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  • Writer's pictureValeria

"Once upon a visa..."

Updated: Jul 22, 2023

...and a one-way ticket to Australia.

It all started with a lunch I had with some family friends. We had a chat about Australia and that was my trigger: I needed to know whether and how, as quickly as possible.

That same afternoon, with post-lunch-drowsiness and too much wine in my body, I worked on it. At dinner time I already knew I could and would have done it soon. I gave myself time to process and realize.

My job had become an empty box and office life was killing my energy. The job I studied all my life for, the job I fought all my life for. Just a waste of time? Nah, I've never felt that way but I was sure I didn't want to start.

It took me one week to obtain my Working Holiday Visa and, on the 30th June 2022, I bought a one-way ticket to Melbourne, the city I chose as the starting point of my new life (yes, I did a pro-cons list and feel no shame for it). My departure was set for the 14th of October.

"Te podevi ndare 'n fià p'in là!" ("You could have gone a little further!", in Veneto dialect) this is the first quote my family spoke at my decision to spend one year in Australia. In the following months, reactions have been controversial: sadness, happiness, concern, anxiety.

On my side, I was insanely relaxed: I wasn't worried or scared at all, I mean...I hadn't realize yet!

To be honest, I never started to realize at all: it wasn't a "little-by-little" but more a "all-of-a-sudden" thing.

22 hours of journey, 18 of which on a plane and the rest at Dubai Airport, I realized what the hell I was doing once my plane landed in Melbourne. I took all my stuff and, waiting to get off the plane, I noticed two Italian girls. I didn't know or speak to them but I like to imagine they went back to Italy to see family and friends and now were back to Australia for their second year. I thought of myself in the same situation and had a sinking heart.

Once got off the plane and waited my backpack for an immeasurable time, I finally ended up in the main lobby.

Behind me the big well-lit "Melbourne" word. I turned and make a quick video for Instagram but it sucked because I was shaking. You couldn't even see it all.

I turned again and started scanning where I was. Here we go: A-N-X-I-E-T-Y.

I breathed, stopped, lifted my eyes up.

“I made it. I am in Australia".

It’s midnight, I leave the airport and look how to reach my hostel in St Kilda. In front of me a red bus: Skybus.

“It should be the one, indeed it’s called Skybus”.

I asked for information with my exhausted-traveller English and hopped on my last transport (maybe). I had half an hour of thinking-non-thinking, not even brave enough to sit in the front, I chose the last row (back to high school trip).

My stream of consciousness stopped once arrived at Melbourne station and found out trams where no longer running.

“Fuck me”.

I grabbed a taxi and had a chat with the driver: thousands of questions and…a job offer. Still on my way and I already found a job.

I reached my hostel at 1am and had a little chat with a British girl at the reception, waiting for someone to check us in. She got there at my same time. I got my room and my keys and there we go with bitter discovery number 2: my bed’s linen hasn’t been changed.

“What a start”.

“Ok, I fucked up”.

Once fixed it all, all I could think was “shower” and “sleep”. Fresh and clean, I finally lie in my bed. It’s so comfortable and nobody’s snoring in the room.

It’s the 17th of October, 1.58am.

“Hey, it’s not that bad”.

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