Failing Forward

with Daniel Cassadio

Chapter 16 - Dirty Old Elizabeth

PrologueDaniel Casadio1 Comment

On my Etihad flight, above the clouds with a beautiful vibrant sky of blue and gold. 

I wrote this blog: 

Touch down. Home.

What does one do after returning home after 10 months of travel? Gets picked up by his best friend, meets up with another best friend and goes on a camping trip down the beautiful coast of Western Australia.

It was a fun thought being home and only a handful of people actually knew I was home. After a couple of days of getting no fish, catching up with my boys and versing a random church youth group in football. It was time to come home. Home, home.

I walked down my street and nervous as anything. Ma and Pa had no idea I was coming back. I walked in and surprised Pa, had a coffee and chatted. Ma then drove through our driveway, I ran and hid in the toilets and Pa told Ma that he’s just got a mate over for a coffee. As I waited anxiously in the toilets waiting for the right moment to come out and surprise Ma; I had an odd thought. I had done my ‘business’ in this toilet all my life, and being there now, felt weird. Felt off, not exactly right. Even though it’s just a toilet, it didn’t really feel like I had spent any time here at all. Looking back; I guess I can’t adapt to being back home straight away but this feeling I had was quite unsettling, did I make the right choice coming back?

My thoughts were quickly interrupted as I found the perfect moment to come out and surprise Ma. For a beautiful lady who always had something to say who would often go on 10-minute-long lectures/monologues; she was speechless. Her jaw was wide open, looking like how often pose for photos.

We chatted and chatted and I felt horrible for dropping in and completely throwing their routine completely off. I mean who was I to just come back and expect food, shelter, get my washing done and get my car again. But my parents are absolute champions and did above and beyond to help me settle back home. To this day, I’m still so appreciative of how warm my parents were with handling the spontaneous event.

Then I was thrilled to find out how easy it was to pick up right where I left off with so many of my friends. To some, 10 months isn’t a long time, but whether it was at pubs, friends’ houses, cafes or camping trips; the in-depth, intimate and vulnerable chats started up again. With some of my friends, we were on very different pages, different outlooks and as time had passed; it wasn’t the same anymore. And that’s fine, that’s life.

I still remember my first night being home, after talking life with Ma and Pa. I walked outside into the night and hopped into Elizabeth for the first time in a while. Elizabeth was my dark green Hyundai Sonata 1998, who didn’t have a beautiful appearance but had a lot of character and had taken me on some crazy adventures. She helped my best friend and I escape the mountain where lightning hit three meters away from where we were attempting to sleep. She somehow ran as fast 160 km/h with her heart rattling like crazy – I thought I broke her.

Despite all this, when I first hoped in; my heart sank. Whenever I was working and not travelling, I was always trying to prolong her life. Regular visits to the mechanic, always going to service stations and pumping up the dodgy tires, always having nervous thoughts when I go onto the highway and the music isn’t loud enough to block out the odd sounds she would make. And just before I left 10 months ago, I was relieved when my last work shift had finished because my car had made it. After all the jokes and doubt from my boys, driving around my clients and road trips she embarked on; she had fulfilled her duty. Somehow.
In my absence, Pa drove her around and she was doing okay; a few spits here and there. But the idea of coming back and going through all this again… killed me. I didn’t want the same thoughts of not knowing whether or not my car breaking down and if it’s at a time with a client... it would be a mess!

At the end of the day, I had a car. Not a whole lot of people in this world do have one, stop being a spoilt brat Daniel. Bite the bullet and enjoy maximising this beautiful strong and independent lady’s life! And that I did. I returned to my job as a support worker with disabilities and mental illness; constantly driving my clients around and catching up with friends.

In the past few months of being back, there were times where I really didn’t know. Didn’t know what I was doing, sometimes I felt I didn’t fit in and I longed to hop onto a plane again. But I have already learnt the lesson, that the whole aspect of ‘Future Paradise’ is a dangerous game. Thinking I would be happy once I get on a plane again. Thinking I would be happy once I found a significant other or when I finished school, thinking I would be happy once I received a promotion or went on that holiday. I believe that those thoughts are dangerous and very misleading because your problems and your inner self issues follow you. Looking to the future won’t fix you, regardless of any situation, put things in place now. Do what you can now to be happy; nothing good comes out of waiting for the right moment or simply just being lazy and procrastinating.

Regardless of some social differences, my Elizabeth almost dying on me, having limited money and other personal obstacles being in the way of being home. I am incredibly grateful for whooping my boys’ ass in FIFA, somehow winning a SOLO game of Fortnite, lots of coffee catch ups, found work doing what I love for a brief stint of time, my parents having me back so easily and being there as a rock and receiving support from my friends and family in wanting to pursue a creative passion project. Lastly, I am very grateful for my very dirty old Elizabeth who may die at any point but didn’t.

And now silly billy over here is on a plane. Headed back to Europe.

With more ambitious travel goals and a fraction of the money I had last time.


Take off.