My youngest son has just taken a trip to London on a one-way ticket. It’s a brave move and even though he only intends to be away from Australia for a year, I recall leaving the UK for Zimbabwe with a similar intention 30 years ago. I’m still to make my way back for anything more than a holiday.
Once you step out into life, there is no telling where it will take you. This is a challenging realisation for a parent. When your son exists the departure lounge the mixed feelings of pride and loss are excruciating.
Through the wonders of Whatsapp we heard from the intrepid traveller a few days into his sojourn. His most acute initial observation was that if a beer is over five quid a pint and most casual work pays less than a tenner an hour, London is expensive.
Indeed it is, although by the beer and minimum wage metrics, probably no more so than Sydney. It’s just that on your own in a new country such sums take on a whole new meaning.
Already his initial plan, which was to find casual work after first having a look around, is fast-tracked. Some of the looking will have to wait. Apparently, a Scottish cousin might have some work in Wales.
And there it is. Life is already taking him in new directions after just a few days. It really does make you smile.
My own journey from a childhood in London to the quaintness of Norwich via Zimbabwe, Botswana, and suburban Sydney to my longest residency the Blue Mountains of NSW makes me smile too. It wasn’t planned especially. It had ambition at times, frustrations aplenty, and a vague logic that joins up the thread, yet really it was just a willingness to let the universe decide.
It is worth doing that I think. Be courageous enough to by the one-way ticket, then, all you need is the belief in what the world can offer.
As for the lad, nothing doing in Wales yet but a bedsit and barista work in Shoreditch, that is, apparently, a really happening place.