernalia. With less internet access, less happening in my environment, and overall, less urgency – I eventually found myself slowing down. And that’s when it happened.

I started to notice more things – rather peculiar things: the positions of the stars, the sound of the sea, the weight of the breeze, the variations of trees and flowers, the way animals behaved, and many other minute details. Of course, in the west, this approach would result in a lot of missed busses, pissed of people, and possibly accusations of staring in public. It’s also not humanly possible or healthy to consciously process everything; but it is worth paying a little bit more attention every now and then. You never know what you may notice.


3) FAITH HAS ITS PLACE

I’ve never been religious. Sure, kinda Buddhist and strangely spiritual; but not religious.  I’ve always respected peoples’ rights to make their own decisions; but it wasn’t until going to Tonga that I actually began to understand why some people choose to believe.

I met people who lived in tin sheds and without access to basic necessities – yet they clutched their bibles as if it was their most vital resource. I met youths who were surround by bad influences and dangerous temptations – yet God was an authority figure they wouldn’t dare to disobey. I met people who made massive sacrifices in their own lives in order to help others – yet they were modest in their contributions and efforts, acknowledging Jesus as their inspiration and mentor.

Across these different circumstances, there was the one how – and the one why: God.

I’ve read The God Delusion, find Sam Harris fascinating, and am aware of the ways religion is exploited as a tool of manipulation – but I can’t disregard the way that religion and faith has proved to be a solid foundation in lives that are otherwise crumbling; the way way it provides clarity to those conflicted between choices; and they way it widely opens the hearts of those in the position to help others.

Religion doesn’t have a place in my life, and it may not have one in yours; but there’s no doubting it has its place in the world. 


4) TALENT CAN FLOURISH ANYWHERE

I had the privilege of meeting some amazingly talented individuals. At 17yrs of age, Paul is a perfect example. This video showcases his talent as a self-taught dancer and choreographer. And he certainly isn’t the only example. It seemed that Tongans had the natural ability to dance, sing, draw, and play sport. This is without the many learning opportunities and resources available in the west. I mean, despite having access to dance schools, video tutorials, and large body-sized mirrors, I definitely got put in my place by the dancers I met in Tonga. Here is a recent video of all of them in action.

Another example is a young woman who went from driving around in a car without windows to modelling in Europe, living a life she didn’t even dream about before. I’m sure there are similar stories emerging from other parts of the world. I’ve also seen similar things on Youtube, but there was something different about encountering this phenomenon in person.

Needless to say, as a person who tends to be quick to place limitations on himself, I left feeling inspired, now knowing what can be achieved with not much more than just passion and dedication.


5) WE’RE ALL UNDER THE SAME STARS

As this was my first extended period of time spent in another culture, I noticed a lot of differences. After enough time, I noticed many underlying similarities: Children cry when they fall over, people smile when they see each other, women like dressing up, and guys give each other crap because they care.

On a deeper level, I realised how we all just want to feel safe, to belong, to care for those close to us, and to feel loved ourselves.  We go about it in different ways, but our motives are the same, as with the emotions we feel. Different continents, countries and cultures don’t change the fact that we’re all people, trying to get by on the sample planet, under the same stars.

This is a great video on the topic.


6) TIME FLIES

I was packing my suitcase to leave, and then unpacking it – what felt like – shortly after. In reality, a whole year had passed. Just like that. I regret the time I initially wasted on deliberating on wether my decision to come to Tonga was the right thing to do because…

time doesn’t cease or slow for our uncertainty; it goes on, taking with it, another opportunity.

We all worry and wonder at times, but it’s important to remember that we won’t be where we are for long, and that we won’t be around for long either.  This fact will motive us all in different ways, but..

we all stand to miss something by standing around.

I was on a tiny island where I felt time moved so slowly, but eventually, it was up. I’ve come home to find people getting married and having children, and myself, once again, at a crossroads. I don’t know what’s next, but I know it will be over before I know it.


I’ve got one years worth of daily journal entries, so I’m sure there is more I could add, but I’m happy to close it off here. The experience taught me a lot, I saw another country but also another side to myself. It stretched my imagination and also made me that much more sturdy, mentally. It’s given me a lot to think about, write about, and share.

To you, the reader: I hope you’ve enjoyed this insight into my adventure. Maybe you’ll look at your own life differently… or like I did, have the courage to change yours drasictally.

To Tonga:  malo (thank you) and hopefully toki sio (see you later).