I have always been exceptionally ambitious, starting a business at 19 years old which I ran for 3 years, then establishing myself as a well-respected name in the Real Estate industry of Melbourne. I worked myself into the ground constantly to achieve this ideal of “success” which I was sure was just around the corner. By the age of 25 I was making a six-figure income and was surprisingly the most unhappy I had ever been. I had “made it” at such a young age, but both my physical and mental health was deteriorating at an alarming speed.
By January 2019 I was being treated for depression, anxiety as well as scoliosis and trying to have an undiagnosed neurological disease identified. I was working an insane number of hours each week that I was unable to keep on top of and which kept me up every night, unable to sleep through my buzzing head, even through the Valium. I was a walking talking zombie who was capable of doing nothing other than working.
In February my depression hit a new low and I decided it was time to quit my job as I was scared of what I would do if I continued at the rate I was going. I gave 4 months’ notice to find my replacements and work out what my plan was. After consistently getting bad health news, I decided that the western world of medicine had failed me and it was time to find something alternative.
I decided I would move to India, and it is by far the best decision I have made in my life. I didn’t have any plans other than having purchased a one-way ticket and booked into a yoga school, having never done yoga before in my life. I had been advised by numerous health care professionals in Australia that I was not able to do any form of physical activity due the deterioration of my body and the likelihood of my impending inability to walk on a permanent basis. This is not something I was willing to accept and had heard great things about yoga. My thought process was that it couldn’t hurt to try, and I’d be dammed if I was just going to roll over and let my body defeat me.
I found myself in a place called Rishikesh, which is at the bottom of the Himalayas and known as the holy city, but even better than that, it was the polar opposite of Melbourne. It is a vegetarian and dry town, meaning they are unable to commercially sell meat and alcohol. This was perfect for me! I was a vegan which started due to my health reasons and coming from Australia being exposed to such a heavy drinking culture at a young age, Rishikesh was like my haven. I think I will forever have a place in my heart for Rishikesh for a number of reasons.
Yoga helped me more than I ever could have imagined. It was hard jumping into a teacher training course with no experience, but I wanted to learn about anatomy and Ayurveda which is why I chose a teacher training course. It was very intense doing 6 days a week and 12-hour days but it was certainly worth it. Whilst doing yoga and living in Rishikesh I made some great connections and was invited to paint a wall at a hostel called The Art Bliss where I had made friends with the owner.
There I got to do my first mural on a wall inside their café which was so fun and exciting for me. I had been really into art and drawing when I was a child and had started to sketch again the few days I stayed at the hostel before starting my yoga course. It had always been a passion of mine, but one that had died whilst climbing the corporate ladder. From there I found other opportunities to paint through Worldpackers, an organization where you can exchange your services for free food and accommodation. This was perfect for me because I wanted to paint and was also really short on funds with no clue of how I would make money in the near future. That’s when Restless Nomad Art was born and I have been so lucky to be invited to paint at other hostels, hotels and ashrams through people seeing me painting or by seeing my murals after I leave a place, but that’s another story.
Becoming a nomad and leaving behind everything I have ever known literally saved my life. I am now free of all medication and am working on a healthier version of myself. I get to travel to wherever I want whenever I want. I can dye my hair crazy colours and get tattoos that I don’t need to cover up, I am free to express myself without the confines of society telling me what is acceptable and what isn’t. I can stay in a place if I fall in love or leave if I am not enjoying it. I have nowhere that I need to be and no one depending on me. It is such a liberating feeling to be completely free and I can’t wait to start sharing my adventures and all of the things I learn along the way.