7 min read

What I learnt in Kalgoorlie...

After much deliberation post-tertiary education, with not many opportunities for employment in Geosciences in Victoria I moved to Western Australia in early 2014.
Ultimately I ended up in the mining town of Kalgoorlie, which is located 595km inland from the capital of Perth.

What I instantaneously realised was that - without a familiar network it's really hard to meet other people and rural Australia is isolated enough, without having your usual go-to gals. I contacted a friend who I had known had lived here before and she luckily put me onto some people. I got involved in sport, Kalgoorlie has a great sporting culture, but an even bigger drinking culture.

To be ok with not being ok...

Up to when I moved I had, had difficulties and been through many ups and downs with my mental health - like many Australians. But Kalgoorlie and its isolation in the beginning really exacerbated some of these feelings. I often felt lonely, and often felt like I was missing out on all the fun-things that my group of friends were doing at home. I missed birthdays, engagements, house warmings, hens parties and Christmas with my family. I had a lot of time in my own head, and more than enough time on an 8 days on 6 days off roster to over-think absolutely everything. Eventually I learnt that you’re allowed to have bad days. You’re allowed to have a number of bad days. You’re allowed to have so many bad days that you become ill. And you are allowed to ask for help, because you feel helpless.

Maybe you need to re-address your priorities - If things aren’t working out the way you had expected, you may be working in the wrong workplace. You have chosen the wrong career path. You may have moved to the wrong state! Pause. Stop. Take a moment to stand back from it all and think about how you can change your current trajectory. It’s OK to not be OK, because chances are you’re not the only one feeling this way in your own personal isolation. And each time we acknowledge and accept this notion, we are closer to being on the path to healing

The importance of loneliness

Loneliness is often an unpleasant emotional experience of feeling alone or feeling disconnected from others. Humans are social creatures by nature and designed to live in social units, so we are prone to suffering when we feel disconnected emotionally and physically from others. I have found that people vary enormously in their ability to handle varieties of loneliness. Some people are able to accept loneliness as part of life, but others find it super hard to bear it.

I found a few exercises incredibly useful in dealing with my apparent loneliness in the isolated mining town of Kalgoorlie - I looked at my thoughts when I was lonely; how I feel and my body feels when I am lonely and finally what I tended to do because of these thoughts and feelings of loneliness.
For me, I found that loneliness provided me with the time and space to truly discover and learn more about myself and the things that I wanted to do and achieve in my spare time


Some friends are fair-weather, some are forever.

Unfortunately, we go through friends during our entire lives, as our environments, ages and personalities change, so do the people we surround ourselves with. The best thing about moving to a new place, or interstate is meeting and making new friends. You can be super selective as to who you hang around with, like sorting your favourite candies.
The great thing about meeting and making new friends is sorting through them like candies.

Unfortunately the distance can strain some of your life-long friendship from home, especially when your eyes open and you see that you've changed and grown and your home hasn't changed a bit.

Like any bad relationships, we couldn't detect, or we refused to see what is right in front of our face, until we had enough separation. Kalgoorlie taught me value in change, regardless of how much it hurt in the beginning.
People grow and change, but some things don't...


Everyone has a story, judgement should be with-held until you've taken a moment to walk around in their shoes a little

Just like in the movie Red Dog, everyone in mining towns tend to have a story - something they are running away from, whether it be a hurt, or escapism, or a need to feel worthy. In mining towns like Kalgoorlie there is a strong sense of community and everyone is often bonded by the isolation and the similarities that brought them to the town to begin with.

Mining towns, due to speciality often attract various types of people, all ethnicity's, religions and moral belief systems- some of the stories are particularly eye-opening, thought provoking and for me as a self-proclaimed empath - very touching! I learnt a lot about myself from some of the people I met and connected with in Kalgoorlie - and I will value these meetings for the rest of my life.


Reliance on a family not related to you by blood

With family often more than 3000km away, and a seven and a half hour drive to the closest capital city with a decent airport - people feel a lifetime away. In Kalgoorlie, there was a greater reliance on the community around you - and a lot of events were organised as a result. Citizens of Kalgoorlie were always quite connected and social calendars were full of wine and curry nights and coffee dates. There was no need to plan anything either, you were literally five minutes away from restaurants, movies and friends houses. And the convenience of limited options for places to go - meant indecision was easy, 'Lets just go to JALC!'.

I think I have made some incredible and life-long friendships from my time in Kalgoorlie, big shout-out to the Debbie's, Claire's, Carleys, Luke's, Nat & Johns of everyone's lives. As well as the friendships that Kalgoorlie helped to compound - Michelle & Hana.
I feel now that I have many couches to choose to crash on all around Australia, if I so ever desired. Lots of love to you all x

Highschool drama never really ends.

This truly shocked me, I was over highschool drama before I even left highschool. But human nature is human nature, and some people just thrive on drama. My workplace in Kalgoorlie taught me a new word - gaslighting.

Wikipedia states that:
'Gaslighting or gas-lighting is a form of mental abuse in which information is twisted or spun, selectively omitted to favor the abuser, or false information is presented with the intent of making victims doubt their own memory, perception, and sanity. Instances may range simply from the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred, up to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim.'

Its unfortunate but at least now I recognise this is something that can actually happen, and next time I wont be so naïve, keeping some of my cards closer to my heart.


There is beauty after every storm.

There is beauty in every storm. Whatever your struggle, the 'storm' in your life has hidden treasures of learning and growth in preparation for your journey ahead.

In Kalgoorlie's sense, this for me has dual meaning. Kalgoorlie has some of the most amazing weather and storm events. Kalgoorlie has picturesque sunrises and sunsets and the red dirt is frustrating but utterly stunning. Australia's outback really gives 'the land of drought and flooding rains' credit. I never thought I would truly understand the sentiment in those words. But wow, Kalgoorlie weather will always have a piece of my heart.


Self-care is more than just skin-deep

Does taking a bubble bath mean you love yourself? What about eating healthy meals and getting to the gym? I learnt in Kalgoorlie that self-love goes deeper than pedicures and drinking kombucha. Although I still love getting a massage or going for a walk in nature, the path toward loving myself has been more about self-acceptance and forgiveness than any of my external actions.

You really need to talk to yourself, and stop telling yourself that you are fat, worthless and not loveable. Because we are our own worst enemies. Think of if you spoke to someone else the same way you speak to yourself? Not nice...
Forgive yourself, forget your lies and indiscretions, but make sure you learn from them. Be kind and nurturing, like you would be to a five year old version of yourself. It will all be ok at the end of the day


A direction is neither right or wrong, if you are moving forwards.

We all reach ceilings in our lives, where we feel stagnant and just cruising along. I'm not going to lie I find this incredibly boring. Keep yourself ahead, study something new...

...Just keep swimming! Just keep moving! Just keep learning! and never ever stop...