That Summer: Finding myself in Sydney in 2006

It was a summer of self-discovery, new experiences and self-acceptance for Joanna Whitehead

Bondi Beach at the height of summer
Bondi Beach at the height of summer

After a post-graduation year living in a hedonistic den with – count them – 12 other people, the call of adulthood was becoming harder to ignore. Friends were establishing themselves in ‘proper’ careers, while my biggest achievement was making it through another week without vomiting in the sink at the foot of my bed after (another) mid-week sesh. It was time for a change.

With a heavy heart, I returned to the parental nest in Yorkshire with the aim of saving up to go backpacking. I held two jobs: packing Milkybars in a chocolate factory and working as a receptionist in return for the princely sum of £12,000 per annum. Saddled as I was with various credit card debts, it quickly became clear that saving any sum of substance was out of the question. So I did what any financially irresponsible twenty-something in the mid-noughties did: I applied for a loan.

In the pre-credit crunch era, I simply walked into a bank, informed them of my income and what I wanted the loan for (“travelling”), signed on the dotted line and, within a matter of days, £10,000 had been deposited into my current account. It was outrageously easy.

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