Landing in a foreign country as migrants is a peculiar feeling with a strange mix of emotions. The happy-nervous, scared-excited, hopeful-nostalgic feelings came to us in waves from the moment the aircraft lifted off at Mumbai. We had a one-way ticket to a foreign land and were sailing into uncharted territory – only time would tell if we had made the right move!
My name is Jason. I’m an Indian Australian based in the remote mining town of Port Hedland in Western Australia. I work full time in the port industry, and the rest of my time is spent chasing butterflies and scaling make-believe mountains with my two rambunctious kids. My wife is a stay-at-home mum, and between us, we live a fairly busy, yet pleasurable life, managing our household and raising our kids.
I paint this picture to show you my daily life. Not much different from any average bloke, I’d imagine. And yet, despite all this busyness, I dared to pursue a passion that lay buried inside of me for over two decades – to write and self-publish a book.
I had a great story in mind relating to the time my wife, Ambika, and I backpacked around Australia when we arrived as migrants. But that was the sum total of the book’s ‘concept’. The ‘how to’ question took me a very long time to answer – how to start? how to edit? how to proofread? how to publish? The task seemed daunting and I gave up umpteen times before I even started.
About two years ago, I managed to convince myself that if not for anyone else, I’d write this story for my kids; our travel story and the book would be their legacy. This was the start of ‘Red Earth Diaries’.
After years of dogged pursuit and relentless efforts, ‘Red Earth Diaries’ is no longer a dream but a living reality – I released the book on 8 July of this year.
Here’s some backstory:
I want to take you to the moment when we first arrived in Australia.
Landing in a foreign country as migrants is a peculiar feeling with a strange mix of emotions. The happy-nervous, scared-excited, hopeful-nostalgic feelings came in waves from the moment the aircraft lifted off at Mumbai. We had a one-way ticket to a foreign land and were sailing into uncharted territory – only time would tell if we had made the right move!
Ambika and I took comfort in each other. Having recently married, we were still basking in the afterglow of budding love and friendship – this was going to be a great adventure and we managed to convince ourselves that if things didn’t work out, we could always return to India and start all over again.
With so much at stake, with no job prospects or any backup plans, you’d think that we’d have been in an absolute rush to settle down like any average migrant, wouldn’t you?
But this was not for us.
Our minds were set on doing something bold and adventurous at the most crucial juncture of our migration. Instead of taking the well-trodden path, we chose to backpack extensively around Australia as soon as we arrived, and to explore the country which would become home. We wanted to learn about Australia, its people and its culture; but for the larger part, we wanted to satiate our travel cravings.
We knew that if we delayed our travel plans until after we settled, the chance would never come, and the dream of travelling extensively would remain just that … a dream and an aching desire. We were in a position of zero responsibility in our lives: no jobs, no kids, no mortgages, and no real commitments to weigh us down.
We set ourselves a well-defined goal: two months of travel or travel until the budget was gone. We’d cease the trip as soon as we reached either of these milestones.
Some may say we were foolish to embark on a backpacking trip with so much uncertainty in our lives. But Ambika and I knew in our hearts that it was now or never and if we didn’t, we’d regret it. Lewis Carroll sums up our feelings in this quote:
“In the end… We only regret the chances we didn’t take, the relationships we were afraid to have, and the decisions we waited too long to make.”
We dumped our apprehensions, donned our backpacks, and embarked on the trip of a lifetime.
It was time to free fall.
ABOUT JASON REBELLO
Jason was born in Mumbai, India and went to sea at the early age of seventeen.
He spent many years sailing across the world on modern ocean liners, eventually rising to the rank of a ship’s Captain. His sea career was interspaced with a healthy dose of backpacking and intrepid travels and as a result, he was firmly hooked on a life of adventure and uncommon living.
His travel blog, The Evolving Backpacker, was born out of his passion for travel. He has also written several self-help books under the ‘Migrant Ninja’ series.
Jason along with his wife and two children are now settled in Australia.
ABOUT RED EARTH DIARIES
A one-way ticket to Australia…two months of travel…and a shoestring budget.
In Red Earth Diaries, we meet Jason and Ambika, a newlywed couple who migrated to Australia with the hope of a fresh start. However, unlike most migrants, they made a bold decision to postpone their settlement plans, throw caution to the wind and backpack in Australia on a shoestring budget.
Their intention was to learn about the country and its people first-hand … a land they would someday call home.
Swimming with sharks, cuddling cute koalas, chartering private helicopters, venturing deep into ancient rainforests, and getting to know plenty of locals – the couple had incredible experiences in this stunning country.
Their travel story is interwoven with snippets of history, and provides the reader with a glimpse of Australia as viewed through the eyes of newly arrived migrants.
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