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Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could quit your job, say f*ck this and literally throw things up in the air?! Who doesn't want to live a different life sometimes, or all the time? This is probably one thing most people think of doing, some even think about it constantly, but in the end don't actually do it. That's because this kind of action requires a whole lot of courage. It's not easy leaving your safe income, your home, your friends and family, your dog, your dance class, your favourite bar or even your favourite food behind. It's hard getting out of our comfort zone for a reason. We get attached. But why put up with certain things we are discontent about? Like a job, a marriage, a city, a whole country? No matter what the reason might be, we will always have the option to change things. In the end it's really up to you. You have the option to stay or leave. Yes, it is scary, things can go wrong, but it's soooo worth it.
In March 2016, I was working at a full-time job in a big textile company in Brazil as a pattern designer. I had recently met my boyfriend and we were together for about a year. My life wasn't bad, I wasn't exactly unhappy or depressed, I was however, having small panic attacks and I knew something inside me wasn't right. Life in Brazil can be very stressful, there is violence, poverty, chaos, unfairness, corruption, robberies, huge traffics, lot's of people and no order. To a certain level this is tolerable but I wasn't tolerating it anymore. My job wasn't giving me any happiness and I knew there was something missing. That's when my boyfriend started saying he wanted to move to Australia. He'd already lived there before for a year and had his mind made up about going back. I remember I was doing therapy at the time and recall saying to my therapist how "I've never had thought about living in Australia and never even thought about moving to another country with a recent boyfriend". I told her at the time that I didn't even know if our relationship was going to work out. She then told me not to panic and if things didn't work out I could always come back. She made it sound really simple. But in the end it is.
Well, here I am two and a half years later in Australia, single and moving to Portugal. How is this good? You might think. I can tell you that I've never learned so much in my life and don't regret one single second of this decision. You know when they say money spent on travel is never wasted?That's because what we learn during the experience is priceless. In two and a half years I felt like I lived five years. Not because it was long and boring, but completely the opposite. It feels like everything I came across would have taken five years, or more, to happen if I had decided to stay. This list of the 10 things I learned is just a small part of the greater learning I had from everything.
1. Go outside!
Australia is a great place to connect to nature. Everything in this country is involved by wildlife. The great thing about it is you have all the infrastructure you need to enjoy living outdoors. I had never gone camping in my life, in the middle of Kangaroos, inside a deserted conservation park and at the same time never felt so safe in my life. The experience of being able to have this contact with nature so intensively is just so satisfying, calming and purifying. It really grounds you, making you realise how small we are and how big nature is. In Australia you'll find many caravan parks all around the island where you can camp or park your car to sleep overnight. The amenities are awesome, always very clean and tidy. I realised here how important nature is to me and how spending time away from it was making me sad without even knowing it. Being outdoors can help reconnect to ourselves and meet lots of new people, not to mention appreciate how beautiful this world is.
2. Smile and say "good morning!"
One of the most welcoming attitudes I felt when I got in Australia, specially where I was living, on the Gold Coast/Tweed Heads region, was how often people would smile and say "good morning," out of the blue, as if you had met before. It was like living in a dream where everyone was in a good mood. I never felt so warm and in peace with this behaviour from others towards me. Such a small simple gesture of smiling and greeting someone can make a huge difference, making us feel part of a community. I know now the importance of this act and I try to take it with me wherever I go.
3. Accept the things life gives you. It's for a reason.
As we grow older and as we step into the unknown territory in life we start noticing signals life sends us. When we are in a comfort zone we don't really get in touch with different situations and we don't open up to our full potential, making it hard to see the signs. Sometimes we live in such denial that we don't want to see them. When you get out of your comfort zone and you really NEED to find a job, you start accepting things as they come along. Working as a cleaner is not the dream job but it is also a very humble job that really puts you in your place. I remember a cleaning job I did in the beginning at a Target store, I had another cleaner working with me and he had Recklinghausen disease. I had never seen anyone with this disease in real life, only on the internet. In the beginning it felt a little bit unusual, but I tried to be as nice as I could and tried to show him how I wasn't afraid of catching his disease, or touching him. He was a very kind, intelligent man, he was around 43 years old and I realised that the only job he would ever have would be that one, because nobody could see him. That experience really touched me and I felt so lucky for being healthy and being able to have any job in the world. It was a very boring job, but I learned so much from it. All my jobs in Australia, cleaner, tutor, sales, manager, door to door, retail... they all taught me so much.
4. The most important people in your life will always be there for you no matter what.
When I was starting to see that I wasn't happy in my relationship I really cracked. I started feeling very sad. I didn't have any motivation to do much. I would work and go home to lie down. I had put so much into this relationship that seeing the way it was going (badly) really scared me. It took me about a year to really decide to end it. During that year I would cry a lot, we would fight a lot, my ex and I, and I just felt completely lost. All my friends and family were so far away, it was hard to reach out. Sometimes I would not say anything but my friends and family know me so well that they started asking if I was ok. I started opening up and the love I got back from them is priceless. In the end when I needed them the most they would call me almost everyday, they were really worried about me and I never felt so complete in my life. I didn't feel alone when I was really alone. I realised I have the best family and friends in the world.
5. Walking Barefoot and Earthing
Aussies have this weird/cool habit of walking around the streets without shoes on. Yes, that's correct. They don't wear shoes Downunder. Seeing people barefoot walking around becomes natural to you after a couple of months. People on the streets, at supermarkets, shopping centres, work... depending on the work you do. The nice thing about it is, the streets there are so clean that actually enables you to walk in such natural style. It really gets to you after a while and you discover how nice it is to live without wearing shoes. It was then that I learned the benefits about grounding or Earthing.
6. We are all teachers and students in this life.
One day I was working at the markets and I started talking to this guy about energy healing. He was saying how our body responds to energy unbalances. He started saying how our professions and work affect our life and how we are all supposed to be doing more in life then just working our weekly jobs. At the time I told him I was working as a tutor online, tutoring English and Portuguese. He then said that being a teacher is one of the most energetic occupations in life. He said it was like a blessing, only higher spirits are teachers. I asked him why and he said, well we are all teachers and students in this life. We are always teaching people or ourselves something and we are always learning everyday, so if you are a teacher it means you are dedicating yourself to a higher teaching/learning energy. I thought that just made so much sense. We ARE always learning and teaching. Isn't this what life is about?
7. Trust people and yourself.
My first job in Australia was at a furniture store near my new house. it was in front of the beach and it was a lovely shop of Balinese furniture. I never really worked with sales or Balinese furniture before, but I just knew that I was going to work there. Don't ask me how, I just felt it. I said to my ex: "I am working in this shop." I went back and spoke to the owner. He got my resume and told me he would call me. He never did, so I decided to go back there after a couple of weeks. I got the job and started the next day. When I got there he gave me the keys and said I was going to be responsible for closing and opening up. I was in shock. I had never been trusted this way before. Not only was I going to open and close the store as I was going to be alone, managing it. Wow. Later we learned that this is a common thing in Australia. People genuinely trust you. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty.
8. Sometimes plans don't happen the way we planned. And that's good!
Everyday we wake up full of plans right? Now, how many of these plans really actually happen the way they should? Not many. We change during the day. We change before getting out of the house! Life is about change. Time is changing as you read this. Plans change. Why do we even bother making plans if they are going to change? Sometimes we just have to plan less... when moving to a different place where you don't have a house, a job, a favourite place to eat, a gym... everything is always changing and your plans just don't seem to work out as much as you wanted them to. Planning is good for a deadline, a meeting, a task... but life is not a task. When plans don't work out, miracles happen. That's the only time they can happen. So let miracles happen in your life. Let go.
9. Everything is this life happens for a reason.
During my stay in Australia I went to Brazil to visit my family. I was so happy with how I got everyone together that it was too good to be true. I had a part of my family coming from Rio and another coming from Brasilia. They were all working and living their normal lives but they went to São Paulo for a weekend just to see me. My parents are divorced and Mum's 10-year boyfriend had never met my father and his wife. It was the first time I got them together at a restaurant, eating, drinking, talking and getting to know a bit about each other. I can't say It wasn't a little bit awkward. Anyway, it was special, even more special because Mums boyfriend passed away a few months after that. When I come to think of it, if I wasn't living in Australia this would never have happened.
10. Fear is just some annoying voice inside your head saying that you can't make it. Guess what?! You can and you should!!
Well, I'm going to finish this one with a very simple paragraph. Just reassuring that everything I lived in this last two and a half years was possible because I overcame my fears. My fear of change. My fear of failure. My fear of loosing. My fear of the unknown. My fear of learning new things. My fear of getting out of my comfort zone. My fear of being alone. I did it! I got out and I'm never coming back! It's a new, better me and I'm loving it! :)