I left my corporate job, my relationship and Australia to pursue a lifelong dream.

One year ago, almost to the day, I decided to make a big change. Smoke bombing my entire life. To set the scene, at the start of 2019, I was working for a marketing agency, was on a solid career path and had just progressed with a promotion I’d been pushing for the last 6 months.

I was in a long-term relationship; we were about to celebrate 3 years together. He was loving and supporting and still to this day the nicest person I know. However, we were both living at my dad’s house. He was at University and we both were financially recovering from a big backpacking trip we had returned from in 2018.

I was very keen for us to get an apartment of our own, and he was craving a big share house. Living in large share houses is something I was well experienced in whilst working previous snow seasons. With my job, dealing with large groups of people all day, I certainly didn’t want to be social at home too. My job was draining long hours, sitting at a desk, answering 100s (and I mean 100s) of phone calls, text messages and emails all day. I was exhausted all the time. I was on call 24/7, never getting a break. Honestly, people would call me at 3am some days. 

In hindsight, I took a lot of my frustrations out on my partner. Our relationship was quickly deteriorating but neither one of us wanted to pull the trigger. There are a number of other factors that contributed to this (perhaps I’ll write a follow-up piece about those challenges) but for this story that’s not what’s important. I longed for the days where I was overseas and working in the snow, surrounded by like-minded people and not constantly stressing over an endless to-do list.

Something I had always wanted to do was a winter season in New Zealand (I’m a qualified Ski Instructor). I frequently visited Queenstown as a kid/teenager and always loved the place.

Fast forward a week or so, it was Monday and I called my manager and department head into a meeting room and resigned. I think their jaws literally hit the floor. I was so good at hiding my disdain for work that they really had no idea how much I was hating it, and (a bit of a humblebrag) but I was good at my job.

The next call I made was to my mother to tell her I had bought a one-way ticket to New Zealand and was leaving in four weeks. Finally, I had to break the news to my partner, he knew I was thinking about resigning and how much I was struggling with work, but when I told him I was leaving I don’t think he realised fully what that meant. The next 4 weeks was a big struggle; he had to find somewhere to live and we had to work out what we meant to each other, all while I was trying to pack up my life and move overseas.

I had no plan and I was so excited.

By a turn of good fate, my old snow roomie was also going to New Zealand, the stars aligned for us and we were able to find a house together. I thought I would just go to New Zealand, ski every day, hit the reset button on my life and come back to Melbourne. I had enough savings to keep me going and not work over there, but was hoping for something part-time so I didn’t decimate my savings completely.

A few weeks after arriving in NZ my partner and I finally accepted our relationship was over. This was a hugely liberating moment. My housemate helped me secure a job ski instructing, and after my first shift I knew that’s what I was meant to be doing. Soon after, I applied for a job in Japan for the next winter. Those 4 months turned my quarter-life crisis into the best life decision I’ve made so far.

Now, more than ever we have lots of time to reflect. Whilst in this current world climate I probably wouldn’t recommend the whole smoke bomb approach I took. So, while I reflect on my actions, I realise that something I had to learn to do is how to communicate. I traditionally, always run away from difficult conversations; I hate confrontations and often cry before I can say what I mean too. I still find it challenging, but always feel much better after I have spoken my peace. I try to speak with courage now, and that’s a lesson I needed.

If you feel stuck in a rut whether it be work, relationships, anything really- talk about it, write it down, express it and make a plan for change.

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