Find Something (ANYTHING!) and Embrace It!
Coffee and Brunch (in that order)
For me, it’s the culture that surrounds coffee here. Australia has a thriving coffee and brunch culture that just begs you to go sit down at a cafe and spend the day over an avo toast and a flat white. The fact that you can bring your doggie along with you is just icing on the cake.
I often think of going out for coffee to be 1. bad for my health, because anxiety and caffeine are natural-born enemies and 2. costly. I love saving money and foregoing fast pleasures for big-ticket items in the future, but I changed my tune after I sipped my first long black.
There isn’t a lot here that I am particularly excited about. The food is meh, the people are ehh, and the landscapes are..consistent. Yes, these are first world problems. In the grand scheme of things, this is a great place to live and I am blessed, but that is some inspirational sh*t for a different blog.
I splurge on coffee (almost daily) and I get the good stuff. This gives me something to look forward to daily and gives me that extra little kick to crank out a few extra job applications.
Both of which are key in this expat game.
Now, when I moved here, I wasn’t really a beach person and, honestly, I’m still not. I’m about as heat-tolerant as an albino mouse and, because I don’t really sweat, I tend to just get dry and itchy. Also, I have learned in the last 2 years that I am scared of all ocean life, so…
That being said, Australia has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and I would be a world-class nincompoop if I didn’t at least try to milk them for all they are worth.
So, what can I find enjoyable about beaches if I don’t like heat and sharks are everywhere (in my mind)?
I love walking, hiking, wildlife, and (as mentioned before) coffee. Combine them all and you have a perfect day in Sydney. Luckily for me, I live in Sydney, the land of the coastal walks!
Coastal walks are some of the most popular activities for Aussies. Nothing brings my heart more joy and makes me think “maybe this wasn’t a mistake” more than taking a 3-hour walk/hike oceanside while holding my Almond flat white in one hand and my iPhone (playing PokemonGo, of course) in the other.
The sun is warm, views breathtaking and coffee so good, I can almost forget that I battle crippling anxiety on the daily.
The beauty of focusing on a few enjoyable activities is that if you start from a place of comfort and simple joy, it is all the easier to grow and expand your interests.
Once Matt and I started going on weekend hikes and coastal walks, I started naturally wanting to try other activities that I didn’t have access to in Germany: kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, and snorkeling.
I try to emphasize the word “naturally”, because there are times when friends, family, and partners will offer up all these new hobbies that “you should try, so you can get out of the house and meet people”. I know they are trying to help, but that kind of pressure and sometimes judgment doesn’t help anyone.
It’s much better to feel like you made that choice on your own, especially at a time when it might feel like you don’t have any control at all.
In an ideal world, I would also learn how to surf while I’m here, but after almost snorkeling INTO a Jellyfish…I had to take a little break from ocean activities for a while.
Find something (anything!) and enjoy it as often as possible. It is important to have as many positive experiences where you are in order to not become overwhelmed with the negatives. This is especially important around month 3 when it seems homesickness is the worst.