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On the Loose - My South East Asia Adventure My travel adventure through South East Asia starts on the 16 April 07, and includes a little side-trip to New Zealand to begin with. On the 31 July I will be landing at Zurich Airport in an attempt to try and settle back into life in my country of origin. If you want to know where the road of travel is leading me then read on. I will try and update this journal as often as possible so that everyone with a genuine interest is able to share some of the experiences I'll encounter. Sit back and relax, over a cold beer or a glass of wine, and enjoy!

About la_gitana_pequena

Coogee Beach - Sydney - Australia

Coogee Beach - Sydney - Australia

GENERAL

I was bred and born in Zurich on 28 February 1977 and have lived most of my life in a small town named Bulach which is in the 'Zurcher Unterland' in the northern part of Canton Zurich.

HOW I BECAME INFECTED WITH THE TRAVEL VIRUS:

Back in 1997 my then employer, a major Swiss Bank, sponsored my trip to Auckland, New Zealand, where I lived with a host family for 3 months and studied English. I ended my stage in beautiful "Kiwiland" with a 4 weeks travel adventure around the South Island and returned to Switzerland in January 1998.

A couple of months after my return I changed jobs and started a new career as an external auditor with one of the big 4 assurance companies in Zurich. I began my post-graduate degree (i.e. Swiss Certified Fiduciary / eidg. Treuhaender) in 1998 which I finished in 2001.

Another 3 years down the track I felt a little burnt out from all the work and studies I had done, and given that I was single at the time, I decided it was the perfect moment for a timeout.

I was longing to see my friends back in NZ for years, and also wanted to discover New Zealand's bigger brother Australia which I couldn't visit when I was downunder the first time round.

My travel adventure started off in Singapore on 5 March 2004 where I visited a friend from work who was based in Singapore on a 2-years secondment. After a week I moved on to New Zealand to see my friends and to find out how the country's changed within half a decade. Another 2 months down the track I flew from Auckland to Sydney to start my travel adventure in Australia. And this is where I am now, still, 3 years down the track...

Why Australia...,
a lot of people asked themselves, knowing how much I was in love with the kiwis (I actually still am...). To tell you the truth, I don't know. Maybe just because it wasn't planned and just happened that way! Often it's the spontenous decisions in life that turn out to be great successes...

I was actually just about ready to fly back home after 10 months of travelling and lazying about when I arrived in Sydney in December 2004. I spent January and February visiting Ausralian friends I had met on the way, and then in February decided to look for a short-term contract for 6 weeks, given that I had a work-permit (working holiday visa) which did not run out until mid-April.

I registered with two employment agencies and quickly figured out that there's a huge demand for experienced professionals in the audit industry, thanks to Sarbanes, Basel II, AML...you name it. I attended interviews with 4 financial services companies during 1.5 weeks and got offered a sponsorship opportunity by all.

I was really unsure whether to say yes or no, given that I hadn't seen my family nor my friends for almost a year - and was feeling quite a bit homesick. Nevertheless, I decided on my birthday that I could not resist the temptation. How often does one get an opportunity like that, especially considering that I'm from a non-English speaking country and had never worked abroad before.

So many times I had seen "Flugaufnahmen" (aerial photographs?) of Sydney Harbour featuring the Opera House and the Botanical Gardens, Circular Quay and the Bridge. The sight of Sydney's world-fameous landmarks and of the dozens of sailing boats cruising around in the Harbour on deep blue water that glitters in the seemingly ever shining sun are impressive, almost overwhelming.

I've always had this dream of living and working abroad for some time, and I often wondered what life in a city as beautiful as Sydney (I could only tell from the photographs...)would be.

I therefore couldn't turn the offers down, I had to accept...

Now, 2 years later, I'm more than happy to say that I don't regret my decision in the slightest, even though the start wasn't easy.

You don't 'just' settle into a 5 Million-city - not if you're from a tiny little country like Switzerland where the population of the whole country is no more than 7.1 Million. Also, the difference in language and culture and the fact that you are out of your comfort-zone and away from family and friends who live (literally) at the other end of the planet don't help the situation...

However I have to admit that after 2 years in Sydney it actually hurts to have to leave this place again!

I've become to adore Sydney and am enjoying the superb weather, the great beach life, the reams of entertainment facilities and the endless number of outdoor opportunities this stunning city has to offer. Also, and more importantly, I've met some wonderful people along the way and very much appreciate and treasure the true friendships I was able to establish within the short period I spent here.

Bottom line: Sydney is a fantastic place to live in - if it only wasn't so (bloody:-)) far away from home!

I'm very greatful that I've been given the opporunity to experience what I did, and will always have fond memories of the time I've spent here (a lot of tales to tell too, once back home!).

As for now though I am looking very much forward to returning back to where I think I belong: with my country and my people. But before I open up a new chapter in my life I need a bit of 'Nadine-Time' ...

The 3 1/2 months in South East Asia will give me plenty of time to reflect on the past 3 years and forge plans for the future - and in between: to just be! The mind works best when it's relaxed... And that's exactely what I am going to do.

Wish me luck:-)

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