Walkabout across the Sydney Harbour Bridge

As I write this, I’m listening to the song Resolution by Matt Corby, a fact I find fitting for this post as he was one of the first Australian artists I discovered when I first moved to Melbourne. I used to listen to this song every day when I woke up, it reminded me to keep an open mind, an open heart to what I might find out of my time here. To live in the present, and enjoy it to the best of my ability. Two lines specifically always stuck out to me:

“Control your fear. It’s clear that you do not know where you’re going to.”

“Turn around, put it down and see that this is really the place to be. I’m not you, nor you me, but we’re both moving steady.”

I love every lyric in that song, but those two lines quickly became the mantra to my life abroad. If there’s anything I’ve learned from moving abroad, it’s that nothing is guaranteed, nothing lasts forever, and the most bittersweet moments are the ones you’ll remember for the rest of your life.

I’ve been feeling more nostalgic lately about how quickly my time in Australia is flying by. If Americans were able to do a second year visa, I would without a doubt be doing it. The reality is that it’s not a feasible option because of my nationality, and I need to start thinking about what I’m going to do with my life come April.

I have three options I’ve been pondering.

1. Move back to San Diego and resume my life back in Cali. 

2. Move to Oregon and live with my dad outside of Eugene for a bit to be closer to my family and my loving grandma. 

3. Move to New Zealand, do a year visa, and see how life is in Kiwi land. 

And my secret option which I don’t actually admit to because I know it’s very unlikely, to get sponsored by a company in Australia in the field I want to go into (read: music event management). I don’t want to get sponsored in just any field simply so I can stay here, because I also want to progress as a person, and I think I would just see that as putting my life on hold for a little while to extend my time here.

I walked across the Sydney Harbour Bridge the other day, and when I looked out over the harbor and out at the Sydney Opera House, it really hit me just how much I’ve come to love Sydney. It was never a place I expected to like, especially after I lived in Melbourne, I was expecting a city that was superficial and slightly boring. And although the city can be superficial in some ways compared to Melbourne, there is so much more to love about Sydney once you get past the surface beauty – a big draw in its own right.

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Melbourne will always have a soft spot in my heart, like a first love, it was my first introduction to Australia, and I still feel like Melbourne gets me in a unique way. However, there’s something soothing to the soul about Sydney. When I walk from Bondi to Coogee, go down to the beach around the corner from my house, or just take in the daily beauty constantly around me, I have this overwhelming feeling that everything is going to be just fine.

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I was walking around Circular Quay, one of the main tourist areas in Sydney, and despite the droves of tourists, I realized how surreal my life sometimes tends to feel here, that I live in as beautiful a place as where I currently reside. I remember looking at the picture travel books when I was little, and seeing the Sydney Opera House, thinking it was a place as far away as a fairy tale, and one that I would never get to.

Who knew that deciding on a whim to move abroad and working towards that goal until I achieved it would lead me to this. However, that surreal feeling is usually followed by the bittersweet reality that I have to leave one day, and how exhausted I am not feeling like I can call a place home.

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When I was walking across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, I thought back to when I was 13 and walking across the Golden Gate Bridge for the first time with my dad at one of my many basketball tournaments in San Francisco. When I think back to where I was at that age, a decade ago now, it’s remarkable the changes I have gone through. From an anxious, hesitant little girl who had no idea what was ahead of her, to where I am today, I hardly recognize that person anymore.

Two serious relationships, one degree, a supportive sorority, 21 countries, countless irreplaceable new experiences, and 7,420 miles away from home later, it was overwhelming what I felt walking over that bridge.

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An exchange between Joel and Clementine from my favorite movie, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, popped into my head.

Clementine: This is it Joel. It’s going to be gone soon.

Joel: I know.

Clementine: What do we do?

Joel: Enjoy it.

And that’s all we can do, what I plan to do for the rest of my time in Australia, enjoy it. I don’t think I’ll be ready to leave when the time comes, but I’ve already decided if I end up going to grad school, there’s a very good chance it will be in Australia, so I’d like to think that April doesn’t mean goodbye per say, but more along the lines of see ya later, mate.

It’s always important to remember that there are far better things ahead of us then what we leave behind.

As I write this post, this is my view.

I think I’m perfectly happy with living in the moment right now and letting my life take the direction it will. What’s meant to be is meant to be, and sometimes we just have to be content with letting it be.

Today I am thankful to be where I am, where I’ve been, and where I’m going to.

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Mimi McFadden
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Mimi McFadden

Travel Writer/Blogger at The Atlas Heart
Mimi founded The Atlas Heart to create a community of travelers inspired to see the world. The Atlas Heart is a space where you'll find anecdotes on slow travel, craft beer, outdoor adventures, and all the eccentric bits in between that this world has to offer.
Mimi McFadden
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