B. 2015, in all honesty.

The beginning of 2015, the famous New Years of Valparaíso
The beginning of 2015, the famous New Years of Valparaíso

I can’t think of any other names that spell out a year right now, at least not any current years. Since I was in high school typing in random things on a calculator I have known that my name ‘ZOIS’  can without many objections be considered to spell out  2015 and vice versa.
Naturally I thought about what I would be doing that year, I already thought I would probably graduate from university in either 2014 or 2015. Would I be working? What kind of work would that be? I had no idea.

Days in Santiago

I did have a feeling that by all rights it should be a lucky year for me. As the year got closer, however, I started to feel a silly pressure that I should make the most out of that year. But, who in the world would have thought that at the end of the year I would find myself throwing ( a term we find more fitting than picking) watermelons, in Wentworth, middle of nowhere, Australia?

Over the last 2.5 years a short stint with a psychologist, travelling, living abroad, and my delving into Buddhism have helped me to lose my more fearful tendencies. So I started the year 2015 feeling confident about it. Experiencing only a vague fear at the thought that if I didn’t graduate this year, my big travel adventure wouldn’t start in the promising year that somehow spells my name. But, it did.

Days in Siete Tazas national park

Honestly, I am a bit sad to spend another  Christmas in summer, away from old friends and family, and to be ending the special year of 2015 without those people. But still, the adventure feels right. Not many people have the opportunity to just pack their stuff, work in Australia, and travel wherever you feel is right.

Still, it is not an easy decision to make. But the symbolism of the year 2015 helped me never to doubt it. So after graduating, I happily spent my time in Greece, Spain, Italy, Greece again, and after all  the big adventure that started this December: Australia and onward. Doubts always remain, but ‘2015’ gave me that little extra courage I needed to go looking for the world and its people, out there in the world, and see what happens after, after.

Days in Greece

So, here I find myself in quiet old Wentworth, a small town, once very important as it is the meeting point of Australia’s biggest rivers. With its liberal use of space (huge roads, houses and space between them), the place feels both bigger and emptier than it is. I find my peace here though, working; reading books; learning Swedish, French, and Greek; watching online lectures; chatting with the few other backpackers; and swimming in the river. Work, learn, and explore.

Days in Spain

So yes, I’m getting up at 4.45 in the morning to pick up, catch, and throw watermelons of up to 25 kilograms, every day. And it can get bloody hot. I’m not sitting by a camp-fire, on a mountain, overlooking ancient ruins, with beautiful hippy friends singing Beatles songs. Not yet at least. But, still it is pretty great here. The trick is learning to enjoy every part of the journey in its own right, every part of your life in fact. And I’m happy to say that is going better for me each day. So, thank you 2015.

Days in Italy (and the Netherlands)

In celebration and as a goodbye, here are some pictures of where I have been and where I am now in 2015. Have an even better 2016 people who read this, and people who don’t too.

Days in Sydney

And, finally Wentworth

Australians love fireworks, so even in little Wentworth there is a huge show on Christmas eve (preparing for new years, I’m sure)

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