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The Wandering Chef


AUSTRALIA | Thursday, 15 May 2014 | Views [80] | Scholarship Entry

My mom wants to write a book about divorce. A book of perspectives of many different people who have endured it. Her aim is to create a book so that anyone who reads it might not feel quite so alone.

I don't know about you, but knowing hundreds of people who had in some way been touched by divorce was of no comfort to me. My parent's divorce was one of the loneliest times of my life. I had seen it coming for years, and thought I was ok with it because of that. Instead, it sent me running to the other side of the world to be as far removed as possible from anything that would remind me of it.

I organised a job as a chef before I arrived, I worked hundred-odd hour weeks, I barely stopped to explore the beautiful city I had landed in (Sydney, by the way) or get to know my new housemates. After several months of all-consuming work I eventually pulled my head out of the sand.

I found that Sydney had everything I had dreamed of in a city. Of course it has that familiar and exciting city 'hum' and 'buzz,' yet even the CBD somehow maintains that typically Australian laid-back vibe. It's colourful, each suburb has its own identity and its own life. They might clash, but it works. And then of course, there's the water, something that lies at the heart of Australian culture.

Just five minutes from my house I could lie in the sun and listen to the gentle lap of the water against the harbour walls, I could hop on the ferry to Manly and relish the feeling of the wind whipping my cheeks, with the city skyline on one side and the vast ocean peeking between Watsons Bay and North Head, I could dig my toes into the sand at Dee Why or Bronte.

Eventually I started travelling north with a friend, once again aiming to get out of my comfort zone. We kayaked with dolphins and had our first ever surf lesson in Byron Bay, we got up close and personal with Dingos on Fraser Island, and snorkelled with pulsing jellyfish and the real Nemo and Dory. I even threw myself out of a perfectly functioning aircraft at 13,000ft over Mission Beach.

A year after my Australian adventure ends, I am back in London, once again working in kitchens, once again working long hours. I have come full circle, only this time I am back to my old, happy, self. I am not afraid to push boundaries, to take the path less travelled. Hard as it was, that change led me on one of my greatest adventures so far and right to where I am now.

Oh, and like the adverts say 'There's no place like Australia.'

Tags: 2014 Travel Writing Scholarship - Euro Roadtrip

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