Facing my Fears & Flying again after 2 years

So here I am, finally! Im currently flying over Indonesia enroute to Dubai and then onto Ireland, which is particularly exciting as I haven’t been there before. 

Before I get into my upcoming trip I just need to say wow the stress and anxiety in my head this morning was real! My mind was going into over drive about all the things that could go wrong and then trying to manage them from the limited space my brain and skull takes up on this planet. Yeah, not a fun time. 

There is reason for this though,  about 2 years 7 months ago when I was living in Santorini Greece, I got the phone call every traveler dreads, my mum crying on the other end of the phone saying something has happened. I knew it from the second I answered and just demanded to know what happened, she couldn’t say the words fast enough for me. My heart beating and panicking the next words she said would change my life and how I travel forever. “Your dad has been in an accident. He didn’t make it.” My world stood still and I fell to the floor and screamed. He was meant to pick me up from the airport in just 2 short weeks and we had spoken the day before. I Immediately returned to Australia the next day. This was November 2015. I will detail this life changing event in another post soon. 

Since that day its fair to say my life has changed and how I choose to live it. My dad was a coach driver used to love showing tourists our beautiful country. I think I got my love for travel from him, so there’s no way I’m going to stop doing what I love and continue to explore the world, but its been a long and interesting path from that moment to get me back on a plane today.

After a blurry start to 2016 and a trip back to Greece collect my things and tie up loose ends, I made the decision to return to Australia indefinitely and ground myself in the Sydney life. I got a 9-5 job as an executive assistant for the federal government earning good money, I moved out with my best friend to Gladesville, set up a Tinder account to find a man, got a car and started studying acting in the city. I was doing all the things I thought I needed to do as a woman soon approaching 30, setting myself up so to say. 

The only problem was, my heart was still overseas and wanting to travel the world.The first year was the hardest. How could I do to this boring office thing everyday and look at the drab fixtures in this tired old building when they are waterfalls to be seen! When life is happening right now! This was an important period of growth for me, and although I set up all the parameters to be ‘stable and secure’ I felt more and more like I was losing control. Many days and nights were spent inside my room crying, grieving my father and the previous life I had and how I thought it could never go back to it again the way it was. 

I did a lot in that time, I reconnected with old school friends, as mentioned I moved to Gladesville, the suburb where my dad grew up and my mum used to work and where I believe they ultimately met. I was trying desperately to find myself in my exterior surroundings and doing the things that I thought would bring me prescribed happiness. You know? The kind of tick in the box happiness everyone buys into….finish school, get job, get married, buy house etc….which is fine for some! Just definitely not me. 

After finishing my acting school I even got cast on a reality dating tv show! As exciting and fun this was, it still didn’t fill my heart and soul with the fulfilment I craved. Travel was calling my name again. I booked my for August 15 with no real idea where I was going or what I was doing, and as Im sitting on this plane I still only have a rough idea of where Ill be going with no real plans or internal flights booked. All I knew was that I was ready for travel and adventure again and It was going to be over 7 weeks from August to early October. 

Fast forward to this morning where I am an absolute mess, thinking of every possible negative outcome, literally crying my eyes out on the way to the airport. I am so lucky to have the people around me that I do, which made it easier to leave but also harder at the same time. See as soon as I booked my flight and followed my heart, my life changed again. My job at the government ended as it was a contract, I finished acting school and I was filming the last few episodes of the show. I was jobless, clueless but I knew I wanted to travel and I needed to make it happen. 

So I started applying for jobs that would give me the flexibility of acting on the side, but also saving to go overseas. I applied for a job online at a local hotel, I got a phone call soon after from a voice that questioned “Is this Belinda? Is your nickname also BJ?” Turns out the General Manager was a very good friend of mine that I have known since I was 14! Obviously I took the job and started working in hospitality again. Previously I had worked as a flight attendant for Virgin Australia for 5 years and also managed a 5 star hotel in Santorini Greece, so this was returning to familiar territory. The friendships I have made with staff and guests alike are second to none, I am so blessed to have these people in my life. I also met someone! And although our relationship hasn’t always been the smoothest of sailing, I know I have found a friend for life. 

At the hotel, even though I wasn’t the one travelling I got to host the guests and international students who were travelling and offer the best local advice and customer service I could. I love being able to connect people with experiences and enrich their lives in any little way I can.

This was certainly on the path to the feeling I have been looking for. And thats why Im writing this blog – to connect my previous life of travelling carefree to the more grounded and fulfilling experience Im having now. I want other travelers and people to be inspired by my words and to connect to my story. Yeah shit happens, and it hurts bad. But if I can navigate through the expectations and dreams we all have within ourselves and walk through those damn departure gates this morning with tears streaming down my face and a head full of anxiety – you can too. 

Strangely as soon as I got through those gates – I remembered. I remembered who I am, why I am doing what I am doing and a sense of calm filled by body and mind. Its been a long journey to get here, but Im glad Im here and I cant wait for you to share this journey with me. I’m no longer traveling to escape, but rather run towards the life I dream of. I’m not leaving Australia the broken woman I thought I was, but a woman filled with love in her heart who dares to share and keep stepping forward and shaking shit up. The universe must be smiling back at me as I scored the only free row of empty seats on the plane! #basicallybusinessclass 

I hope to bring you all a sense of adventure, share some of the cool shit I’m doing and ultimately know that you can change your life around in one decision. My decision is to get back out there and do this! 

Ill have an update for you soon when I land in Ireland! 

With love 

Santorini Girl

P.S Big shoutout to my girl Natalie Brite, without your guidance and support none of this would be possible. Check her out at nataliebritecoaching.com 

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