I don’t have a clue what I’m doing with my life! I’m 34, married with an 8 month old baby daughter and I don’t have a clue what our future holds or where we’ll live. And you know what that’s okay. Nobody has it all figured out.
After 10 years of living abroad and travelling the world we moved home to Ireland last year and it’s made me realize that a conventional life isn’t for me. In this blog, I explain why a life of travel has made me think differently about what I want from life.
Our travels around the world
Let me tell you a little about my story. I left Ireland in January 2011 with a degree in journalism, no real work experience other than a stint in retail and moved to Sydney on the working holiday visa scheme. To be honest I wasn’t too keen on leaving Ireland at the time – but the recession was in full swing and there were no real job prospects so I thought I’d follow others I knew on the well-trodden path from Ireland to Australia. And it was the best decision I’ve ever made!
Fast forward to 2014 and after lots of travels through Australia, interesting jobs in the events industry I decided to relocate to Canada with my now husband Paul (who I met at a bus stop in Sydney). We decided that together we’d backpack Southeast Asia, Central America and some of Europe before moving to Vancouver, Canada.
In 2015 we made the move to Vancouver and eventually to nearby Whistler where we lived for 2 years. It was in Whistler that I got into the luxury hotel industry. We skied, went on hikes and had an overall amazing time. But when our 2 year visa was up we found ourselves itching to get on the road again. Where will we move to next was the question we asked ourselves? Bermuda, South Africa and New Zealand were all thrown into the mix. We eventually decided on New Zealand because of the ease of getting a work visa for there.
The decision to move home
We spent 3 years in New Zealand – one year on the North Island and 2 years in Queenstown. I’ve always said New Zealand would be the most perfect country in the world if it was closer to home. And in fact it reminded me a little of home – Ireland on steroids it’s best described. We explored as much of New Zealand as we could and worked hard to save for travels abroad.
But when I got pregnant in January 2020 and Covid hit New Zealand shortly thereafter, we found ourselves for the first time in 10 years questioning our nomadic life. It took us ages to make the decision to move home to Ireland. After all, we were loving life in New Zealand but with visa and job uncertainty due to the pandemic – the pendulum swung in Irelands favor.
Moving home was never an option for us until Covid hit.
We moved home to Ireland at the end of July 2020 and on September 16th our daughter Summer was born. Everything went well with the birth – I ended up having a C-section, which would have been impossible in Queenstown. There – I would have had to be flown to Invercargill via helicopter (a 2.5 hour drive away) and Paul would have had to follow by car likely missing the birth. So in that way, we were lucky that we moved home.
Do we regret our decision
The short answer is yes – everyday we question whether or not we made the right decision leaving the Covid safehaven of New Zealand. Especially when we’ve been watching via social media our friends there going to festivals, not wearing masks and generally going about life there as it was pre-Covid.
Honestly, Ireland hasn’t been very good to us since we returned – strict lockdowns meant Paul (who’s in construction) was out of work for several months and we had to go on social welfare. Plus, we haven’t been able to see much of our family the past year. In fact, Paul’s mom saw Summer for the first time when she was 8 months old as she lives in England.
But still, in terms of having our daughter we made the right decision coming home to spend (limited) time with family. We’re lucky that we have a beautiful home with cheap rent and that Paul eventually went back to work in March and is earning a decent wage.
But, I’m sick of walking in the woods next to our house daily for the past couple months because we couldn’t really do much else. The lockdown in Ireland was too long, too harsh and very confusing in my opinion.
What’s next for us
Slowly we’ve been coming to the realization that a ‘normal life’ isn’t for us. Neither of us are remotely interested in the conventional life that society thinks we should be leading – get a mortgage, get a 9-5 career etc. Perhaps Ireland isn’t really for us – I’ve realized since moving back that many people here are stuck in the rat race and living for the weekends. Rushing to the nearest beach with a million other people when we’re treated to a rare sunny Saturday or Sunday.
I heard on a TV show the other day that most of us are living in the ‘cage of a mundane life’ and honestly that scares the shite out of me. It’s not for me, it’s not for us, it’s not what I want for my daughter.
The world is different now to how we grew up and I know our daughter will never know life pre-Covid. So, we’re going to create a new way of life for her.
We’ve always done things differently. And that’s why we’re thinking of hitting the road again in two years.
A move abroad (again)?
Recently we’ve been thinking of moving to Spain in two years time (thanks to watching too many episodes of A Place in the Sun). When we were living abroad we always said that we’d love to give living in Spain (or Italy, France etc.) a shot. The weather there is obviously a bonus (as I write this on a wet & windy June day in Ireland). The weather really is terrible in Ireland! We just need to get a lot more savings behind us before we make the move.
Who knows how long we’ll live in Spain and if we’ll come back to Ireland or continue on elsewhere. We’re typically not ones for making plans too far in advance.
We’ve always chased after what we want but, worked hard to get there of course.
I’ve achieved more than most in terms of seeing the world, living abroad and ticking things off the bucket list. But, I don’t have a mortgage, career nor have I found the country I want to settle in forever. Maybe we won’t settle in any one country – wouldn’t that be amazing.
If you managed to read the end of my Wednesday afternoon ramblings – well done. It’s nice sometimes to write more personal blog posts like this one.
I have no clue what I’m doing with my life and probably never will – but at least I’m enjoying the ride!