Chris and I went into the city today on a (fruitless) shopping expedition to procure good shoes/boots for our trip, and afterwards we swung past to visit his girlfriend. She lives in St. George’s College, studying at the University of Western Australia. I’ve been to UWA a few times before, to pick my drunken sister up or to attend the Lotterywest Film Festival, and I’ve always been jealous of how much more attractive it is than my own alma mater, Curtin University. Most of Curtin’s campus is relatively modern and therefore hideous, showcasing contemporary architecture’s profane love affair with unnatural colours and sharp angles (for an example, check out the first photo in Curtin’s Wikipedia article.)

UWA, on the other hand, is nearly a hundred years old and therefore gorgeous, even with smashed windowpanes all over the place from the cataclysmic hailstorm Perth experienced last week. Chris’ girlfriend lives in a tiny room with shared bathrooms and considerable rent, but I think that would be worth it just to live in that awesome old college with heaps of other students. When I was at uni I was still living at home in the northern suburbs, driving down the freeway a few days a week to doodle in the margins of my notebook during a tutorial, and then driving home again. Sure, it was better than my current existence, where I drive ten minutes up the road every day to my unstimulating dead-end job at a supermarket, but I always felt quite disconnected from uni life.

The reason I’m thinking about all this is because, with our trip now less than one month away, I’m wondering what I want to do with my life. Going backpacking has been my only goal for about five years. Until recently I’ve dedicated very little thought to what comes next.

I do want to live abroad again. Aside from my nightmarish job, I enjoyed living on my own in Korea quite a bit, and I certainly didn’t jump through all those hoops to get Irish citizenship and then not use it. I’d love to live in Dublin or London. I get discouraged by searching for writing/copyediting/publishing positions on British and Irish jobhunting websites and instead receiving ten thousand results for SALES AND MARKETING EXECUTIVE, which seems to happen on any jobhunting site anywhere in the world.

So I’ve given thought to doing another uni course. My current degree is as useless as a priest in a brothel, and I’m only 21. The problem is I can’t think of anything I’d like to study that actually would be useful; literature and history are really the only things I have an interest in. The only other industries I’d actually want to work in are travel/tourism and government intelligence, neither of which you really go to university for. Also, both Ireland and the U.K. require foreign-born citizens to reside in the country for three years before you get a sweet government student loan that you never really have to pay back.

Maybe I overthink stuff. I have like ten years to tomfool around the world doing whatever the fuck I want. I just have a nesting instinct somewhere inside me that will eventually click in and force me to settle down… anywhere but here. If my obituary reads “Born: Perth, Western Australia” and then “Died: Perth, Western Australia,” I am going to be very upset.

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