”The show must go on” – 16 life lessons and thoughts on going back to Sydney

Larasstory Lara Lain Cairns

Every time I leave a place then return to it I, naturally I suppose, compare myself to the person I was last time I was there.

I guess we all to that when it’s been 1) A place that was important to you and 2) A good chunk of time in-between. Obvs this does not apply to how you may feel every weekend if you work in the week then visit family on the weekends etc etc! It needs to be a good wedge between visits to allow you to take stock of the changes you’ve experienced.


Leaving Sydney on December 19th 2018 I was a shell of a human on the runway out of there. I distinctly remember feeling traumatised at the day that was behind me. Packing and cleaning my Bondi room out was horrible, I loved that room. I also was wayyy over-packed and had to drop a load of stuff off to a friends (Thank you Sar & Tom) on route to the airport. It was all so rushed and panic-ridden.

To add insult to injury my bags were still 7kg over weight. I ended up being charged $210 on the way out of Sydney airport.

Now Sydney had always been expensive but that felt like a ”ba ba bye now, here’s a final ridic amount of money for you to spend” moment …

Then the plane got stuck on the runway for an hour and 20 mins due to a crazy storm pretty much directly above us. You could say the weather reflected the chaos of my emotions that night.


Anyways, as we know; I went to Singapore, Bali (fell in love for 2 weeks) then onto Cairns (love train stopped abruptly about 6 weeks into my Cairns life). Life continued in Cairns, albeit with a few obstacles to overcome within myself.

Since moving to Cairns I have made no secret of the fact I found it hard to adjust. I struggled with a few, quite difficult, personal issues during this time and also a physical one (that I didn’t share at all at the time) that made everything else feel harder. So while I was trying my best to be ~light on my feet~ and fit into my new job and routine, there was a lot going on behind the scenes. If I felt ok mentally, the physical one got me down again. It was a rubbish cycle that I had to fight daily.

I started to come out of this approx 3 weeks ago. When the physical issue subsided; things felt more rosy. I started to feel ”myself” more and more each day. Living in my own battle zone those 9 or so weeks prior taught me a lot. These are some of the greatest learnings to come out of the last few months;

  1. Step away from deep thinking; if you are worrying, doubtful or anxious you really must do what you can to mentally ‘step away’ from yourself. For me this meant running, going to the gym, calling my friends and family. Most of these things did not work for quite some time but I kept going (as I knew they were good for me) and eventually things started to feel ”normal” again.
  2. No matter how ‘bad’ you feel, as long as you keep going you will find time will heal you. You might not bounce back to 100% but any improvement is a good thing. Take the little wins for what they are; a big step in the right direction.
  3. Open your heart to new people, new ways of living, new experiences.
  4. Two great people I have met since being here are in their 60’s (I think, I have never asked of course but my Mum is 50 so they must be). It’s fair to say they are what is known as ‘The salt of the earth’. Spending time with older ladies (one I stayed with at first as she Air BnB’s and one is who I go horse riding with, not only gives me a wider perspective on life (true Aussie life!) but reminds me to live in the moment – you won’t catch these ladies on their phones, they are too busy getting on with tasks in hand. Their stories are so interesting! Horse riding lady has wayyyy too many about snakes – I nearly puke when she tells me about her run-ins with pythons in her garden (or car!) but I love hearing them all the same!
  5. Working in a new sector is great for daily learning – I worked briefly in Travel & Tourism while in Queenstown in 2015 and loosely (‘loose’ being the operative word because it was pure fun!;) in Thailand, also in 2015 … being here in Cairns has been a step into a new world. Travel & Tourism is a fab industry to be a part of because the majority of people are truly passionate about their jobs. I mean, who wouldn’t want to work as a Dive Instructor on the Great Barrier Reef, or a Jump Master at Australia’s ONLY Bungy Jump site, or in the jungle with the creatures of the wilds? … Work is not just a job, it’s a way of life up here. A good life, where people look forward to their days.
  6. We know this one already but it pays to remember; everyone has their own issues and battles. If you can remove yourself from your own head for a second and open up to others; see if you can do anything for them (eg. make them a cuppa, help them with something, ask them how they are, actually listen and care) you will see that your issues may not be so bad after all. See point #1; step away from yourself. In the wider scheme of life, you’re probably doing more than alright.
  7. Facing your fears is one of the hardest but best things you can do. I’ve found myself in a handful of situations that I have had to deal with head-on since I moved to Cairns. Things that I have glossed over/ laughed off all my adult life and while looking into things and thinking ”F**k I actually have to admit; I need to work on this” is a scary feeling, I know it’s worth doing. The fact that a few things have become ”Things I really do need to pay attention to” means that I need to listen to myself on them and make an effort to improve my way of living. One day I hope/ plan to look at myself and think ”You did it, you finally dealt with your own sh*t”. We are all a work in progress.
  8. Getting back to nature is one of the best things you can do. Fact. Up here in Cairns we are so lucky to have the World’s oldest rainforest, famous waterfalls, the Great Barrier Reef (which I still am yet to visit but I will soooon!;), beautiful beaches and all kinds of wildlife on our doorstep. I am so lucky to be here but firmly believe wherever you may be reading this from, you also have nature to love nearby too. Get out and explore! Get amongst it!
  9. Animals are one of the best things we can love and enjoy on this planet – for me, it’s horses in particular. Starting riding again has just been amazing. On a horse I am where I am meant to be and any of the aforementioned worries go clean out the window! … Excited to share; I have (just yesterday) agreed to take the lease of the bay I have been riding. We are moving him to a yard at the end of my road, it’s going to be great having him so close by – I can go riding before work! Look out for his transformation as I put the work into him over the coming months!
Larasstory Lara Lain horse riding Cairns

Fernando – the little bay who can be stubborn at times, it’s going to be fun getting him fit and fabulous!

10. Movement is the answer. Keeping active is a lifesaver for us all, if you don’t run you should walk. If you don’t run or walk you should try a class (yoga? pilates? boxing?) … it is so important to keep active. You never regret a workout. Use it or lose it!

11. Moving away from Sydney has given me a huge appreciation for the network of friends, both personally and professionally I made during my time there. I love forward to visiting as many people as possible and fitting in various work-related meetings where I can. If there is something going on in the marketing world I want to know about it so I can come back to Cairns fully loaded with ideas!

12. Living day-by-day is a good strategy for just about everything. Take pressure off yourself and keep your dreams in small chunks. What can you achieve today that will help push you to where you want to be in a week/ month/ year? I have been actively thinking in ”Days” rather than longer term recently and feel like everything feels easier and makes more sense. Less pressure, more doing. It really is a case of ”what can you do today that your future self will thank you for?”. Cheesy AF but a great to think!

13. Be pro-active. Cook, clean, get outside for half hour, do a clear out – keep your mind focused on ”doing” rather than ”thinking” and get some things ticked off during your days.

14. Keep learning. You can self-teach yourself more about anything that interests you. Google (and various free online courses!) are your friend if you want to broaden your skill-set.

15. Self care for the win. Man or woman; looking after yourself is paramount. What you eat, your alcohol intake, getting your hair done, enjoying a massage etc – it all counts to being your best you. If you feel rubbish recognise the feeling and set out to try and help yourself feel better. Self care will lift your spirits.

16. If you are looking for some inspiration for doing good in the world, please check my friends page;ย The Abode Project is doing wonders on an amazing life saving mission. Please donate if you can, every little helps!


This time tomorrow I will have just about landed into Sydney. I am staying with a friend on the front in Bondi! Cannot wait to get up Wednesday morning and go surfing first thing, before heading into the City for work meetings!

It’s going to be a jam-packed few days, I will do as much as I can, live in the moment as much as I can (put my phone down as much as I can!!!)ย  and return back to Cairns ready to crack into our super-busy April school holiday period and get into a routine with the horses!

Thank you for reading!

Have a great week!

@LaraLain

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