friendship

"I moved to the most exciting city in Australia and cried in a 7-Eleven car park."

Packing up your belongings and moving to a glitzy new city is the stuff dreams are made of.

Or maybe it’s just the opening scene of a bad midday movie, hard to tell really.

Last week I said goodbye to most of my furniture, a quarter of my shoes and a fairly sizable chunk of my soul as I packed up my Brisbane home, jumped in the car and set my GPS for the bright lights of Sydney.

The move itself turned out to be quite the crowd pleaser.

Every time I mentioned my new job location, a misty glow would suddenly sweep across people’s faces and suddenly their vocabulary would contain more buzzwords than a pyramid scheme seminar.

Words such as ‘adventure’, ‘excitement’ and ‘new beginnings’ were tossed around with wild abandon. Every time I brought up small issues that were troubling me, like the fact that I was technically homeless, they were brushed aside with a cheery chirp of ” but think of the adventure!”

Which is a ridiculous sentiment, when you think about it.

If history has taught us anything, it’s that adventures are generally plagued with hardship,despair and death.

In The Wizard of Oz Dorothy was forced to steal a dead woman’s shoes and travel along a questionably constructed road while plagued by flying monkeys.

Frodo wasn’t exactly sipping Mai Tai’s and checking out the scenery when he traveled to Mount Doom in The Lord Of The Rings .

And please don’t even get started on the mental and emotional scares that poor Harry Potter was left to deal with after his “adventure, because no amount of Butterbeer is going to fill that sad void.

Despite this knowledge, I still decided to embrace the road less traveled (which in this day-and-age meant i Instagrammed a picture of the Opera House, along with #adventure) and set off to try my luck in the big smoke.

Which is ironic, because my life quickly went up in flames.

Laura about to move to Sydney. Super pumped for her new job and big #adventure.

When you move house, it’s a well documented fact that your belongings multiply faster than rabbits after Valentine’s Day.

Which is why, when I finally arrived in my new city, I wasn’t filled with awe as the glittering city lights came into view or as I sped over the Sydney Harbour Bridge for the very first time.

Instead, I had one white-knuckled hand clutching the steering wheel, while the other hand desperately tried to keep the suitcase, shoe boxes and microwave that were precariously stacked on my passenger seat from toppling onto me. A mishap that would have caused my adventure to end in one hell of an unglamorous death.

No one wants their tombstone to say they were taken out by a kitchen appliance.

Moving to a new city meant everything was just a little bit harder, took longer and even the smallest misstep can quickly push you to breaking point.

When you move, it’s a well documented fact that your belongings multiply faster than rabbits after Valentine’s Day.

You’ll also find yourself way more in touch with your feelings than you’ve ever cared to be. Telling every poor soul who has the misfortune to cross your path about the hell you’re currently navigating.

“I just don’t know if I’m making the right decision,” I sobbed into the phone one afternoon. “It’s just all too much, I don’t know if I can do it. It feels like everything is ending, have you ever felt like that?”

“Mam, I just need to know when you’d like the electricity cut off,” came the dry reply. “And where to direct the bill to.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Oh, and did I also mention you’ll find yourself doing more paperwork than ever before?

That’s right sweet-cheeks, get ready to start filling in forms until the day you up and die. Or you just reach breaking point and decide to shun society and embrace your inner Bear Grylls.

Whatever comes first.

“I just don’t know if I’m making the right decision,” I sobbed into the phone.

My breaking point came three days into my move, and just three days into the new job.

After a long day trying to navigate through an unfamiliar office, I somehow managed to board the wrong train, get lost in a series of streets that mirrored a Sin City comic, get lost again while trying to locate my car and then locked myself inside the parking garage I’d left said car in.

It wasn’t until I managed to escape that parking labyrinth of hell that a frightening reality hit me.

I didn’t have anywhere to go.

And, thanks to my big pre-move possession purge, every single thing I owned after living on this earth for almost 30 years was now bouncing around in my car with me. My whole life was in that car with me, and neither of us knew where we were going.

None of my Sydney housing leads were panning out and even if I did manage to find my way to the temporary accommodation I’d managed to organise for that night, my worries would not be over.

Because apparently I’d moved to a city that didn’t believe in street parking, so my car might as well have been a leper in the Old Testament.

Every single person I knew and loved were miles away, and even if I did pick up the phone and call for help it would mean saying out loud what a mundane mess my ‘big adventure’ had turned out to be.

Oh, if only all those people who believed in me could see me now, down and out in a Toyota Corolla.

And then, right on cue, my phone started pinging and beeping with a series of excited messages and emails from friends.

“How is it? Is it amazing? I bet you’re having so much fun!”

“How is Sydney? Aahh, I’m so jealous!”

“Fill me in! What have you been doing, are you loving it?!” 

I looked at that phone for a long time and then, instead of answering it, I swung my car into the first place I could find, a 7-Eleven car park, put my head down on the steering wheel and cried.

And I’m not talking sweet, delicate, Disney princess-type tears.

Oh no.

I’m talking heaving, gulping, apocalyptic style sobs.  A face so scrunched it would make Kim Kardashian jealous. It was pretty much akin to the first time I’d watched Mufasa’s death in The Lion King. 

But the thing about ugly crying alone in a car park is that eventually, you have to make a choice.

You can choose to stay there and waste away, allowing your body to be accidentally found by some poor chump who was just trying to buy milk.

Or you can dry your eyes, pick yourself up a frozen coke, get back in the car and just keep going until things get easier.

Because they will get easier, if you give it enough time.

And if they don’t? Well, the good news is there are plenty of car parks just waiting for your tears.

00:00 / ???