At the tender age of 17 I had the sudden inspiration to live and study in Germany for one year. I had taken German as a subject school and through this avenue an opportunity presented itself to postpone my completion of high school for 12 months and embark upon a European adventure. My father was kind enough to fund this year away and so the languid torpor of my summer holiday routine was rudely interrupted one morning with the realisation that I had only hours in which to distil the pandemonium of my bedroom into one oversized suitcase. Not long after I found myself at the airport leaving behind a small cluster of friends and family (some teary eyed, some probably relieved) as the automated closure of the foreboding steel immigration gates severed my link to the sheltered existence I had known thus far.
An emotional roller coaster ride ensued. A lack of diligence on my behalf had left the identity of my host family a relative unknown. And so, for 24 hours, I existed in a limbo of airline food and a mind filled with too many thoughts. Romantic images of my friends celebrating their 18th birthdays without me stirred pangs of sentimental attachment, and, apart from a brief bird’s eye view of the almighty Uluru, my surrounds provided nothing inspiring or alluring to which I could turn my attention. The destination on my ticket was Hannover, Germany, but everything else remained an unsettling void of the unknown.