Well, it’s finally happened; Tourism Australia’s ‘Best Jobs in the World Contest‘ finalists have been announced!
They have whittled the top twenty-five in each category down to three. After 14 days, 3,000 new Facebook fans, 998 miles, 350 new Twitter followers, 200 blog comments, 13 endorsements, 8 parks, 8 interviews, and 1 academy award winner…
(Deep breath in. Yawn. Inhale again. )
I was ready for the announcement. I had dreamed and visualized my name being listed as one of the three in the Park Ranger category for weeks. I was already imagining what the interview process would be like.
Of course, having Facebook-stalked my fellow shortlisters, I knew competition would be tough. And clearly no-one was going down without a fight.
So I stayed up ’til 2 AM with my best friend… refreshing the Australian Working Holiday page every few seconds until the announcement popped up. I took a breath, closed my eyes, and read carefully. Then I reread it. And read it again.
Wasn’t what you were hoping for, huh? Me either.
It was the worst of worst-case scenarios. Neither Sarah Cross or myself made the final three of our categories. And the other Park Ranger candidate I was secretly rooting for also wasn’t selected. A trifecta of trauma.
Sarah told me the next day she drowned her sorrows in a bottle of Australian wine. I was less ironic and more stereotypical and cried out my weight in tears, feeling like a complete failure. My best friend sat there, letting me soak her shirt with my fallen dreams. I stayed up most of the night coping with the news. I was the weakest link. Goodbye.
And while it felt like I was mourning the loss of a relationship, I had to remind myself that the last time this happened, all was not lost.
Just like two years ago, when I was rejected from graduate school, I FELT lost, and FELT cheated, and FELT confused. After all, how could I work SO HARD at something and not prove to someone I was worth it? But that doesn’t mean that I failed. In fact, I’d just begun.
The hard facts were, in the past two weeks I’ve made a ton of new friends.
I’ve connected with so many inspiring and beautiful people from around the world, most who have never met me.
I’ve shown myself and others all that can be accomplished in just two weeks.
And I’ve rediscovered my love for blogging and sharing my adventures. What a wonderful way to be reminded that there are so many people out there who care for me and are just as hungry for once-in-a-lifetime experiences as I am.
It’s like American Idol. Not every contestant with a great voice gets in the top ten, or even makes it through the auditions. And sometimes even if they do, they don’t win. Sometimes someone’s just better. Sometimes they just have to cut people even if they’re all awesome because they have to narrow it down somehow. That’s just the terms you agree to when you sign up for something like this.
But even if they didn’t make it all the way, at least they tried, right?
And certainly, getting named one of the top 150 candidates out of 600,000 applications from 330,000 different people is pretty incredible. And boy, has it been one hell of a ride.
So here’s to a new adventure! While I may not have walked away from this contest as their official ‘winner’, I had an absolute blast and I’m so thankful to Tourism Australia for the opportunity. I know I will get back to Australia sometime soon. But maybe just not as soon as I would’ve liked.
I’m also incredibly thankful for all of your support and encouragement through this venture. I could not have done this without you. Please know I send love and support right back to you.
I look forward to sharing the next great adventure with you. =)