The Times They Are a-Changin’: My Biggest Announcement in Years!

In September 2013, after two years of teaching English in Spain and with the future wide open, I made the massive decision to move to Sydney. It was originally intended to be a three to six month working holiday, during which I would pad up my resume with a contract role, see Australia, travel nearby regions, and then head home to the U.S. to start the rest of my life.

Koala, Brisbane, Australia

Embracing Australia

But things didn’t go exactly according to plan. I found myself gradually settling into Sydney life and loving my job, and soon my company was asking me to stay long term and sponsoring me for a visa. Next thing I knew, “three months” in Australia had turned into over two years, with no plan to leave.

And it’s been a good ride. I’ve found immense fulfillment in my first full-time job, I’ve made incredible friends, I’ve fallen in love with the world’s sweetest guy, I’ve traveled the country (or at least the east coast of this massive place), and Sydney has truly become home. I wouldn’t trade these years for anything.

Sydney skyline

Sydney, you’re a lovely place to have called home for 2+ years.

But the fact remains that I’ve never really loved it here. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the place or my current life. On paper, Sydney is a wonderland. But there’s always been a part of me that has known Australia would never be a forever home. There’s too much in the world left to do and see.

So, after years of struggling with questions about where I wanted to be and what I wanted to do, I’ve finally made the decision: I’m leaving Australia.

Australia, scratch map

Hasta luego, ‘Straya! I’ve got the rest of the world to see.

At the end of February, I’ll start off on an 8-10 month adventure around the world. New Zealand, Southeast Asia, Europe, and Central and South America are all on the itinerary, and I can hardly handle my excitement. I’ve been saving up for and dreaming of long-term travel since I arrived in Sydney, and the time has finally come to pursue it.

After that? I really don’t know. I’m 99.9% sure I’ll end up somewhere in the U.S. (I’ll leave that 0.1% because you never know what life will throw at you), working in digital marketing in some capacity, and I’d like to end up in my home state of California one day.

Kirstie, Sahara Desert, Morocco

Watching the sunrise atop a dune in the Sahara Desert, Morocco. Further adventures are calling my name!

But the best part? I’m not going to worry about any of that until I finish traveling. I’ve reached a point in my life where I’ve acquired enough savings and career experience to not be worried about my post-travel life, but I also am still young and unattached enough to take a break from the real world for a significant amount of time. If not now, when?

It’s safe to say that this was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever made in my life. I’m leaving behind a wonderful life, so, naturally, I’ve gone back and forth about six million times about what I want to do. But, with 38 days until I take off (first destination: Christchurch, New Zealand!), I know I’ve made the right decision, and I could not be more excited.

Here I come, world!

34 Responses

  1. This is such exciting news from you, Kirstie! Really looking forward to following your travels around the world closely over the coming months.

    And there is no shame in sincerely wanting to move back to America! I’m still trying to get adjusted and “settled down” here myself, but I don’t regret moving home at all…even if I miss walkable cities and speaking Spanish from living in Spain.

  2. Super exciting! I don’t think long-term travel is for me, but I admire people who can do it. Can’t wait to read more!

    • Thanks! No idea how I’ll do traveling that long, since the longest I’ve traveled before is five weeks (not counting living abroad, of course), but I’m eager to see how it goes!

  3. Ashley says:

    Exciting! Enjoy the travels and don’t worry about the next bit until they’re over. Looking forward to reading about your travels.

  4. Emily Ray says:

    Massively exciting news – congrats on taking the plunge! Sounds like you’ve got an amazing few months ahead of you 🙂

  5. Cari says:

    Super excited for you and super proud of you! Can’t wait to meet you in some corner of the globe!

  6. Laura says:

    Love this! I’m about to embark on an adventure myself in 42 days! I’m heading home to the states for 2 weeks then backpacking SE Asia for a few months before finding my way to New Zealand. Best of luck on your travels and possibly our paths will cross along the way!

  7. There must be something in the water with all these changes going on ? All the best for your onward adventure Kirstie. I’m sure you’ll have an amazing time.

  8. Sally says:

    Whoa, what an exciting change! Excited to see what your future travels bring!

  9. Rey says:

    Best of luck to you. Nothing like long term travel to help you keep your eyes open to possibility.

  10. Kara Urbanek says:

    What exciting news! When the world calls, you must answer. Good for you for following that call. Enjoy your last month in Australia and enjoy your travels!!

  11. Bayyinah says:

    Can’t wait to read about your upcoming trips!!

  12. Nana says:

    Yes, Sweetie. If not now, then when? So excited for you. Would like to think that our paths might cross before your travels are over. Much love and safe travels, my vagabond!

  13. Lauren says:

    How exciting! Can’t wait to follow your travels 🙂

  14. …This sounds SO legit–I can’t wait to see pictures!!…

    Btw, not to be nosy or anything, but have you considered maybe taking a “break from reality” year in Spain???…I know it’s your fave place!…

    • I’ll be sharing plenty of them! I don’t know; I’m REALLY excited to return to Spain for a short time as a tourist, but I don’t know if my heart would be in the right place to try to rebuild a life from scratch there. But I definitely want to travel there as often as I can!

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