Living in Limbo

Being home these last two weeks has been thoroughly bizarre.

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It’s such a stark contrast to how it was when I came home for a week at the end of February. At that time my Nan was here, I was incredibly home sick and just needed a bit of a break. I breathed in the West Aussie air with such enthusiasm I couldn’t wait until we would be moving back again.

Fast forward to two weeks ago, when we sat sipping our final beverages on that lovely balcony, and we didn’t want to come home at all. I think sometimes you don’t appreciate what you have until you know you’re going to lose it. Such is life.

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The last two weeks have been spent catching up with friends, binge watching Netflix, drinking, partying and just having a generally chilled out time. It’s been great! Spending time with my family is my favourite thing in the world.

However, I feel like I’ve been hovering in no-man’s land. No work, which pathetically enough I’ve been missing, no home of our own, no where new to explore. It’s been like returning to the womb. Weird analogy but that’s all I can think to compare it to! We are back in the safety zone before our next big adventure.

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America is easy in my mind. We are going to be surrounded by English speaking people in well built up areas. It’s not quite Europe on a foreign train system or South East Asia on a local boat. I know we will be totally fine. The whole process has felt terribly impersonal! Squeezing hotel reviews in during lunch breaks while fielding domestic enquiries had me forgetting this is actually our trip! It’ll probably hit me while we sit on the plane tonight that we are actually going. For 10 weeks no less. Good luck Americans, the Charmeleons are coming…

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One thing I do want to gush about is my incredible weekend in my second home, Margaret River, with my one and only Ling, Elana. One year ago we did this trip for the first time and had such a blast at the dodgy little after party. This year we were determined to pack in as much pro action as possible, and oh man did we.

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Steph Gilmore has been my favourite since I met her three years ago. She’s strong and laidback and surfs with such grace. Seeing her again was such a wow moment for me.

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Laura Enever I started noticing late in to the tour last year and fell in love with when she did some presenting at the Aus Open of Surfing on Manly Beach last month. I was glued to the TV that day. What a sweet heart! She was absolutely lovely and has definitely cemented her place in my top three (I’ll get you one day Sally, I’m determined!).

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It was great to connect with the girl I chat shit with every day most of all though. She’ll be jetting off to Darwin for her own taste of adventure not long after I return, and I couldn’t be more proud or excited. Distance means nothing when you’ve got a true bond. That’s one thing I have learned over the years. Good friends are hard to come by but just as hard to get rid of.

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Perth is beautiful, and it will be home for a while. Wild Leigh needs to put her sensible hat on when she comes home and that’s okay. You can’t have or appreciate good times unless you prepare well for them!

2016 you’re shaping up to be the best yet.

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Next post will be from the States!

Harleigh Q

xo

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Honey, that’s just the blues

I’d like to preface this one by stating: my family are my life. They are my best friends, they always will be and they know it, but for those who have gotten used to a life a few thousand miles away, coming home can be quite the challenge.

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A lot can happen when you move away or travel for an extended period of time. It’s not just post-holiday glumness when you return to your 9-5. You change. You have gone through a period of questioning every single thing about yourself and have met people who challenged you and taught you things. You had to create a new life, a new happiness. The nights spent alone become easy. Spending time with strangers teaches you how to sus people out quickly, and how to bond with new friends.

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The people you clicked with so well before start to glaze over when you tell stories from your time away. They’ll lose interest in what you learned and who you met. You think it’ll be easy to fall back in to what you had before, but it’s actually impossible. You aren’t the old you anymore.

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It’s my fault really. I’ve left part of myself with my Brisfam and for a while I’ll be living in the memories of what we created there; until we make some new ones here at least. Every day there was filled with new possibilities. I’m definitely going to try and recreate that here in Perth if I can, but it’s a very different mental space when you have the comfort of home and old friends. I don’t want to lose everything I gained during my forced independence.

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Ive always had my friends spread all over the place. I have people I consider among my best and closest from Brisbane to Melbourne to Wellington to England. I love people, I like spending time with them. I love stories and their tellers more than anything in the world. Most of all, I love people who share my passions.

I value every single one of my mates. They all bring something amazing and different to the table, but unless they’ve experience these kind of blues it can be so hard to explain the disconnect. You can still love people and feel like you don’t belong.

Maybe it’s because in the last year I have learned to love change. Something I used to fear has become my way of knowing I’m alive. I love living day by day not knowing who I’m going to meet or what’s going to happen. Routine has never been my bag. I just can’t wait to be on the road again.

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Perth will always be my home. It’s where I see myself settling down and starting a family. But right now, 24 years old and desperate for adventure, it’s just not where I see myself. I’d like to also note, I made this decision while still living in Brisbane. A few months ago in the throws of homesickness I made some rash statements about starting the rest of my life here, but when that became a reality I understood very quickly that that is a commitment I am absolutely not ready for. I know. I’m exhausting.

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Coffee?

I told you itchy feet would kick in! At the end of this year once the debts are cleared I’ll be relocating. I love Australia. I don’t know yet if it’ll be Brisbane or Melbourne, but I’ll be going. This is my chance, young and free with the greatest job in the world, to embrace every opportunity. I’m going to grab this bull by the horns.

I’m sure some will say, ‘in time you’ll settle in! You can’t make that decision yet. You’ll find happiness again in Perth.‘ I don’t doubt I will. Leaving will be difficult I’m sure! But my goal is to live as many places as I can, and become the strongest and most interesting person I can. I love what being away from home does to me. I like independent Leigh. I’m not tied down financially and I have a job with incredible flexibility (don’t get me wrong though, I work damn hard to prove I’m worth hanging on to!). I’m not about easy or the comfort of home just yet. I want stories.

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Just know I love all of you, regardless of whether I’m a drive or phone call away; but let’s enjoy this year first shall we? I just don’t want to drunkenly spill the beans one night, so here it is!

I am beyond lucky that my family are so incredibly supportive of my choices, and to be honest they probably enjoy the phone having a hang up button. Chatter-box in person does not! My drive probably stems from them making the mad move to London when they were young anyway. Now that’s bravery! But la famiglia e per sempre.

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This is just for me; some accountability, and a goal to keep me level.

xo

P.S. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you’re contemplating a big move: DO IT. People are wonderful, honestly. You just have to go in with the right mental space. Don’t go backwards. Don’t give up.  You can handle absolutely anything! I promise you that. I would know. Softest, most family oriented, broken and codependent 22 year old over here turned wild adventurer. Be whoever you want to be. Our days are numbered. Spend them happy.