Today is the beginning of October. I have been working at Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary for over two months. And despite the beauty of the place, the interesting work, the relatively calm rhythm and the security (accommodation, meals and wifi provided and a good pay), I do not feel very good. Or rather I do not feel good anymore. The first two months were full of discoveries, wonder, learning. The third month was full of clashes, anxieties, disappointment and ill-being. What has happened that completely change my appreciation of the experience?
I have always had a lot of problems with social relations. Interacting with others has always been associated with many questions, disappointments and misunderstandings. Apparently, I do not understand others. And I do not understand why I can not understand them. Since I started traveling, it has not changed. When I left France almost two years ago, I had in mind to go to Japan for a year. The n°1 country on my list of places to visit. This journey to the other end of the world was supposed to change me mentally and physically. I was gonna find out who I really was, overcome these feelings of ill-being and disappointment that have inhabited me for years and have successful relationships. Of course this was not the case. I spent six difficult months in Japan, filled with loneliness and misunderstanding. Everything was not bad, on the contrary. I have seen wonderful things, did incredible experiences and learned a lot. But what struck me was the feeling of extreme solitude associated with difficult exchanges. Yes it is normal. Japan is a very different country from France, people behave differently and the language barrier is a hard obstacle to overcome. I was most certainly naive to think that while traveling a few months in Japan, I was going to find the solution to all my problems.
So rather than push myself and end up being disgusted with this country that I love so much, I flew to New Zealand. There, I was gonna be able to change, for sure. The country of wide open spaces and hiking. Everything I love. This time I spent a year there and despite all the wonderful things I saw and the great experiences I did, the feeling is mixed about social relationships. Even in a country with a culture very similar to European culture and without too many problems of comprehension (I speak relatively good English), I did not have, or not succeeded to have, very successful exchanges with others. Again I felt very lonely. I met some people with whom the exchange worked very well but the rest of the time was quite disappointing. I had several clashes probably due to too high expectations and I spent almost the entire year without real friends. And let’s do not even talk about love relationships. I have always been a loner but at 28 years old, I feel like I really need to find someone (friend or partner) to share, to have a real contact, a true exchange.
So here I am in Australia since July. My initial plan when I left New Zealand was to work for six months, travel in the country for two months and then go travelling in Asia on a bicycle. Now that I am in Australia with a one-year visa I think I will stay here and enjoy the full year to discover as many things as possible. This is also why it is probably time to leave soon Arkaroola. I thought of spending six months here but after two and a half months I think it is better to go elsewhere. The country is so big that spending six months in one place feels like a shame. And associated with this, another experience very mixed concerning social relationships, I think it is time to face the obvious. Take a decision. Leave Arkaroola and leave behind me this discomfort that is growing here or stay and hang on despite the problems…