It’s been interesting being back in London, where Tyrhone and I met six and a half years ago. In 2005 I accepted a basing in London with the airline I worked for. Tyrhone, originally from South Africa, had been living and working in London for about eight years by the time we met at the Reading Music festival in 2006.
Us at 25, young, naive and skinny….
Being here has brought back a lot of memories, mostly good, though I cringe at some of them; me at 25, set loose in a world of travel, parties, festivals and horrific hangovers, squeezing in an almost full-time job as a flight attendant and the requisite jet-lag inducing, long-haul flights to Singapore, Bangkok and Hong Kong.
My group of friends were predominantly Australian, mostly transplants from my hometown, and all living the right-of-passage, working holiday (a case of work-not-very-hard and play harder). We travelled fast – weekends in Paris and Prague; snowboarding in Austria and Switzerland; jaunts to Spain and Italy – and we partied hard, especially at the various festivals and concerts we saved our meager wages to attend.
Tyrhone hadn’t done a lot of travelling for fun; at seventeen he moved to Scotland to work in a fish factory, attempting to save enough money to help his Mum and sister emigrate to the UK. Afterwards he moved to London to make his millions as a personal trainer, then a movie props maker (his artistic creations appear in the Mummy Returns!), then as a night-security guard at the London Stock Exchange.
Our first trip abroad together was to Hungary, of all places. Our friend Marty was there exploring his heritage and we thought we’d crash the free accommodation he had at a relative’s vacant home (the great friends that we were).
After Tyrhone received his British passport we were off and running, adding Morocco, Egypt, Greece and Turkey to our repertoire of countries visited.
Delphi, Greece, 2007. Don’t ask…
Two years after we met, my contract in London was up. He boarded a plane to Australia with me to live in a country he’d never visited before.
In Perth we acquired a second mortgage in addition to the one I already had. Tyrhone earned his stripes at his first graphic design job (he taught himself Photoshop during the long night shifts at the Stock Exchange), and I settled into domestic flights with the same airline I had worked for since I was 20 years old. We put our energy into planning a few great holidays to Nepal and India, in between work and weekend trips to Ikea.
It wasn’t contentment that led us to travel the world, homeless and essentially jobless whilst attempting to eke out a living from our creative pursuits. We reached a point where we knew the house(s), cars, jobs and flat-pack furniture just weren’t going to cut it. They weren’t making us happy and we knew they never would. We wanted to create a life that was uniquely ours.
When we announced our plan to sell everything and travel the world indefinitely, well-meaning friends told us it would “make us or break us.”
And they were right, but they didn’t know a little secret, we were already broken. We were a pair of misfits who met in a foreign land, each with more baggage than a luggage carousel at LAX and we weren’t going to make it living the life we thought we should.
It’s been 360 days since we boarded a plane to Phnom Penh with the excitement of starting our journey to the unknown. We’re back in London where it all began, visiting Tyrhone’s Mum and sister. It’s the first time they’ve been together in three years, and it’s been great seeing them again.
London is the same, but we are different. We’re better than we were on so many levels, individually and as a couple, enjoying our work and the small amount of income it brings in because it’s from something we created; its value measured in ‘months on the road’ rather than bills that need paying.
It’s been the most amazing year.
Challenging, confronting, scary, joyful, exhilarating, creative and fulfilling. The way life is meant to be, for us, and I’m so excited to embark on year number two.
And if you would like a website designed for a blog or business (that’s almost as pretty as mine!), take a look at Tyrhone’s graphic design site, Eye Pudding.