Out of my comfort zone: My living experience in Cairns as an introvert by Linda Vert-Pre

04th July 2022

Out of my comfort zone:

My living experience in Cairns as an introvert

Linda Vert-Pre (France)

Changing life and moving to a new city can be absolutely exciting but also scary. Moving to Cairns was a fantastic opportunity to study and pursue my purpose in life, however, that was not simple for me. I didn’t have a network at the start, but I’m so happy that I chose Cairns, and I hope that my following thoughts will help others that may be introverted like me.

Leaving my close friends and family behind me, I initially experienced a deep feeling of loneliness and, the isolation from Covid didn’t help the situation, but I also learnt how to let go of what I was holding on to in my past and embrace change. I had a lot of ups and downs and, as an introvert, getting out of my comfort zone was difficult. But today I am feeling so much happier and satisfied with my choice. I am sharing my strategies for dealing with homesickness, hoping that my experience will inspire you on your journey living in Cairns.

Challenging myself

The first step that was very difficult (especially for an introvert like me) was to step out of my comfort zone. I realised that if I do nothing to improve my life, nobody will. I have to stand up for myself and try to give myself the best opportunity to enjoy my new environment.

At first, I didn’t have anyone to go on an adventure with me, but that didn’t stop me. I took the public transport so that I could explore the northern beaches and took my bike regularly for a ride around the city. By doing this, I started to be intentional in doing what was making me happy, and this mindset pushed me to be gutsy and brave. Recently, I challenged myself to ride from Port Douglas and Mossman. That was a pretty long, and questionable, ride but so rewarding at the end. Now, I can tick that off my bucket list. I decided also to use my bike to go to work, and that has benefitted my health and weight loss. I realised how much being in nature and riding is a perfect diversion from daily stress and negative thought patterns.

I also started by saying yes to new opportunities and experiences, for example by going to some events in the city and accepting invitations to socialise. Challenging myself to go to those events gave me more confidence and I am learning to be comfortable in situations that are initially uncomfortable for me.

2. Exploring and trying new things

As a French islander, being on these islands is absolutely refreshing, that makes me feel at home…

I chose to study in Cairns, this wonderful town with tropical weather as I am also captivated by the charm of the place, landscapes and surroundings. Its beauty and natural wealth amaze me.

During a quad activity (with @kuranda_rainforest_journeys) I had the extraordinary chance to meet the famous Cassowary; a majestic bird and modern dinosaur that lives in Far North Queensland. I was also delighted to discover Kuranda, a charming village with unique markets (Kuranda, one of the most wonderful place on earth ! – YouTube on my YouTube Channel: Explore With Me) and explored the stunning and well-known Barron Falls.

I decided to create a YouTube Channel to capture this wonderful place in Far North Queensland and share it with family and friends. I am passionate about photography, making videos and exploring. Therefore, this exciting project in progress is helping me to gain skills in video making and keeping me busy (Explore With Me – YouTube). I was in ecstasy recently when I witnessed a sunset at the scenic Yule Point, on the coastal road to Port Douglas. It was an intense moment, I was speechless in front of this beauty, and I realised it is for moments like this that I am living for.

Far North Queensland is an absolutely amazing place to be, with magnificent rainforests, rivers, gorges, creeks, waterfalls, mountains, fields of sugar cane, spectacular botanical gardens and gorgeous nature, especially in the tablelands. My favourite spots are Palm Cove on the northern beaches, Port Douglas and the marvellous islands such as Frankland islands (@franklandislands) and Fitzroy Island (@fitzroyisland).

I am totally grateful for this experience in Cairns and even if it is not easy every day, pushing to improve my life and keep going is my motive. And I am glad to pursue what is making me happy by focusing on myself and being curious to explore the different options to have a fulfilled life.

3. Joining a beach handball club

Being active and doing some sport is also a way to feel less isolated and to remain cheerful. I was looking for a sporting club where I can be physically active, have fun and meet friendly people. I am grateful that our very enthusiastic and lovely Danny from @Cairns Student Hub gave me a lot of advice and the contact of a great Brazilian friend who directed me to the beach handball club, which has been recently created.

I am enjoying playing beach handball every Monday night at 7 pm on the Esplanade with a friendly Brazilian group (@fnqhandballcairns). We started this year, and we are still looking for people to join. We are all learning, and we are having so much fun! I am feeling included and much happier. There is a great team spirit, and it is an excellent way to decompress from my university assessments. I rarely missed a game because I know how it can boost my mental health.

4. Building my network

 

Making friends and creating a good network was a struggle for me. I didn’t know anyone when I arrived. Cairns is also a tourist place where people come and go, so I had to adapt and be open to opportunities. I kept a positive attitude and decided to go everywhere; to events, to church, to take part in activities organised by my student accommodation, JCU, and the Cairns Student Hub and be out there to meet new people. I decided to become a volunteer as a Study Cairns Student Ambassador at Cairns Student Hub to give me more opportunities to meet people and build my network.

Being a student ambassador is one of the best decisions I have made so far. I have the great advantage to participate in different events and have had a lot of fun meeting the Mayor of Cairns and the Ambassador of France, eating in one of the best French restaurants in Cairns (@cestbonrestautantcairns), and meeting international students coming from different places in the world. It has given me the opportunity to make new friends and I am also grateful today to have a wonderful connection with a like-minded friend who is always up to join me for bike rides and adventurous excursions.

Being open to new experiences is an excellent way to find a great support system that can has helped me settle in Cairns.

I hope that by sharing my journey with you, I can inspire introverted people and motivate them to challenge themselves, try new things and push them to say yes to change, make the most of opportunities and go to the next level. However, sometimes it’s necessary to get comfortable by being uncomfortable; so get out of your comfort zone and start living your life to the fullest, where the magic is happening.

 

 

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