I’m going to be frank with you all.
Over the last few months, I’ve become really disenchanted with a few aspects of my life, including the blog. This website started off as a way for me to spread the good word about the worlds best city (shout out Melbourne!), explore new ideas and stories from around the globe, and ultimately help as many people as I could lead as awesome a life as possible.
But it’s become this behemoth of a thing always looming over me, and I really stopped enjoying writing stories and articles for you all to read.
It all of a sudden was a task, and I only recently realised that I’m not okay with that.
The other big-ticket item that was chipping away at my sanity was my job.
This is going to sound antithetical (because it is!), but I love my job. I really do! It has taught me more than I thought was possible and to think in new exciting ways about more topics than I could ever hope to recite. I met people from across generations, cultures, industries, religions and belief systems, and became a genuinely better person because of it. I also got to help many people in a lot of ways, and I would never change that.
But in the process, I was giving away little parts of me, and I wasn’t getting them back.
And it was killing my soul.
I am, at heart, an analytical and logical creative butterfly. Contradictory much?
I crave knowledge, and challenge, and diversity, but I also need to make and create and shape things and people and ideas. This may make me sound like I have some sort of God complex, and I probably do, but being trapped in an office job was destroying me.
The thing that scared me the most was that I was good at it. Like… Really good at it.
My specialities are marketing and business, but I’m a rockstar when it comes to export, global markets & international trade, industrial social media, project management, sales and customer service.
Technically with these skills, I was bound to work an office job (albeit an exciting one with lots of travel), but it just wasn’t sitting right with me that this was my future.
I wanted more.
This all clicked in my noggin towards the end of my first holiday in over 3 years.
In June, 3 of my gorgeous girlfriends and I were in stunning Thailand for 2.5 weeks, and I completely fell in love with the country, the people, and the culture. I’ve travelled extensively in the past, but nowhere (apart from maybe Paris and Tuscany) had really clicked with me like Thailand did. It’s just such an insanely lovely place.
My travel for work was always suitcases and airport pickups and hotels, not backpacks and sweaty tuk-tuks and the threat of hostel bedbugs, so even though I bought my suitcase this trip I still was considering it my last backpacking hurrah.
Really, this was the end of my 20’s and the start of the rest of my life, and that was a pretty terrifying thought.
As we were travelling from Phuket to Krabi to Khao Sok, drinking and eating and exploring and laughing (oh so much laughing!), I became aware that I was becoming more and more myself.
The stressors from the last 7 years of working my ass off with no end in sight were starting to wash off, and I realised that the happy-go-lucky Nikita I used to be wasn’t dead; she was still there, lurking in the shadows like a regular old creepazoid.
I remember the moment this dawned on me, which still gives me the warm fuzzies thinking about it.
We were on a wooden longtail boat powered by a car engine zooming across the water from Krabi to Railay Beach. I had Big Bertha out (AKA my Canon 5D Mark III) snapping photos of Kate, Renee & Ash who were at the front of the boat enjoying the sun (and trying not to vomit), and I started thinking about how nice this moment was.
It was my no means peaceful, with the screaming of the engine behind me, but inside I was starting to feel at peace.
Each moment after that helped to solidify this feeling into something that felt oh-so-tangible, and I didn’t want to let it go.
The other thing I realised was that I wanted to share this moment with as many people as would listen. In other words, I wanted to put this on the blog; the first time in ages I’d have the positive urge to do so.
When we got to Koh Tao we were going to find a diving shop we liked the vibe of and get our open water diving tickets so we could join Renée, who already had her ticket, in some oceanic adventures.
After wandering down Sairee Beach we stopped at Sairee Cottage Diving and knew that this was the mob we wanted to get our tickets with. So we signed our lives away and started the course the next day.
From the get-go, I had a feeling I was partaking in something life-changing for me, and the penny finally dropped on my first ocean dive on our second day of training.
This. I wanted to do this.
And I wanted to do it now.
I fell so completely in love with not only scuba diving but the island and people of Koh Tao that I knew I was going back. I knew that I was going to make this work, no matter what.
I needed to, for the first time in years, think of myself. I had to be selfish.
My loosely formed plan was to come back to the island in 6 or so months and go through the required training to become a scuba diving instructor and work my current role in Australia remotely from the island.
From there, who knows! I was happy to take it one day at a time, and for the first time in my life not have my future perfectly mapped out.
Could I really do this? Could I leave my home and just run off overseas?
On the 8-hour bus ride to Bangkok I got out my trusty Moleskine notebook at started making lists. Lists of pros and cons, packing lists, lists of shit I’d have to buy, lists of stuff I’d have to sell. Hell, I even did a SWOT analysis on the idea!
Ultimately I needed to pre-empt what could stop this working out so I could come up with some solutions. The main 2 issues I realised were:
I have 3 amazing horses. Charlie is 30 and was my superstar pony club horse when I was 14, George is a 28-year-old gigantic gangly thing of a horse who I got as a paddock mate for Charlie (and they’re both happily living the good life as retired senior citizens), and Spaz (AKA Sparrow, but he’s earned the nickname Spaz!) is my 14-year-old eventer.
I love these horses as if they were my kids, and the thought of letting them go kills me. I can’t even think of selling Charlie & George because they’re so old and can’t be ridden anymore; they’d just be sold to the knackery and be made into dog food, so obviously, I have to keep them. So I have arranged that between my equine cohorts (farrier, vet & Mum!) and our horsey neighbour, they will continue living at Mum & Dad’s property and my cohorts will look after them. They’re very low maintenance horses, so there’s no stress there.
As for Spaz… He still has another good 10 years of riding left in him, and the thought of him just wasting in a paddock makes me so sad. With the right rider, he’ll be a champion, so I made the heartbreaking decision to sell him.
My job, as much as it’s about marketing, also looks after all our Australian sales and as such, I have to be based out of our head office in Melbourne.
That really threw a spanner in the works, as we couldn’t afford to replace me (yes, I’m tooting my own horn here). But out of the woodwork appeared my saviour, who helped to cover my job while I was away – my brother!
He will be taking over Australian sales which will allow me to do the rest of my role remotely from Koh Tao.
It all fit together so smoothly, that I had to take it as a sign of sorts.
My family, friends, and boyfriend were all so amazingly supportive and encouraging of the idea that although I did think they were trying to get rid of me for a sec, I was rapt with how great they had all been.
I had a look at flights and saw that to beat the Xmas rush I had to leave on November 24th.
So… I booked it.