If I were to sit down and write a list of the things that define success, I’d stack up pretty well. Dream job, a loving boyfriend, financial freedom, good health and a roof over my head. Many would agree that I have no cause for complaint, yet every day I wake up feeling uneasy. This discontent runs deep into my soul and it can only be described as a constant feeling of displacement.
Every day starts the same. My alarm goes off and I hit snooze. This happens three times until I drag my broken-tired-self out of bed and into the bathroom- to try and fashion myself into a presentable human being. 40 minutes later, I’m on the train in a crowd of other corporate zombies. 15-minutes later and I’m at my desk, large almond latte in hand, mentally convincing myself that I am exactly where I need to be- I am ‘successful’.
My definition of success, however, is different to the definition so commonly accepted around me. I don’t want the chains of a 9-5 office job and I don’t want the crippling debt of a home loan choking the fun out of my life.
Sure, I want kids, but do I want them growing up in the confines of a city where playing in the street is a thing of the past? Nope. Keep the picket fence, two kids and the dog. I choose creative wandering work, sunsets with my love on a beach that isn’t even on the map and the enthusiasm for life that is currently missing from my eyes. I choose freedom.
Explaining to someone that I’ve quit my well-paid job to become a global gypsy is not always an easy task and I don’t really expect everyone to understand my seemingly reckless approach to life.
My friends and family were shocked. Some reacted with high-fives and admiration, while others glared at me and spouted words of caution and intimidation.
“How can you throw away everything you’ve worked so hard for?”
“Do you even speak Italian?”
“What are you going to do for work?”
For which my replies are almost always-
“What is the point of a high paying job when you hate your life and cry every day?”
“No, I don’t speak Italian, but my boyfriend is teaching me.”
“My whole career survives on a laptop and a Wi-Fi connection- I can work anywhere”
The negative ones continue on, trying to pull me back into the bucket of conformity but, for the most part, I am met with glassy eyes and romanticised smiles.
And in one way, it is romantic. While I have always wanted to pick up and leave the office grind, this particular occasion has a pretty powerful driving force behind it. My boyfriend and I met in Melbourne while he was on a working holiday visa from Italy. That visa is about to expire and when the love of your life asks you to come with him back to Italy to start a new life together, you don’t say no.
I’ve booked my one-way ticket. I have a small pool of savings (not much) to get me going and my passport is stamped with a 1-year working holiday visa for Italy.
My heart is singing with excitement and I can’t wait to start writing about what is to come. Laptop in hand, DSLR around my neck- this is happening and I’m finally embracing my definition of success.
Follow my journey
Tina Benias is a freelance writer and content strategist. She shares stories of her daily life on her website www.tinabenias.com.au and skips around the world with her Italian lover at www.theholidayedit.com