This is a guest submission by Liv from

How an English girl who grew up nowhere near the sea (and a cold sea at that) fell so madly in love with it and became a dive instructor confuses some people.

I first discovered the sea whilst snorkeling as a child. During most family holidays I was just a snorkel and a splash on the horizon. But after my very first dive, there was no looking back.

Before long I become an instructor. I loved being by the sea, on the sea, and now under the sea. I called Turkey, Kenya, Egypt, Barbados and The Bahamas home.

This was the life for me.

After a few years of living all over the world and having ignored the building pressure from my family, I decided to go to university. All my friends had been and even my younger brother had been. Comparing myself to my family and friends, it suddenly came upon me that if I didn’t go, I was the minority who hadn’t been.

It took me a long time to make the decision to return to the UK, and more significantly, to commit to remaining there for four years. The city lifestyle really didn’t appeal to me but the many varied debates that come with studying law did. I don’t regret my decision.

While I studied I also worked (yes that’s right, I’m nuts!). I took my courses at night after working all day. So there I was in London, heading to work each day with all the angry commuters, working a 9-5 office job, studying in the evenings and then returning home late and exhausted. Remind me, why was I doing this again?

Continuing To Exist

Initially I enjoyed being in London, the ready availability of everything 24/7, the daily freakshows (you’d be amazed what you see on the streets of London) and the fact that there was always something going on.

I also thrived on London being a crossroads for travelers and while there I caught up with lots of friends who live elsewhere and whom I almost never see.

But as the years passed by, grey and cold London, working in an office, seeing the same grumpy faces every day and the expense and daily trauma of commuting, ground me down.

When I graduated, my only commitment to London was gone but I now had financial pressure that I had never felt before. I had a mortgage now and a stable job.

How was I going to get away with giving up my job? I was thinking hard, scheming, and plotting my way out of the city.

Breaking Point

In the midst of all this, my father was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. I suddenly had the only reason I could ever need to stay. As a family we went through the most painful and emotionally draining few months of my life.

We lost Dad and with him, I lost my only real reason to stay.

I was so miserable at this point that I knew I had to do something; I had to make a change. I decided then that I didn’t want to simply continue to exist.

I wanted to live.

Friends were supportive, but questioned if I would earn enough if I returned to diving. Renting out my property in London would cover the mortgage and living almost anywhere else meant my expenses would be reduced enormously.

The financial aspect of a move also needed careful consideration and would be challenging, but I wasn’t going to let it stop me.

When the news broke that I was moving to pursue my love of diving, many of my friends were jealous and a few encouraged me to move someplace worth visiting. Clearly with intentions of planning a good holiday!

The Escape

My boyfriend and I have now moved to his native Australia. We are unemployed and homeless, but we are woken by warm sunshine each morning instead of alarms.

I wake up each morning with passion, instead of clinging to my bed like so may do. Lorikeets squawk through breakfast and the beach is glorious and only five minutes away.

We are confident of finding work soon and we have a bit of money saved, so if it doesn’t come very quickly, so be it. Moving to the other side of the world wasn’t easy. My last month in the UK was extremely stressful in fact. But now?

Now, I am the happiest I have been in a long time…and it can only get better.

It takes courage to leave what you know. It takes strength to go somewhere you don’t have friends or family to support you. If you dream of a different life though, don’t whine or moan about your situation.

Make a change. Make it happen. Do it.

Be the reason people like you are jealous.

Liv has been exploring the world independently since she was 17. She became a diving instructor whilst still a teenager. She has lived and worked on islands, yachts and mountains, in villages and cities and worked her way around the world, earning her crust mostly as a diving instructor and shark photographer.

Liv documents her travel experiences and many misadventures on her site. You can also follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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