If you are following ‘The Barcaldine Diary’ series from the very beginning, you know how much I like this adorable town.
But I’m not telling you lies… Barcaldine isn’t the place that I would call: love at first sight.
Oh, not at all!
Even more, I couldn’t wait to leave and I counted the days impatiently. Don’t get me wrong, it was all my fault. Well, mostly… and also, shit happens.
Let me explain.
If only I…
We all have a couple of things that we look back on and start a sentence with if only I.
When I look back on the time that I spent in Barcaldine (at the very first time) so many sentences are coming to my mind that starts with this certain if only I.
If only I hadn’t been working all the time…
If only I had accepted this or that invitation…
And much more on top of this and the one with the strongest voice: If I wasn’t an introvert.
If I wasn’t an introvert a couple of things would have been (and actually would be) much easier.
Introverts and extroverts
Let’s just quickly have a look at the meaning of introvert and its opposite, called extrovert.
Based on characteristics, there are two types of personality, introvert and extrovert. When a person is reserved and does not open up easily, he or she is said to be an introvert. It describes a person who tends to turn inward mentally (and so happy with this). Introverts sometimes avoid large groups of people, feeling more energized by time alone. On the contrary, when a person is social, talkative and makes friends quickly, then his personality type is extrovert. It is really just in a nutshell.
Well, most of the travellers, backpackers (and bartenders) are extroverts.
Although it doesn’t mean at all that an introverted person doesn’t need friends or doesn’t want to connect with others at all. It means that for us it takes more time – or a certain amount of alcohol – to be really chatty and open but after that time, even God can’t save others because we are talking endlessly about everything.
An interesting thing that I found a third type of personality, I call it fake extrovert.
These introverted people are trying to turn themselves into extroverted so hard but you can notice that something is missing and the whole person feels just fake.
Being part of the community
So what would have been easier if I was an extroverted person?
For example: being a bartender.
I’m not a really experienced bartender – to be fair, I am not a bartender – but as far as I know, there is at least one huge difference between being a bartender in the city and in the outback. The latter needs a special kind of customer service at another level – and a special kind of marketing strategy by the way. If you want to proudly own a successful business or to be a bartender who is liked by others, you have to be apart of the local community or you are… well, screwed.
While in the city a nice smile and being polite and kind for a half an hour are completely enough for a satisfied customer, here all of these things are just scant. You have to know them or you have to have the need to get to know them – or at least have to pretend that you care.
And here was where all my problems started. First of all, I’m not good at hiding my emotions. If I have a bad day, I have a bad day and everybody knows it as soon as they take a quick look at my face.
And the other thing was that I didn’t want to be apart of the community. Just to be clear, I didn’t have any problem with these people – ehm… well, with most of them – I just… to be honest… I don’t really know. I just didn’t want it and that’s all. Probably I will realize the real reason by the end of this post – it happens so many times.
This guy makes an example:
You need only one good person around
I had one friend, a lovely backpacker who I met in Aramac. Although we didn’t go out at all, we had a nice chat almost every night on the balcony after our shifts and it was enough.
Apart from this I just worked and that was all. I was working in the bar 6 days a week, I had my own online business that I had to manage and sometimes I was in a huge and urgent need of sleep. I was completely okay with this as I thought it was only for a couple of weeks and then I am leaving so who cares.
Plus if I had a problem I could call my family or friends and also I could share it with the other backpacker girl, so I didn’t feel lonely.
Then she left
After she left, I felt a little bit lost.
First, I was like, I would be fine but then I had to realize that I lost more than I would have thought before. I didn’t only have to say goodbye to a friend (again) but I lost my support and I started to feel lonely.
Do not get me wrong, please, it was only my decision because I was the one who didn’t want to socialize, to meet new people or to make new friends.
Except this little guy, he is awesome.
An aggravating circumstance
There was another thing that made my time really hard and finally, it became the final drop in my glass full with the feeling of loneliness, bitterness and self-pity.
Jeeeez, I just reread this sentence and now I think I don’t seem like a really nice, fun and happy person… I swear I am but all of us have a period like this, don’t we?
I can’t handle the sexual harassment at all!
Let it be verbal or non-verbal, I just can’t deal with it, even if it was meant to be just a joke.
Let me say: IT. IS. NOT. FUNNY.
The thing is, if you are a bartender (anywhere) you will have this experience at least once but more likely than you will have it anytime often because that’s how drunk people usually work.
Some of them are just funny and you can’t really take them seriously, some of them are annoying and unfortunately, some of them will leave you with the feeling that you are disgusting and in a need of a really hot shower for a comfortable 2 hours, using sandpaper.
Especially if they try to touch you. I had a couple of really, truly bad experiences but luckily my bosses’ reaction usually was just amazing and it helped a lot – when I told them what happened but most of the time I was silly enough just not talking about it at all and it did not help.
As the time flew by these experiences led me to a point when I didn’t want to talk to any drunk or tipsy person, even the thought of talking to any kind of men gave me the creeps – not the best characteristic of a good bartender.
Fun time in the bar
Luckily I had another glass which included new and exciting experiences and so much fun. We had so many special events in the bar where I worked and I really enjoyed those nights.
Just to name a few of them:
Shave for a Cure, when we tried to raise money for a much-needed cure for blood-cancer
I had my very first Origin here
Some special functions when we were serving out of the bar, for example, a wedding or a biker meet-up
The Longest Line when Barcaldine has officially set a new world record for the longest line of motorhomes & some family fun days where I did face painting for the kids and a couple of things more
I really enjoyed being a bartender when it was busy.
Also, my bosses made me feel that I wasn’t only a bartender but a part of their family and I couldn’t be more grateful for this.
An old/new friend?
Despite of all of those fun moments and good things above I still felt like an outsider.
Getting to know that the situation in Hungary is worse than ever thanks to our lovely and highly appreciated government didn’t help at all.
So I just pushed myself into my glass full with the feeling of loneliness, bitterness and self-pity more deeper and deeper, until I totally lost my other glass and myself without even realizing that I was doing it.
Then I met with him.
An old/new friend that could give me some ease: alcohol.
I’m not an alcoholic and I’ve never been but sometimes it is just too tempting not to accept this easy solution of dealing with things. So all of a sudden I found myself on this really steep and fast slide again going down to a place where I wasn’t bothered anymore. It was easy to fall. No one really could see me and most of the people around me were drinking a lot.
At this point, it would have been great not to be an introvert or just put some effort into making new friends.
It was all up to me.
My guardian angel didn’t give it up
I’m pretty sure that sometimes my guardian angel is like:
Luckily she is a real badass (or she drinks too, I’m not sure which one) so she helps me if it is needed. This time she sent over a girl who started to work with us.
Our friendship started with a simple question. One night I sat on the balcony, drinking my good night wine when she came to me so I asked:
Do you like wine?
So our friendship started and it turned out later that I gained a good friend for a lifetime.
It was a strange quirk of fate that she is a really extroverted person who just let’s say, adopted me, a truly introverted someone. Thanks to her I found my way to be more open and felt protected by her safety wings so I started to connect with people again.
From then on, I still had to face all of the things above, although it was much easier knowing that someone was around me. We had so much fun spending time together, sharing joyful moments as well as some hard times.
As I slowly eased myself into life again I realized how big mistake I had made by not leaving my comfort zone and how many amazing people were around me in this little town. Even more, just before I left to the Seychelles, I got to know someone who became special to me (well, for a little while) but this story will be a part of one of the next posts.
The lesson of this period
I gained two really important lessons from this period. All are clichés but somehow we tend to forget them.
First of all, the only person who can make changes is you – I told you, it is a huge clishé but please keep reading.
Not only from this story but from so many others out there ends having the same lesson. Unfortunately, we all tend to stay on the same spot, not moving at all, even if it is not good for us and we know it exactly. In point of pure fact, leaving the comfort zone and stepping over our boundaries is never easy. Doesn’t matter if you did it before or not. Once I gathered all of my braveness, quit my job, sold everything and started to travel full time. Another time I applied for a job with having no chance at all (I didn’t get it but at least, I tried). I’m pretty sure that you have at least one story as well when you needed all of your courage to do this or that and no matter how much fear you had inside, you finally did it. And now you are just standing in the middle of a situation and don’t understand why it is this hard again.
It takes time and courage every single time and sometimes we even fail. It is scary. But at the end of the day, it is not as scary than taking the bitter pill, called “if only I”. No one looks back and says they wish they had waited for longer. The longer we wait, we just end up telling ourselves fallacies that paralyze us. Yes, it is scary and not always safe. Yes, you might make mistakes. Everybody does. Yes, it might be hurtful and you end up struggling. But there is always the chance that it might be just as amazing as you had imagined before or even better. Don’t be scared. Don’t wait for the perfect time because there won’t be one. Just do it.
Somewhere in the middle of this post, I said: I don’t know why I didn’t want to be apart of this community. Now I know. It might seem silly but I guess the reason was that what would have happened if I had tried and they didn’t want me in. Well, let me tell you: nothing. And as it turned out later, it was just overthinking (no one cares).
The other really important thing that I’ve learned that it is not a weakness if you talk about your problems or even if you ask for help. Saying something out loud could be a bigger help that you can ever imagine.