University was wrapping up and I was applying for jobs and couldn’t find anything in my field (photography, it was and still is very hard to be in that field).
The jobs that were taking interviews, were all for call centres or customer service. While not ideal, I needed to work to pay rent and live.
Searching for jobs was either done via the job section in the newspaper or at the Centrelink office. The Internet was still fairly new, and not like it is today.
When I came across the advertisement for CCUSA, I’ll be honest and it sounded a little too good to be true. They paid you to be a counsellor in America.
With nothing to lose, I went to their information session, filled out some forms, and was approved.
Taking a job at a call centre I saved up as much money as I could for the airfare. While you got paid to be a counsellor they did not pay for your airfare over.
Days before I turned 21, I boarded a Qantas flight to Los Angelos. I arrived at LAX with some basic directions and a phone number.
Mobile phones just like the internet were one of those things that were still coming to be. I look back now and think I put a lot of faith and trust in the people around me.
Without taking a chance, I would not have had an adventure of a lifetime.
I look back on this time of my life, and yes I took some risks. I also made some dumb choices, but I grew so much in those three months.
In retrospect, there are three takeaways from my adventures
Taking the chance to go overseas, opened me to new possibilities and responsibilities. Taking the risk led to an amazing experience, that would have never had happened if I played it safe.
I also got to meet one of my pen friends in Canada, which would never have happened if I didn’t take this opportunity.
Grow and Learn
Applying to be a camp counsellor, and travelling solo to America was a massing step out of my comfort zone. Without the safety net of my parents or a familiar face, I was forced to learn and grow.
Yes, it was challenging, but also extremely rewarding. I met so many amazing people along the way, some of who I am still friends with today.
The biggest takeaway was developing a great sense of self-confidence.
Make life more exciting
If you never take any risks, then life can become boring and predictable.
When we take chances, we add excitement and adventure to our lives. It can not only make you feel more alive, but more engage in the world.
Of course, taking risks also comes with the possibility of failure. But even if you fail, you will still learn something from the experience. And who knows, you might just succeed beyond your wildest dreams.
Here are some tips for taking risks in a healthy way:
- Do your research. Before you take any big risks, make sure you do your research and understand the potential consequences.
- Set realistic goals. Don’t try to take on too much too soon. Start with small risks and gradually work your way up to bigger ones.
- Be prepared to fail. Failure is a part of life. If you fail, don’t give up. Learn from your mistakes and try again.
- Have a positive attitude. A positive attitude can go a long way when you’re taking risks. Believe in yourself and your ability to succeed.
What was the biggest risk in your life?
When was the last time you took a chance?