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The Price is High. The Reward is Great.

Sunday, October 22nd 2017.

I can’t believe that I have been in Melbourne for a month already. The time has just flown by, wow!

I wanted to write and continue my blog just as an update of what is going on in my life and keep those that have been following along with my past year on the ship informed about where I am at and what my nexts steps are.

So where do I even start?

To give you some background information, a huge reason for coming to Australia was to follow my heart. Literally. In the last 9 months while doing my Priscilla contract I fell head over heels in love with a boy from Melbourne who was in the show with me. He quickly became my best friend and we saw all of Europe together. I don’t know what I would have done during those 7 months at sea without him, he changed my life in ways that I will be forever grateful for. This was the first time in a long time that I felt the love for someone that I have always dreamed of experiencing...and the rest is history.

Having so many Aussies on the contact with us I learned a lot about the Australian Musical Theatre industry and the country and it really peaked my interest as to what this place was all about, and when you add the fact that I had fallen in love into the mix, it was a done deal. I had to keep traveling and see this thing through, no matter the outcome. I knew that I could not just return to NYC, back to everything I knew and was comfortable with while knowing that maybe something lasting might exist there with him, I had to figure it out for myself. So that's what I did….and here I am.

Well….without going into the details it ended within the first week of my arriving here. Not gonna lie, it sucked. I was extremely frustrated and felt beyond embarrassed and naive to have chased after this thing I believed in with every fiber of my being. So what do I do now? I am in this brand new place, and I have an apartment and a job here, and a ticket to return home to PDX on DECEMBER 19th?! WHAT? I felt stuck. I felt like I had done it all wrong, like I had made a massive mistake in coming here and I should just go back to what I know in NYC. That would have protected my heart, right?

Ironically the universe always has a way of interrupting your plans so that no matter how hard you fight it, you have no option but to face it. That is what I was being confronted with here in Melbourne. Day 7. Was I going to surrender all of my joy to the loss of this idea and dream I had pictured for the last many months with him and give up and run home?

Well in truth, I was lost, and really didn’t know what the right “next move” for me was to make. However, I didn’t really have any time at all to indulge those feelings because two days latter I started working and haven't stopped.

As some of you may know, My Aunt Heather and Uncle Adrian and their three little ones live here also (another huge reason for coming!), they are here for Adrian’s work. Heather was able to connect me with a cafe job in their neighborhood near the kids’ school that she frequents. The joint is called “off the rails” because it is right next to the public transit tram tracks, and the coffee shop itself is actually built on top of the historic railroad tracks under the floors. The shop is run by an incredible woman named Kat, who has quickly become not only an amazing friend here, but without question has taken me under her wing and “adopted me as one of her kids” she says. She is originally from the states and has lived here with her husband and three children for the last 11 years. I work at the cafe Thursdays - Sundays from about 7am till 3pm on average and the dynamic of this special place is unlike anything I have ever seen. About 90% of our customers are regulars that live around the St. Kilda area and come into the shop everyday, often 2, maybe even 3 times a day. It is a giant family, and Kat knows each of their orders and names by heart, its incredible. I have been there for only 3 weeks now and it is so fulfilling to wake up every morning and work at an establishment that supports me from the moment I walk in the door till the minute I leave at the end of our day. The regulars all know me by name and are so warm and invested in checking in and asking how I am doing. I could not have asked for a better scenario to support me during my time here.

This shop and opportunity just sort of fell into my Aunt's lap and she jumped on it for me prior to my arriving and it has been the biggest blessing. Now, a month later, I look back and wonder what I would have done if I didn't have this job and this positivity. The most beautiful thing that I have learned so far from being here is that I have time. Really. Its that simple.

I am someone that for so many years of my life has been endlessly worried and anxious about “achieving my goals” - “meeting Mr. right” - “making my family proud” - “making everyone happy” - “making money” - “saving money”....the list goes on.

But if there is one thing that I have learned in the last month since arriving here it is that I….. HAVE TIME.

I am so guilty of setting unrealistic expectations and demands upon myself that more often than not I miss out on things happening right in front of me, just in my day to day life. I am so eager and often desperate to attain all those goals and dreams RIGHT NOW that I just end up disappointed.

Something I now know that I would never have learned without taking this risk and coming here is that life is too short to not just take the chance and whether you fly or fall, it is about what you learned along the way and how you choose to pick yourself back up again. I feel stronger than I have ever felt before. I feel confident that one day (OUT OF MY CONTROL!) I will meet and fall in love with the man of my dreams. I understand now that no one can give you the happiness or strength it takes to make it through this crazy f-ed up world we live in. That only comes from within, and the moment you put your self-worth and validity and happiness in the hands of someone else, that will be the moment you crumble.

A month ago I had a goal, a destination and something I was chasing after everyday that was fully out of my control and that lead to immense heartbreak. Him and I are still talking, and hanging out and learning to be friends and as hard it is, it is still teaching me lessons everyday. Lessons about putting myself and my own heart first and believing that I am enough and have everything within myself already to be the person I want to be. Im realizing that life is not as hard and complicated as I often make it. Life is beautiful and it's happening right in front of your eyes, everyday.

2017 has been my year of traveling and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. When the year ends I will have spent about 5 full weeks total at home in Oregon and the rest in brand new places all over the world. This travel has changed my life, my heart, my perspective and most importantly my tolerance. Being here for a month now and being immersed in their culture and being the outsider has been a bit terrifying (i'm not gonna lie) but it has been the best possible thing for me. The definition of madness is: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. This year I was “bit by the travel bug” if you will, and I’ll be honest...I don’t want to be cured!

When you grow up in one place your whole life your perspective and understanding of things is influenced by what you know and see everyday. When I moved away for the first time 5 years ago for college, I won’t lie, I had a massive culture shock. I was living in the city and surrounded by sooooooo much more culture than I had EVER experienced before, it was incredibly confronting and overwhelming. Most importantly it made me grow, change and allowed me to access a depth of empathy for others and their circumstance that you cannot understand until you are out of your comfort zone and living a new lifestyle with daily trial and error. Then I moved to NYC and that was a whole new layer of stress. NY is like its own universe operating about 3 days ahead of the rest of the world. Then I went on the cruise and was fortunate enough to explore the beautiful Mediterranean and Europe and experience this way of life that has all the same pressures, stress and expectations as that of the US but is approached in such a calm and loving manner. Now I am here in Melbourne and have never felt so comfortable or at ease in a city. There is an unspoken connection and understated warmth that is unlike anything I have experienced and while everyone is operating from a place of putting themselves first(which is important and very healthy), there is an acceptance and generosity that does not exist in the states.

The moment I started traveling I was immediately humbled by just how small and insignificant I am in the grand scope of the universe. I am a part of this current generation of millennials that has the negative reputation of being selfish, consumed by social media, overly invested in our image and flaky beyond compare when we are not given immediate satisfaction. This comes from our intense need to be “liked” (literally and figuratively) and need for validation and belonging. We have lost a lot of the drive and hard work that are imperative to creating long lasting relationships and longevity in any career that our parents generation and their parents had so much of. That being said, what I do see in my generation that I LOVE is a desire to travel, and learn as much as possible from the things you can’t figure out any other way but by living them.

I never want to become stagnate in anything that I do. I also believe that there are ways of me achieving what I dream and desire and am passionate about through other avenues than what everyone else is doing. I want to spend my life not being complacent and comfortable. I never want to do what is easy or expected, I want to put myself in the trenches and outside of my comfort zone and learn new things about myself, but more importantly about others. Life is about connecting, but it's impossible to connect when you remain safe and in control. So take a risk, go live somewhere new for three months, six months, hell, a year even. Do it for you, not for anyone else and trust me, I am only a month in and have already realized that this trip was so much more about me finding a part of who I am that I would never have learned without coming here. One of my favorite writers and poets, Maya Angelou has a quote that says: “The price is high. The reward is great.” That is what I have been holding onto for the last 4 weeks! No matter how wonderful or how difficult any chapter of your life is the price we pay is always high, but the reward is always greater.

Sometimes we are so overcome and bogged down by the day to day, and work life, stress, marriages, death that we get lost in how difficult some days can be. I’ll be honest, the last two years in my families life has been pretty shit, we have lost many family members way before their time and it has been really difficult. But something I have come to realize is that every time I complain and tell someone, “2016 was such a shit year!” I am indulging in the difficulty and letting the negative in my life win, more importantly I am letting my past win and by that letting it define who I am right now. But the best part amongst all of that bullshit is that we have the option everyday to bring light and love into others lives and not let any of that negativity win. The reality is that all of that stuff will happen, it will always happen, and sometimes it feels like “when it rains it pours”, and grieving is vital to growing and moving forward. But I have realized for myself in the last month that everyday I spend thinking about how hard my past has been I am wasting precious time that day in that very moment creating new memories and growth right before me.

Choose happiness. Be brave enough to break your own heart. On the other side of fear is freedom. Stop doing the same thing you did yesterday just because it worked yesterday. Take a risk. Travel. And then when you’re done, travel more.

Somehow this became very preachy, very fast - hahaha! But that is because this is the stuff that fires me up and keeps me awake at night. No one is gonna change your life for you. You don’t owe anyone anything, and that's not you being selfish, that's you allowing yourself space to love YOU, first. And I have only learned that within the last 31 days. Truly.

It's going to be scary, you will fail, you will get hurt - but best of all you will change, grow and learn things you can’t learn inside your self-made bubble.

The price is high. But the reward… great!

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