Right now, I’m sitting in my living room. It’s about 100 degrees fahrenheit, and the sun is shining bright though my westward facing window. I’m sipping on a cold glass of water and just had to change seats to avoid a neck sunburn. As I'm sitting here on this hot summer afternoon I can’t help but reminisce on this past month’s adventures in Australia and the past year it took to get here. I can't imagine life any different and I'm happy to be here.
In March of 2017, I decided to go to Hillsong College. I previously took a trip to Europe and it changed my life. After that trip, I knew that I wanted to make international travel a priority. I knew getting training or schooling is important to establish a good foundation for the rest of my life. So, Hillsong seemed like an obvious choice, being it’s in Australia and would teach me what I need to know for a future career. I spent the next 9 months working harder than I ever have in my life (sometimes more than 70 hours a week) to pay for school, accommodation and living expenses.
Moving, especially across the world, is challenging and can take an emotional toll. I had friends and knew so many people that had moved in the past were just “so sure” that they were making the right choice with their life, but, if I’m being honest, I never was 100% sure that doing this was the right choice for the next chapter of my life. I had so many opportunities musically in Dallas and had a strong community of great people I could rely on. I couldn’t imagine not being present to see my younger brother grow up or going to go without getting brunch with my mom for a few years. I probably drove my friends and family insane over the hundreds of conversations where I teeter tottered around whether or not I was going to Hillsong. But after reassessing the options, I would always land back on Hillsong. Even then, part of me thought life was going to throw a huge curveball at me, even up until I was walking through security in the airport. Some people will never understand that, but if you know me, you know that I’m never “too sure” about anything; sometimes to a fault.
I’m saying this to show that it’s ok to not completely know what you want to do with life. Someone might look at my life and see all that’s happening and think that I have it going on and I know exactly where I’m going. It would be easy to assume that I know what I’m doing but the truth is I spent 9 months debating and doubting I was even supposed to come here. I had no clue, and even when I decided to come to Hillsong, I still doubted that I was supposed to be going. All that being said, it’s also important to not get stuck in life and maybe, after wise evaluating, you just have to “jump” and trust that you’re making the right choice.
I got to the airport in Dallas on January 13th. I said a bittersweet goodbye to my family and went on my way. The instant I walked through security, I had a peace about my decision and felt empowered to take on this adventure. I had said my goodbyes, there were no more little chores to get done, everything was ready. Looking back now, I couldn’t imagine my life being any different.
I arrived in Australia on the 15th of January. I spent the first two days meeting my housemates and getting my life set up (bank, furniture, etc.). I now live in a house with 5 other guys, about a 15 minute walk from the school. My housemates are from India, Mexico and two are from Dallas. My roommate is from England and says “mental” and “liTerally” (emphasis on the “t”) a lot
My third day here, I was bummed that I hadn’t done anything “cool” in the greater Sydney area and was missing the ease of hanging with my close friends. I walked to the school to give making new friends a go. I met a tall ginger boy named Carson and mentioned that I really wanted to go to the beach because I’ve just done logistical stuff so far. Turns out, he was going to the beach with a large group of people and he asked me to join them. I spontaneously said yes and we were off. This was one of my first times using public transportation which was exciting for somebody who’s had a car since I got my license. There was a big spirit of inclusivity and spontaneouty that I was so thankful for.
The next day, I was hanging out with Bennett and Elliot Coleman (mates from back home). At 7pm, we decided to take a spontaneous trip to the beach. We stopped at a petrol (gas) station to grab some frocos before our hour drive. (Froco is short for frozen coke, which is basically just a coke slurpee. They’re very popular here and sold at McDonalds and most gas stations. The best part is, they’re only $1 for a large.) We drove through the hills at dusk and vibed out to Lorde’s first album. It was one of those moments that made you feel like you were staring in an indie flick.
The following few weeks consisted of many more spontaneous beach trips, a few city trips, a blue mountain trip, a young adults retreat on an island off the coast of Sydney, orientation, enrollment and two weeks of school.
My second week here, Hillsong Church's Young Adult Ministry called "Powerhouse" had a retreat on an island off of the coast of Sydney called Cockatoo Island. The retreat, called "Summerfest" was 3 days and I glamped on the island both nights. They renovated a huge, industrial warehouse into a full production auditorium with lights, soundsystem and screens.
We decided to go to the beach after three full days and two nights of sleeping on hard ground in a tent. After the hour drive, I dipped my feet in and we left after 10 minutes due to exhaustion.
Half way through my third week here, I had orientation and classes started. One thing that's great about the school is it's 1 - 2 hours from the beach, the city and the mountains, so I still managed to do some really neat things even though we had classes. I explored a glowworm cave in an old railroad tunnel, took a city trip, went to an art exhibit by a former college student in Sydney and took a day trip to the mountains (not pictured).
I don’t know what the rest of this year holds but I’m confident that this month has been one of the best for me. I’ve made so many great friends, and grown close to existing ones. I've been on so many crazy and fun adventures that I never would’ve experienced if I never took the jump to be here.