Many years ago, circa 2006 I estimate, I had the great idea of moving to the UK. The idea was put into my head by Mum, as she had recounted how my Uncle Ken had saved to move there when he was 19. I liked the idea of being somewhere different, and it would be pretty easy for me to get an Ancestry Visa as Granddad is Scottish.
Like most things in my life to that point, I never went through with it.
Aside from being terrible with money and not earning enough to save whilst still being financially unsound, I was living with friends, in a long term relationship, and generally things were alright. It was even a time when I used to say “yeah, I’m easy, I’ll just cruise through life” and had no career motivation — oh my how things have changed.
Sometime in 2008 I committed to travelling to South East Asia with a friend, for three weeks. I was still terrible with money, my job was alright, and I was still in the same relationship as the prior events.
It was fantastic, what an eye opener for a country-bred, ignorant, white male, who was at that time unable to use chopsticks. I still remember sitting outside a hawker center in Singapore, on Geylang Rd in Kallang, fumbling with chopsticks. Everyone, myself included, was laughing at me.
One of the countries we spent some time in during the whirlwind tour was Hong Kong. Hong Kong was awesome. It was the busiest place I’d ever been to, the food was off the charts and available everywhere, and at any time, and it’s culturally fascinating in so many ways, bamboo scaffolding is of particular note.
So at some point after that my plan was then to move to Hong Kong. It was a loose plan at best. Sometime after that my long term relationship came to a grinding halt, I moved out by myself, had to furnish an apartment, and generally had no money.
And though things weren’t great they were still alright. It was a good opportunity for me to actually move to Hong Kong, I’d heard that three month Visas were a piece of cake to get for Australian citizens, just do a border run, no worries! An employment strategy was to get a TESOL qualification and teach English, but I never wound up doing that.
I got into a fair bit of debt that year, 2011 it would have been, so that was stopping me from doing basically anything I wanted to.
Over the course of 2011 though, things started looking up. I got a new job, paid off debts, and eventually moved back into an apartment with a very good friend of mine. And 2012 just saw things go up and up, I lost weight, got into decent shape, fell in love with cycling, and started to save money for the first time in I don’t know how long.
Then I got a new job around the middle of the year, working remotely for a US company. I asked if they’d mind if I moved to Hong Kong, and the answer was “no problem” — I had it made.
In early 2013 my friend and I went our separate ways in terms of living arrangements, he was to move in with his girlfriend, I said no worries at all, I can work from wherever so do what you need to do, and I’ll do what I need to.
My plan was to move back to Bendigo on a short term basis, to get belongings into storage, and then to go to Hong Kong. Seemed like it’d be easy enough, but of course, there was a hitch.
I found that if I wanted to move there I would need to have a degree. I’d never needed, nor wanted, a degree, so this was quite the roadblock.
After consultation with a couple mates, Mum, and some people I consider mentors, the decision was clear — go to university now while you’re 27, there’s never going to be a better time. Research lead me to believe that the correct, most constructive, easiest path, was to study project management.
Therefore I applied to Charles Sturt Uni, not knowing what to expect, other than it being hard. Applying to uni is quite simply fucking awful. The amount of work that’s required is phenomenal, it took me six weeks to get everything in order.
In the time where I was waiting for them to say yea or nay, I got drunk one night and convinced myself they’d say no, and booked flights to Europe. Mostly for a work conference and to meet some guys I work with, but also because I’d never been, and the price was right, oh so very right. $1650 return, Melbourne to Amsterdam, can’t go wrong.
Then of course CSU got back to me and said “sure mate, we’d love to have you here” so I enrolled in one subject because the idea of study and travel sucks.
Two weeks ago, almost to the day, I started. The first thing I learnt is that I really don’t like project management. I persevered for eight days, with the 8th day being Monday 22nd July (six days ago), before realizing that it just wasn’t for me. The only topic that’s consistently held my attention for the last ten years is programming, I’m just not awesome at it.
So there I was, enrolled in a course I loathed so much that it caused me great anxiety, living in Bendigo, and not sure of what to do.
After talking to a friend on the fateful Monday I knew that I had to withdraw from study. It was a huge kick in the guts because I wanted nothing more than to see the world, the degree was somewhat of a key, and the idea of having a degree is nice as well.
Then I realized that hey, you know what, I should just travel anyway. I have a great job that allows me to and supportive managers, one of which does just that, globetrots.
I made a short list of possible countries I could go to that had working holidaymaker agreements with Australia, and that I was interested in. Taiwan, Norway, and Malta being on the shortlist.
I chose Taiwan. The reason is because I felt like it.
I’m finally at a point where financially, and professionally, I can do this, and it will work. Taiwan will give me a great opportunity to learn Mandarin Chinese (I did try to learn some time ago), it looks like a great place to ride bikes, the food will be amazing, and it’s pretty warm all the time.
I leave on March 1st 2014, at 1:25am, and I’m taking my bike with me.