A Snapshot of My 2019

On New Year’s Day last year I was gearing up to start a new full time job in Melbourne. I was in a relationship and couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into a new meaningful education project with YMCA. As a last hurrah, I ventured across to Tassie for three weeks in my van. I worked remotely whilst enjoying the summer sun and what I thought would be my last real adventure for a while.

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Selfie at Bay of Fires, Tasmania

February was the month I settled into my new job and lived north side with my brother and his wife. I was newly single and enjoyed swiping away on the apps and exploring the neighbourhood bars and restaurants with new acquaintances.

In March I moved into a share house in Elwood. It was there that I made two lifelong friends. I loved living in a leafy beachside suburb. I joined a running club and walked to the beach after work most days. I looked forward to coming home each night to debrief the day with my new buddies and drink tea on the couch.

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My share house in Elwood. Melbourne

I couldn’t believe my luck when I received a call in April from the Endemol producers to say I’d been selected as a contestant on Australian Survivor. I was so ill-prepared given weeks earlier I’d been told I was on a stand-by list. It was so unlikely I’d get on I ceased my appalling attempt to get in shape and booked a trip to Port Douglas as a consolation to Fiji. The change of circumstances threw me into a spin. In the space of two weeks I sold my van, celebrated my 30th birthday and holidayed in Queensland with the knowledge I’d be living in Fijian jungle with a bunch of strangers a week later.

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The cast of Australian Survivor (I'm second left)

It wasn’t until late May that I was booted from Survivor, managing to hang in there until Day 24. Having never watched a full season, I really didn’t know what I was in for. I felt in my element living in the jungle with not much more than the clothes on my back, but the physical challenges really impacted my confidence. It was not a fun experience but it was certainly unique and worthwhile.

June and July were a bit of a blur as I threw myself straight back into work. The Survivor experience felt like somewhat of a dream, as all of our blood, sweat and tears were suspended in hours of unedited footage. I wasn’t even allowed to tell friends and colleagues where I’d been or why I was unusually tanned for winter. I was counting down the days until they revealed the cast list.

In August a small group of friends gathered in the lounge room of my new share house in Carlton to watch the first episode of Survivor. It was nerve-racking to watch the edited version of my reality. I didn’t feature as heavily as those who were scandalous or made it further in the game. Regardless of my edit, I still enjoyed watching each episode and providing commentary to friends and family along the way.

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The time I got to collect the idol from JLP

Before Survivor finished airing, I decided to jet off to Bali and Thailand for some down time in the sun. In Bali I spent most of my time in Canggu with a friend from Darwin. I hadn’t been to Bali in over 10 years and despite the influx of familiar Western style cafes and boutiques, still felt a slight unease and sadness at the state of the place. Thailand on the other hand was much more appealing to my sense of adventure. I flew into Bangkok and met up with a friend from Mexico. We spent a few days exploring Railay Beach and the surrounding islands, then dotted off to Chiang Mai to chill out with some rescue elephants.

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Feeding the rescued elephants in Chiang Mai

I was chuffed to on-board three new energetic staff members when I returned to work in October. We spent 10 weeks delivering a SEL program I’d developed earlier in the year to primary students in rural Victoria. The things I remember most fondly are the long conversations whilst driving through the countryside and the students who responded to our lessons so weirdly and wonderfully that we left each week with a new set of stories to report back.

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Celebrating the wrap up of the program with the team

December was a month for meeting new people and enjoying food with new and old friends. I helped Mum pack up the family house in preparation for a move to Rosebud. The packing of forgotten keepsakes and printed photos left a sting I wasn’t expecting. I realised that while I’ve been keeping busy, so has everyone else, but in ways that are now worlds apart from mine. Friends have progressed from op shopping to house buying and boys who wrote me love letters are married with babies.

While I enter 2020 with no place to call home or baby daddy, I’m proud of what I’ve achieved over the past decade and get excited thinking about what’s in store for the future.

Ps. My New Year’s resolution is to write more and publish regularly. I realised in writing this that it’s been more than a year since I last posted.

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