It seems both ages ago and like yesterday, that I said goodbye to my family, friends and boyfriend and got on an overnight bus to Amsterdam. It has actually been just over five months since then and it seems so surreal, that I will be home in only a couple of hours.

Over the last five months I have managed to tick off so many things off my bucket list: getting certified in diving, visiting the Nusa islands, climbing a volcano at sunrise, seeing the Uluru, living in one of the world´s most livable cities, walking over the Sydney Harbour bridge, living in a van for just short of two months, climbing the Byron light house, sailing the Whitsundays, seeing dolphins, koalas, kangaroos, crocs, turtles and wombats in the wild, celebrating Christmas in summer, driving a four wheel drive around Fraser island, having Acai bowls on Bondi beach, trying to surf, hitting the left side of the road, feeding dolphins, swimming in not one but two waterfalls, holding a koala and driving over 2000 kilometers by myself. 

The past five months were absolutely amazing and I am so beyond thankful I took some time off after my Master degree and before diving into adulthood. I had almost zero expectations of Australia, I mainly came to see one of my absolute best friends again and had little to no plans. By now this country has stolen a huge chunk of my heart, I have fallen heads over heels in love with Melbourne and can´t wait to return one day. The absolute stunning nature, the super kind and open people and the amazing coffee and food culture in Australia have taken my heart by storm and I can´t recommend coming here enough. 

I have obviously also learned quite a bit, as it is always the case when leaving your well-known surroundings and taking off for the unknown, especially by yourself. First of all I learned, that I am kind of done with travelling by myself. I have had this intense craving and longing for independence my entire life and have taken off to new continents all by myself again and again over the past six years. In the beginning I was mainly running away from a city and life that made me feel like I never belonged, afterwards I was chasing the high of completely starting over, reinventing or actually finding myself and experiencing new things everyday. In the end I think I was mainly trying to prove to myself I did not need anybody else. And while that may in part be true, none of use is ever fully independent. Humans are social animals after all and the connections we make with others is truly what makes life worth-wile. Shying away from them in fear of being abandoned or hurt may be understandable, but it also does not work. Building walls around you does not change the fact you are sensitive or emotional and actually ends up hurting you more in the long run. I may not need other people and that is great to know, but I want other people around me, want to share my life, want to be held and helped. 

The other thing I learned is that over the last years I have truly found myself. I am not saying I will not change or that I am done developing, but I am mostly happy with the person I am, the life I am living and I know what I want and what I don´t want. So while I am sure I will never cease to travel, I am no longer in the desperate need to find out who I am or where I am going. Especially seeing so many people fresh out of high school and travelling, I realised that I am in some ways old. I have find a career I am interested in and passionate about, I have found a group of people that is good for me both emotionally and mentally and I have found a way to be kind to myself. While I sometimes felt like a mum for the 19 year olds we met and envied the completely clean slate they all have, I also felt good about how much I have grown and knowing where I want my life to go and that is an intensely exciting feeling in itself.

This trip also helped me to reevaluate my idea of productivity and career. With the minimum wage in Australia being so high people are much more secure financially. This in turn really leads to placing less value and focus on your job and more focus on your quality of life. Other than Germany life in Australia is not continuously about being productive or being successful, but about having a good time. I put myself under an immense pressure to perform and to do well. It ruins a lot of experiences for me and it makes me so much more stressed than I need to be. I love journalism and I wish to do well in that field, but I also love my free time and exploring or spending time with my loved ones or just myself. I do really hope I get the job I want, but I also do not want to spend my life in an office and slaving away to prove I am good working ant. I will always do my best, but I am not going to do an intense amount of unpaid over time or kill myself if I do not do everything perfectly every time.

I also once again saw and felt the detrimental effects of human beings on our planet. The temperatures in Australia have been absolutely extreme and so have the rains here. And seeing the damage in the Great Barrier Reef has absolutely broken my heart. So I want to work on reducing my carbon foot print, on living more sustainable and to improve the state our beautiful planet is in.

So I feel like I have grown, gotten more comfortable with the person I am, seen and done amazing things and found another happy place. I am actually going home to whatever adult life is, no longer being a student for the first time in 20 fucking years, I will have to do my taxes once I return, find a flat, build a new live and spend quite a while in administration to figure out being self-employed at least for a while and I would be lying if I did not have a slight mental breakdown about that the other day. But while I am quite sad to leave Australia behind and slightly anxious to be an actual grown-up,  I am also so excited for what is to come, to see my friends, family and boyfriend, to hopefully find a job and a place to live for a longer period of time, to build a home and to continue the positive attitude and balanced lifestyle I have found over the past five months. 

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Thanks so much for your lovely comments, constructive criticism and suggestions. I will try to answer all of you!