Friday, August 21, 2009

I'm moving back to Australia.

Which is not to imply that I don't want to live in Sweden anymore. I do. I plan on living here again at some stage. It's just that the right set of opportunities opened up in Brisbane, and it seems to fit our needs at the moment, so off we go.

In making this decision, which took some deciding, we were both aware that there would be some significant costs involved. After all, this is not the first time either of us has had to pull up stakes and move halfway around the globe. There are, of course, two options for this kind of move:

  • Sell everything that you own (usually at a loss), and head to the airport free of any material encumbrances beyond a backpack.
  • Pack all of your stuff and ship it.

On our way here, which was just over three years ago, we took the first option. It seemed to make sense, because we didn't really own anything that was worth keeping (for the most part). Selling my mountain bike at a considerable discount hurt the most - if I remember correctly it put me in such a bad mood that I behaved like a spoilt child for the rest of the day. Conversely, selling the car for the princely sum of $100 to a wreckers yard on our way to the airport felt liberating and vaguely bohemian.

In the meantime, we have replaced all of the various accoutrements of modern day life. One of the advantages of starting out fresh is that you don't end up with a mish mash of possessions, a conglomeration of dissimilar gifts, found objects and purchased bits and pieces. This time around, we had the advantage of living in a place where good design is considered a human right, a place where clever people wearing rimless glasses create beautiful furniture. I am also blessed with a girlfriend who has a discerning eye for that kind of thing. We had a lot of fun putting together our little apartment.

Consequently, we don't want to sell all this stuff that we invested so much time and effort in acquiring. But when I sat down to work out exactly how much it would cost, well, it turns out that sitting down was a good idea. Which is fair enough I suppose, considering the carbon footprint involved. I should probably plant a bunch of trees or something. But it still hurts. In fact, it hurts so much that I have just taken my old job back (in exactly what capacity I am yet to find out, but I can be sure that it will involve either throwing drunks out at 2am, or scrubbing pots/floors/grills). I really thought I had left the hospitality industry for good. While I have enjoyed my various hospitality jobs, they always felt like a means to an end, a way to pay for the other things in my life that I valued more, like travel or education.

So I feel like I have failed in a way. In leaving the industry, I thought I had finally reached a point in my life where I no longer had to take jobs that meant that I worked while others played, where I had to prioritise work over friends and family. Because I never really had the passion that hospitality requires, the passion that inspires people to work 80 hour weeks and invest most, if not all, of their waking energies into an often thankless job. I only had the desperation.

And now I am desperate again, but I hope it is not for too long this time.