Failing Forward

with Daniel Cassadio

Prologue – Chapter 3: The Spark  

Raegan ZacherComment

I wrote this blog:

Partly In a McDonald’s right in the middle of Paris, so I could use their free Wi-Fi.
Partly on a metro train to get to my couch surfers house.   

I grew up in a small town in the South Western corner of Australia, named Bunbury.  It isn’t a very big city but I had a great up bringing, and for some unknown reason that wasn’t enough for me. Although Bunbury had lots of job opportunities, a great university and I had a great community of friends. I wasn’t content. And people would often say; ‘you’re 18, you’re so young! I wish I was your age again, so I could do all the things that I can’t do now.’
Whenever an adult told me this, it always had me thinking; yes in life we have lots of regrets but in the end I would love to look back on my life and just be happy at what I’ve accomplished and what I’ve experienced. 

So I decided the answer for myself to accomplish life and to experience all there is to offer in the world. And my answer was to travel. Travel the world, experience different cultures, learn new languages, eat different foods and to make long-term friends all over the world. 

My parents, my sister and I lived in Italy for two years as missionaries when I was 10 years old, and I think being in a completely new culture and learning everything there is to know about that country made life so much more rewarding.
So when I came back from Italy I was 12 years old, I lived my life and completed high school as a normal teenager in Bunbury would.
But knowing that I had two passports from Australia and Italy, I wanted to take advantage of not having to apply for visas in Europe and also take advantage of my 18-year-old self.      

So on April 17th, 2016 I hopped on a one-way flight to Paris, where my travelling adventure would start. Leading up to April 17th, I did research into WWOOFING, Couch Surfing and Work Away. All of these websites give you contact details of people who are willing to give you free accommodation and sometimes free food in exchange for your time. To repay them for their act of kindness, you can help around their house, their farm or even just give them insight into your homeland. 

I think these websites are great because it enables you to have such a great personal experience with the people. 

And before April 17th, it was quite hard for me because not many people agreed/understand to what I’m doing. They didn’t like/know the idea of travelling the world and staying with the locals and travelling cheap. Lots of people said I would wind up back home within weeks, if not I would be homeless or dead. I would laugh at them and act confident, but really the closer the days came to April 17th, the more scared I became. 

I even had a ‘friend’, try to get me a job in Bunbury and I would ask him, ‘why are you doing this?’ and he replied; ‘I’m trying to give you a purpose in life, because right now you have nothing going for you’.
And for me that really hit rock bottom, and then I was thinking is this really what I wanted to do? What is my purpose? Am I wasting my life? 

So for a school assignment, we were asked to do a speech about our career; what is our ideal job, how we are going to get to our ideal job, how much money do we earn, etc. Other students did their occupations on being a mechanic; nurse, carpenter, plumbing, electrician and I did wandering. 

Obviously it took a little explaining and negotiating with my teacher because he didn’t see how it would work and if I did I would get horrible marks.

But I decided to do it, and I was scared at the beginning because some of the very students who said ‘you have nothing going for you in life’, were in that class room about to listen. 

Once I started the speech I was shaky and a little nervous, but the more I talked, the more passionate I became. I finished off with some inspirational lines and in the end I received an A+. 

And it wasn’t my speech’s mark that made me happy, is that I became more passionate than ever about travelling because I made a stand to what I love and what I’m going to do. 

You can’t have a fire without a spark.