I always had ambitions to travel. I remember being young and my parents (while they were still together) taking us to places while they tried to get visas for Australia. Aged 11, I remember my mam talking about nurses who’d emigrated to Saudi Arabia who earned a fortune working for people who had gold taps as standard in their bathrooms. The idea of emigrating to Australia I cried for weeks about, then came to the conclusion a bit of sunshine may not be a bad idea (not that I told my parents) as my friend before me had left to go to Singapore. Saudi, I remember discussing with my friend in class – it was an adventure I wanted to have.
Fast forward seven years and I’m dumping my then boyfriend because I can foresee a life trapped in a specific corner of the globe. A life dictated by marriage. Children. Maybe in charge of a pub. I feel trapped. I cannot spend my life here. I cannot commit.
I meet someone else. A TCK. Someone who is open to travelling. To living away. To exploring the world. I go to uni. I get an AMAZING job at Streetwise. I work my way up from student on placement to covering the Manager (CEO) while she goes on maternity leave. I love the job so much it terrifies me. I could literally work here forever, love it, blink and be 65. I will have never have gone anywhere. I’ll just be here. My life would’ve passed by.
In 2009 I met up with Justine, who had left the year before to move to Brunei. We met in a pub in Newcastle with Ellen & Orlean also from Streetwise. She showed us photos of Brunei & Orlean talked about how she’d seen advertised “the greatest job on earth” looking after a Pacific island.
So I go home, thinking “I’d like to work on a Pacific Island”… so Google it and find http://www.pacificislandjobs.com
On there is a volunteer position for Waan Aelon in Majel (WAM). I inquire. I figure it’s too expensive but looks interesting.
Fast forward a year, something triggers me to search this website again. I see a job for WAM. It’s obviously a sign. I apply…
My manager comes back from maternity. They offer me top salary for Youth Work Manager. I put in my notice and 6 weeks later I run off to Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands on half the salary but with the confidence that whatever happens i won’t be 65 and in the same place.
What I walked into was not, in any way what I expected. But the fact I’d seen a volunteer role then turned into a paid role, the hippy part of me thought it was written in the stars or what not. I had to leave, I loved my job so much.
I still do. Relationships & Sex Ed has a special place in my heart. But I also think I’d have started to resent it by now if I had stayed still.
The fear of standing still, for me, always outweighs any fear of change. As humans we need be be challenged. I will always embrace change. When a position at WAM came up, even though financially it was suicide I jumped for it. Packed up my life in England and ran away. At the time it wasn’t a difficult decision. Staying behind was worse. Stagnation was way, way worse. And even though it was nowhere near my expectations. And even though I struggled. I would do it all again in a heartbeat. Though maybe this time I’d stay 2 years. I miss you Ajeltake.