Bye bye, i’m off…
After graduation to Australia, New Zealand or the USA: A year abroad is no longer a rarity today. In a survey, nearly 25 percent of the approximately 2,000 participants stated that they wanted to go abroad for a longer stay after leaving school. 1 While the option is mainly for young people, the numbers for adults are much lower. Why a year abroad with the end of the twenties but really fun, explains our sales representative Tobias in an interview.
Interview with Tobias Sandek
The 10 most important questions about the year abroad as a late twenties
- Hello Tobias. Thank you for taking the time to tell us all about your trip a year ago. First of all, we should start with the basics: Where were you? How long have you been there and with whom?
I am happy about the honor of receiving a full post (laughs). Primarily I was traveling in Oceania. I spent ten months in Australia, one month in Hawaii and two months in Indonesia – in Bali & Lombok. Then I was in Vietnam for a week and a week in Cambodia. On the trip, an old friend accompanied me, who is now my best buddy.
- How did you even get the idea to go away for a year? And how old were you at the time of your decision?
Actually, I was quite happy with my life before the trip. I had a good job, my private life was nothing to worry about but a few everyday trifles, and I had enough time to pursue my hobby of music. Nevertheless, with my then 29 years, I slowly began to wonder if that had already been everything. Whether it would just continue this way until my pension. In addition, I always wanted to give my second passion, surfing, more space – preferably on the red continent. Since the “Work & Travel” visa in Australia can only be applied for until the age of 30, I had to become very clear about what I really want. And how do you say in Germany… In the end, people only regret the things that they did not do.
- And how did your environment react to the rather unusual (at least in your age) decision?
I was a little scared of telling my family and friends that, metaphorically speaking, I now want to leave the safe haven and find myself on a rough and unpredictable sea. But surprisingly, my environment reacted absolutely positive to my decision. Even my mother, who has always seen my consistent pursuit of the “red career thread” as pretty important, fully supported me. The support of my closest circle now made it infinitely easier for me to plan the trip and to go through with it in the end.
- How can we imagine the preparations? How long did the planning process take? What did you have to pay attention to?
All in all, we planned the trip for nearly six months, but there were always some breaks in between. Strictly speaking, there are only a few really important things that need to be considered in advance. A foreign health insurance, the usual vaccinations (at least for Asia), a plane ticket and a small financial buffer. In Australia, for example, 5,000 Australian dollars must be proven on entry. But don’t worry – not in cash, only in the bank account (laughs). In Germany, however, there is still a bit of bureaucratic effort you need to get over with. You should, for example, tell the employment agency of his plans, on the other hand, there could be real trouble with the state, as soon as you have returned to Germany. In addition, you should take care of a pause in your cell phone contract as well as the termination of the apartment. These are topics that many like to postpone.
- Did you have a hard time leaving everything behind? What did you think about when you departed?
By the time I had booked the plane ticket and canceled my apartment in Dresden, it became clear to me that things were getting serious now. In hindsight, it was definitely one of the hardest steps in my life. Leaving behind the familiar that we humans generally love so much was a much bigger challenge than I initially thought. Today I can say that it was worth it a hundred percent. When the plane started only the welfare of my buddy went through my head. He had a rather strong fear of flying. Therefore, it’s probably not the best idea to take a 25-hour flight to the other end of the world when being afraid of flying. But this has paid off in hindsight – and he can now get into a plane without fear.
❞ After the landing in Sydney the whole year felt like an oblique but unforgettable dream. ❝
- What were the first weeks and months? Did you have difficulties to settle in?
After the landing in Sydney the whole year felt like an oblique but unforgettable dream. We were warmly welcomed by the Australians and fortunately we were able to settle in very quickly. Only the search for a job caused frustration in the beginning. But who really wants a job in Australia and is still flexible, will certainly get a job someday. You should just stay on the ball and not let it get you down.
- After all, there were moments that you remember most, right?. Can you tell us about one?
There are so many incredible moments that I could tell you about. As mentioned earlier, the whole trip felt like a dream. But if I had to decide for something, then it is probably the general feeling to have found more to myself in one year than in my entire life before. I am still very proud to have overcome my inner fears and not have to regret it.
- So, would you do the same thing retroactively?
I definitely would do it the same way again. Of course we also made decisions that cost us time and money afterwards. For example, when buying a car without the Roadworthy (the Australian counterpart to the TÜV). Or wrong parking. That also has complained us the one or other additional costs (laughs). But at the end of the day you’ll learn from such mistakes – and try to avoid them in the future.
- What can you tell people who have had such a journey in their heads for a long time, but do not dare?
There will be many stones that you’ll put in your own way. As I said, we humans love our routines and habits. It will always take a while for you to get to the point of really knowing what you want. But no matter how chaotic a journey may be, traveling will expand your horizons anyway. Because every experience you make and every decision you make will bring you a bit closer to the person you might want to be in the future.
- Why should people do such a trip rather in adulthood than just after graduation?
I think everyone should sooner or later worry about if he or she needs a change of scenery from time to time. Whether as a teenager or in the late twenties – In my opinion, challenges and travel to foreign places are the most important step in achieving a basic level of life satisfaction. Of course I also could have taken a lot from a trip like mine for my later life at the beginning of my twenties. Nevertheless, I believe that I could better understand such an experience with age and classify it for myself. Since I didn’t just come fresh from school, I knew at least a little bit what to expect from life – and what not. It also helped me to see many things that had driven me to despair ten years ago more relaxed. This is a learning process that just comes with the years. Incidentally, there is no age limit towards the top: My mother, for example, only dared to take this step at the age of 50 and has been living happily in South Africa for over ten years now. She didn’t find it easy at the beginning to break off all tents as well, but she would never regret her decision.
Thank you for the honest interview, Tobias.
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