For the adventure of a lifetime, embrace the unknown

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It’s human nature to fear the unknown. A common response when we feel uncomfortable is letting our minds immediately go to a negative space. Yet, the reality is that what we fear doesn’t always manifest in this way. More often than not, leaps of faith create opportunities – things you previously dismissed as impossible.

As I boarded the plane in 2019 with my one-way ticket to Perth, fear had taken over. I was leaving New York City after eleven years my home, my stomping ground and where I worked tirelessly to build my life and career. 

Quitting my comfortable corporate job at one of the most reputable digital and design firms in the city and saying goodbye to everyone I cared about was the single hardest decision I ever made. Many people told me I was crazy to move to Australia at 30 years old.

But I knew, regardless of what anyone else said, it was my time to chase a wild new dream. The move was centered around finding ways to apply my skills developed in corporate New York to organizations involved in conserving the ocean. And all the while, get closer to the ocean myself by becoming a certified dive master. In my mind, there was no better place to do this than Perth, Western Australia a city situated on one of the most exciting, beautiful and treacherous coastlines on the planet. 

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My first year living in Perth, the most isolated city in the world, was not what I’d imagined. I found myself in a job that I absolutely hated tethered to a visa, and I was having a hard time making friends. Everything felt new and hard from driving on the other side of the road to learning the slang to not getting pummeled by the roughest ocean I’d ever experienced. I didn’t miss home, per say. I missed being comfortable. 

Growing up, I was obsessed with marine life. When I was five, my parents took me to the Baltimore Aquarium and the rest was history. I was fascinated. After that, I carried around an encyclopedia larger than I was, and would share fish facts with anyone who’d listen. I dreamt of a life spent in and around the water. 

Quitting my high-flying corporate job was the hardest decision I made

But as I got older, my ocean dream was forgotten and replaced with the American dream. My focus turned entirely to getting into college, pursuing a major in marketing, and building a career in the greatest, most competitive city in the world. 

It wasn’t until 2017 when my childhood ambition re-emerged – after a single conservation. I’d been ranting to a friend about the climate crisis when she suggested that I get involved in the challenge personally, via scuba diving. 

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The encounter unlocked deep curiosity and rekindled a flame inside me that had been dormant for a long time. The moment had arrived to make some serious changes and step out of my comfort zone. It felt as if my happiness and future depended on it. 

My intro to scuba diving was in an inner-city pool filled with screaming children. After barely passing the swim test, I realized that it was going to be a long, hard road for someone like me to master the sport.

Fast-forward to May 2019, and I was sitting on a plane to Perth with tears streaming down my face. I’d finally mustered up the courage to become a professional scuba diver. Nothing was easy about my choice. But the way I saw it, there was no other option but to push through for the sake of my dream. And that’s exactly what I did. 

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Now it’s 2024. After years of training, preparing, studying and learning how to swim properly, my team and I have completed six months of a 24-month worldwide Edges of Earth expedition. We’ve traveled to some of the most remote and interesting dive sites on the planet all while meeting exceptional people working on the frontlines of ocean conservation. 

The aim has been to leverage our media platform and diving skills to shed light on the unsung heroes who have dedicated their lives to protecting marine life. And to educate on what it means to explore the world consciously.


The minute we get too comfortable is the minute we stagnate

Looking back, the impact of my move to Australia was bigger than anything I could have anticipated. It taught me how to understand the ocean, realize a childhood dream, and most importantly tackle fear head-on by openly embracing the unknown with all my heart. 

The minute we get too comfortable is the minute we run the risk of losing the bigger picture. And that’s exactly what happened when I spent too long chasing the status quo in New York City, the one place I called home. While stability, routine and order are great comforts in this life, growth can only come through change. 

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We all have these inflection points in our lives. The ones where we question the course that we are on and must make radical decisions about what happens next. If you learn to trust that instinct and feel comfortable with not having all the answers, you too could be well on your way to the greatest adventure of your life. 

Andi Cross is a growth strategist, professional diver and lead of the Edges of Earth expedition.

Got a story or adventure that could inspire a solo traveler like you? Tag @flashpack on social or email [email protected] to be featured.

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