Throughout my life, I have been very fortunate to have experiences that transformed me into the woman I am today.
For the last 5 years, I have focused my efforts on traveling to many beautiful places, fully indulging myself in their culture and beauty. I have lived, worked, and played on the opposite side of our beautiful planet.
Yet, I often find myself fighting against that lurking question in my head. Is the grass greener somewhere else?
I have wondered in the past, and occasionally in the present, too, if I am searching for a grass that does not exist.
On my strong days, I know that this is true. On my weaker days, I dream of a grass that grows with ease, that I can enjoy it with little to no effort, in every season, in the blazing sun, and the monsoon too.
In reality, anyone who has ever owned an actual lawn knows it will not flourish all of the time. It needs water, drainage, feeding, regular cutting, re-seeding, and the list goes on.
So why should my metaphorical grass be any different?
In the February of 2019, I moved from the UK with my partner to live in Queenstown, New Zealand. We held a working holiday visa that allowed us to work for one year, to enjoy our time and see how things went. We had traveled the country extensively for 6 months in 2017, and Queenstown drew us back like a moth to a flame.
We moved into a shared house with 6 other like-minded travelers, and the place quickly began to feel like home.
In the summer, we hiked to climbing crags and spent our days outdoors on the rock, pushing our limits and doing what we love. We took our little Toyota Rav 4X4 up the windy mountain road to the ski fields in the winter and glided over the fresh powder with the icy wind biting at our cheeks. We drank good coffee. We made amazing new friends. We loved where we lived. We even managed to get a decent amount of photography and filmmaking work.
We were living our dreams.
Yet, I still heard that doubt in the back of my head—the metaphorical lawn appearing in my brain, pushing out the experiences I was currently having.
Is this where we want to be long-term?
Would we be better off somewhere closer to our family?
The town is so small and the nearest city to visit is hours away. It makes me feel trapped.
I am not working a job that is leading me anywhere.
Can we get the next visa we need to stay on? Do we even want to stay?
I miss my family and friends. On the other hand, I can’t stand the thought of being asked, “So when are you getting a real job then?”
What about Australia? We have never been there. That could be fun.
Oh, and Canada is closer to home and has everything we love, plus it’s lively and has cheaper flights home. My parents would visit us more often there.
Soon enough, I had spent months of my time and effort wondering if it was right for me. Wondering if the grass is greener on the other side while ignoring the life I had right in front of me.
In the end, we didn’t stay in Queenstown any longer than our first 12-month visa. Other considerations played a part in the final decision we made as a couple to return. Yet, I do wonder if my creeping negative thoughts played their part in our final decision more than I would like to admit.
We moved back to the UK and are currently planning our next adventure. I miss that place daily, my Instagram feed full of photographs of friends still out there, soaking up the sun as I endure the winter blues of current UK life. Maybe social media is a whole stand-alone topic driving these thoughts of mine that I will address in due course. All I know for sure right now is that I wish I had worried less and enjoyed more.
I guess I am writing this as a reminder to my brain (and yours too if it needs it) that the grass is the greenest where you tend to it. To enjoy the grass between my toes, for one day, it will be different, and I will miss the specific crunch and smell of my current grass.
Brain, I will rely on you to replay the memories I shared and the conversations that were had there. So please brain, remember this grass as my own, vivid as it is now in front of my eyes.
When the storms come, as they always do, I should not wish for the other side, for on the other side of the grass is often worms and mud and rocks. No one likes those between their toes.
Brain, please remember, when there are crunchy brown patches that appear on my grass, care for them and place a blanket down for a picnic despite the flaws. When rain causes a bog, put on wellies to play in the puddles.
I do not intend to make the same mistake on my next adventure. If those questions start to creep into my thoughts, this will stand as my reminder to live in the moment.
Brain, you must remember, no grass grows without care, and the memory of many amazing lawns is better than an endless search for a false one.