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If It Doesn't Work Out, There's Always a Credit Card to Fly Home - with Regina Petra Meyer
Episode 2316th June 2023 • Drawn to a Deeper Story • Cath Brew
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You are listening to Drawn to a Deeper Story. I'm Cath Brew from drawn to I'm an artist who illustrates and educates about marginalized experiences of positive change with a particular interest in identity, belonging and expat life. And this podcast is about the lives that challenge us and the the difficult conversations around them.


And it's a place. To listen openly, really, and to absorb people's truths and to learn how to show up differently for the benefit of everyone. And that's you included, the you as that listener. And today I'm talking to Regina, Petra meyer. Now Regina was born and raised in Switzerland and worked as a travel agent.


early twenties and has lived [:

Cath: And so many people don't do that and they regret it. And when we follow our dreams, it often challenges people, including ourselves. It can be seen as being. Frivolous or you should be just getting a proper job and doing this and doing that, and people have a lot of value judgments about it. But what we often don't expect is when we follow our dreams, how much it can challenge.


Ourselves, so in true adventure style. Let's dive right in and welcome Regina, and thank you so much for joining me today.


. You know, it's an absolute [:

Cath: so am I. We'll see where this goes. So essentially, Do you want to give me a, just so listeners understand what the context of what we are gonna be talking about?

Cath: Do you want to give me a brief kind of summary of what you think your book is about? Well,


my book is about a time in my life when I felt really stuck and I, you know, I was in a relatively stable relationship, but it had just been floundering for a while. And I was really yearning for adventure, and so I guess it is really the end of one chapter and the beginning of a new one, except at the time I wasn't aware of it.


You know, I booked a holiday and that's what I ended up going on, except this holiday ended up Chan changing my life and the course of my life.


dent when you read the book. [:


What do you think now in reflection, what we, what do you think you were seeking by leaving?


Well, I, I guess looking back now, I would say I knew. And also I guess my partner at the time, Swin, who plays, you know, quite an important role in the book. I think deep down we both knew it was time to go separate ways, but neither of us had the courage nor really the reason to break up.


Yeah, it's easy just to keep going and going.


ere wouldn't be a book in it.[:


Absolutely. You know, but, but of course that, that, looking back, I can see it quite clearly. That's what we needed to do.


And, and often you can't, you can't realize that at the time, like you said, you are, you are so used to it being okay, but not amazing. Mm-hmm. And just trying to work out. What's going on? Is it you?


Is it the relationship? Is it whatever? It, it's, so it's, it's quite brave to choose a holiday even though it was a holiday and not you changing your life. I always think there must be a subconscious thing in that, that you, you choose to do something like that that gives you that, that space. So, yeah. Yeah.


You are also in your book, I was also interested in, um, You talk about the relationship with your parents and how your, your parents, uh, had split and then you lived with your mother and you had a, I wouldn't say problem, relationship, but a, but a difficult relationship, something that you had to manage in that way.


. How much of your childhood [:


I think needing space had more to do. With actually moving to Australia.


Mm-hmm. So, you know, definitely, um, I always, again, when I look back, I think immigrating to Australia for me was 50% curiosity that drove me forward and 50% the need to gain distance between my life in Switzerland. Yeah. And when I went on the holiday, I think subconsciously again, you know, that separation from Ven actually then meant I had to deal with what, what was causing the friction with my parents.


And if I would've stayed, uh, with ve I could have had a very harmonious, you know, and, and relatively happy and fulfilled life, but I would've never been faced with what I really needed to be faced. Yeah. And wanted to be faced quite honestly


Yeah, I really respect [:


Basically. Like we, we push it away. We go out and get drunk. We buy things, we do anything to not address that issue that we are dealing with. And I think you doing what you did, whether it's conscious or not, conscious is a brave thing because a lot of people don't, don't get there. And so my next question is, do you think that the people you met, Were challenged by you as a single woman in their eyes.


I mean, you were still attached to spend at that time, but, but, uh, kind of a single woman in their eyes, traveling alone, doing your own thing, because you met some really interesting characters along the way. Mm-hmm.


Well, I think, you know, there's always the people that will support you, and there's the people that won't.


ws that the characters there [:


Yeah. Including myself. Yeah. You know, I include myself then and I think, yes, I've had some. Friction, of course. You know, and I, I've had people that didn't maybe want me to progress as well or as much as I did, but there was also people that really supported me. So, mm, I, to me, I think often that comes down to perspective.


You know, how do you look at life and do you get really down if someone isn't as supportive as you would like, or do you just get on with it? And I, I think in that way, I'm lucky. Um, Kind of an optimist and I just, I shrug it off and I think, you know, okay, I'll just keep going. Yeah. Which


e view our life is in how it [:


It's, yeah. And you've already mentioned these, the, the strong characters on the yachts, and I was interested in that. To me, your book is very much about relationships and it's your relationships to others, but also. Your relationship to self and what felt like it came through to me was the people that you met were almost like pivot points in your life.


Like you, you'd meet someone that challenged a particular thing in you, or you then realized something off that person about yourself. And I, do you want to comment on that? That if, if I've completely imagined that, or

Regina: I guess so in one aspect. Let me, let me take you back to the sailing. So, mm-hmm. Maybe you'll have to be a little bit spec more specific about who exactly you are referring to or what situation has resonated with you.


for myself and I had to make [:


Mm-hmm. So in an example, you know, uh, when I was on a boat and I had a particularly cont owner, and you know, he was dishing it out to me, I had to learn to stand up for myself. Mm-hmm. And you know what? The first time I did, I was so nervous. You know, I did it, but I was shaking inside and I still did it.


And the feeling of empowerment after where I felt, oh actually I can do this. You know, I got my own back and actually he didn't get worse and he actually respected me for it and we could have a conversation. Those were a huge learning moments for me. Yeah,


and I think that's fascinating that he respected you as well.


to see what you are made of [:

Cath: This is kind of a standard question for expats really, of we know that wonder and that excitement and then like, The reality of life sets in. Do you think you were naive when you went in, or did you think you understood what you were going into? Because it's a very, very different culture.

Regina: Hmm. You know, I had a very vague idea when I decided to move to Antiga.


there. So, yeah, of course I [:


If I hadn't had that, I wouldn't have done it. You know, there's no doubt about it, because it would've been a lot easier for me instead of returning to Antiga to go back to Australia and start my life there. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Was I For sure, for sure. You know, it was, I asked

Cath: that from a position of experience.

Cath: I'm telling you I'm not,


I'm not judging. I know. I have no problem. You know, I think, again, I don't view being naive as. A bad thing. You know, I think there's also something really beautiful about not knowing and going in and allowing yourself to be immersed in something that you completely out of your death and to experience it.

Regina: [:


Yeah. You've just said something that's wonderful, that naivety is not a bad thing, because actually we end up in experiences in ways that we wouldn't if we, if we rationalized and thought differently about it.


Mm-hmm. You stop yourself from experiencing things by your brain coming in and saying, Oh no, that's, there's that risk or there's this or there's that. Mm-hmm. And that naivety plus being in love, which is just sends us all a bit strange at times. Yes, that's right. But you can, I dunno, there's something exciting about that.


It's full of potential rather than, these are the boundaries that I know I need to work within. Cause I'm trying to be sensible or whatever like,


Yeah, that's right. Yeah. And I think there's an innocence about it, right? Mm-hmm. You know, I really had no idea, and it was beautiful to not have an idea to.


returned to Antica, I had to [:

Regina: You know, I had a bit of money to lose, but that's it

Cath: That is hugely exciting because so many people don't do that. I mean, I know it's probably not exciting to some people, but to me it is. Mm. We follow a pattern of growing up school. University college or whatever, if you're doing further education and then work, it's get married, have 2.4 children do, like, it's that, that mm-hmm.

Cath: And to, to break out of that is really exciting. And, and often we are not able to because we end up getting houses and jobs and all these things that we are tied into financially. I think people can learn a lot by reading your book and actually just the, the whole concept of just following. Your heart and where you want to be and not worrying if it doesn't.

ust. Go and do it. So, yeah, [:

Cath: In your other life, what was it about him that made your life take another whole change of direction and fall in love and all of that kind of stuff?

Regina: Well, I really think when I very first looked into his eyes, there was really a moment where I felt. Deeply connected with him like it was. And you know, I'm really not one of these people that I never used to believe in love at first.

exotic, he was. Gorgeous. He [:

Regina: And that was for me, maybe the biggest thing, because like you say, quite often we get so caught up in our lives. To see someone that hasn't got much, but that is incredibly free. That's so humbling.

Cath: Yeah. Yeah. And it challenges things. You're, you're very good at leading onto my next question. I was interested in reading and kind of looking at your observations and the, the cultural differences and then the personal differences, and you discovered that Jay was illiterate and that really challenged you and wanting to help him as, as.

Cath: You would because that's what we value. But you also then talked about him not really caring that he was, and that really challenged you. And I think that's fascinating how in different cultures we place different values on different things. And can you tell me a bit more about that experience for you?

Cath: Well, for me

Regina: that that [:

Regina: And you know, also, Later on in our relationship, I realized that it was actually me that was constantly searching, constantly kind of on the verge of, not unhappiness, but maybe dissatisfaction. You know, sort of always wondering and so, This was something I really, really loved about Jay, that he was actually at home in himself.

atter. Nothing mattered, and [:

Cath: It's wonderful, isn't it? Because that section really made me smile because you refer to his age and you discovered that he was actually 42, I think you said, and uh, you were in your thirties and it was all a bit confronting.

Cath: And, but I also think we can learn so much from that in that we get so caught up in age and our ways of being that we think we appreciate another way until it hits us in the face and then we actually have to confront it. And it, it's fascinating. You have two wonderful examples in there about how his literacy impacted him in terms of the w D 40 and the, and just the reality of what that means.

if there was an easier road [:

Regina: Maybe there is now, but you know, at the time there wasn't. Maybe if there were a group like that, he would've gone. Yeah. But, uh, You know, the one problem he had, like, there was no understanding about what certain things were for, and so I caught him one day, brain wd 40 on his knee. Mm. Because his knee was in pain another day.

l, and he just got very used [:

Cath: Mm-hmm. Was that just him and his circumstance or, I don't know about Antigua. Was literacy, uh, an issue in Antigua at that

Regina: time, or I wouldn't be able to really comment on that. I would imagine that it's a problem in Switzerland. Actually, I did some research after that. So I think there is just a huge portion of the population that even if they have access to school for, for whatever reason, they might have a difficulty following classes and they get left behind.

Regina: Yeah. It happens here in the UK

Cath: as well. Yeah. Yeah,

Regina: that's right. There's a large portion of people in Switzerland or in England, uh, illiterate. I'm pretty sure it's worse in Antigua because there's less resources. There's probably less services outside from school. With him. I just really didn't quite know where it came from.

it just a lack of education? [:

Cath: it. Yeah. With something like this comes this. Amazing way of adapting your life to account for the fact that you can't read or whatever these things are.

Cath: And we see that in neuro divergent people here who are, who mask behavior and have to, to do things to try and be part of a broader society. And I think that's, yeah, that's right. That in itself takes huge strength and adaptability to, to be able to find your way in, in that way. Yeah. Yeah. That's right.

Cath: Yeah. Really interesting. And I was also interested, I guess from a identity point of view and, and a, a cultural point of view in that you had talked about his not knowing how old he was and then you discovered that he had, he'd been previously married and all these things that you were kind of discovering about him.

n things culturally and and, [:

Cath: And I'm, I was just fascinated with that complete polarity of the same, living a life, but viewing it very, very differently and, and how in the European, Australia, American way we think we're being. Kind of in control of things by knowing it and understanding something. But actually we trap ourselves at the same time.

Cath: Do you that way, because we, we have, we think, ha, things have to be like this. And then if they're. A certain way then that means something else. And actually it doesn't. Like it can just be carefree and be how it is.

. Well, if he hasn't told me [:

Regina: Am I missing? And I think that just really triggered my. Anxiety, my insecurity. Mm-hmm. You know, am I because of, of course. Then again, all those people that ca put into my head, oh, you know, antique men are, you know, taking advantage of you and all these ridiculous things that people say to you. They came up with avenge and I had to really take a lot of deep breaths and sort of go back and say, okay.

Regina: You know, I'm dealing with this person and I love him very much. And yes, some things are not very clear to me, but obviously we have a different way of recounting things and valuing things and am I not now gonna really spend a lot of time rehashing the past? Or am I just gonna live in the present? Yeah.

Regina: Yeah.

Cath: Which is, can be really scary living in the present.

na: Mm. Hard. That was hard. [:

Cath: What was the hardest thing about that in, in living in the present?

Regina: Oh, biggest challenge is for, for me, well, I had very little money. You know, money was a constant issue. And when you are in a country by yourself with very little social support, if money gets short, your survival is threatened.

Regina: Yeah. And like you mentioned before, you know, my relationship with my parents. Wasn't the best at the time. So yes, while they would've failed me out, I really didn't want to make that phone call. Yeah. So for me, you know, I put pressure on myself to survive. Mm-hmm. I wanted to survive. Mm-hmm. And that was probably the biggest worry for myself, I would say.

Regina: Mm-hmm. And also

Cath: you were, you were struggling to get. Work visas and people to try to help you and do things, and that is hugely stressful when you're on your own. And it's so easy to just think, oh, I can't do this anymore and choose to go. But when you're in love with someone, it's a bit

a: harder. Well, it was also [:

Regina: And you know, whether it would've been Switzerland or Australia, I would've needed some money to, either way. Yeah. Establish my myself, so, At the end of the day, it wasn't an option.

Cath: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. But also, do you think that's, like you say, it's not an option, but at the same time that it's a certainty that puts a boundary in that it makes you do things in ways that you wouldn't normally you develop a, a strength and a, a survival instinct.

Cath: That's a really interesting to observe because I could see that in the book, watching you get stronger and stronger and honing in on. Who you knew you were when you were, I mean, this, this was the whole part of the adventure, was exploring who you were and trying to find yourself essentially.

Regina: Yeah, that's right.

Mm-hmm. You know, that, that [:

Regina: Mm-hmm. Uh, I, I know like you could drop me anywhere and I know I can survive. Yeah. I'll find a way. Yeah. You know, and that's a good thing to know. Yeah. Yeah. It

Cath: is Because we, we have all the people that we love in our life, but actually we have to live with ourselves and we have to be in alignment with ourselves and we have to be able to, to exist in that way.

Cath: Mm-hmm. If, um, Anyone else is, is listening and is thinking about their adventure, what would you say to them? About wanting to go on one

nsurmountable mountain, then [:

Regina: So for me, you know, it was taking that first sailing course and really actually learning about sailing, seeing if I even like it. When I started writing the book, that was also an adventure. So it's the same thing. Mm-hmm. You know, I just started writing and then, you know, don't even think about publishing.

Regina: So whatever you dream is, I would say look at really small and achievable steps and start there. And f for me, what happened Once I started with those first steps, I sort of got, got invested in it, and the more Yeah, invested I got in it, the more passionate I got. About it. And so, you know, it sort of took on its own own life.

Regina: Mm-hmm. And in the end, it didn't actually take that much sin to make it come to life.

Cath: Mm-hmm. And I think that's a, a, a poignant thing that so often we have our, we have an idea and we think, Ooh, we could do that. And then our brain kicks in and starts to tell us all the reasons why something shouldn't happen.

Cath: And [:

Cath: Tell us what we shouldn't do.

Regina: Yeah. And we call it reason, but really it's not reason, you know, it's just holding back. Yeah. It's

Cath: protection. It it, and then it ends up trapping people if they Yeah, it can, well it can trap people. Yeah. And I think that's one of the lessons of the book is just to follow your heart.

Cath: Cuz every time you. Was starting to talk about finding a new boat or like going on a different, uh, with a different crew. I, my whole body was like, oh God, what are these people gonna be like? How's this gonna work? Because there were some really strong characters, and I was thinking that, that these challenges, they're challenges, but they're really good things as well because they've, they've pushed, pushed you in ways that you might not have been

Regina: before.

Regina: Mm-hmm. [:

Cath: Yeah. And that's life though, isn't it? Life doesn't, isn't always perfect things. Things happen and things don't happen. And so you are now living in Cairns and. I, I was gonna say, and Antigua's behind you, but is it really behind you? What are your plans for the future?

Regina: Is Antigua behind me? No, no, no way.

Regina: Like

Cath: you say that, like there's no way you could even bear that thought.

received the book. Two days [:

Regina: Yeah, that would be awesome. And he gives me all the support. Um, he's allowed me to share some of the pictures so some of them can be found on the website now. Yeah. You know, I would love to go back because it's like for all the ups and downs, I really, really love Antigo and it's people. It's been so incredible to me.

Regina: You know, I'd just love to go back. Yeah.

Cath: Yeah. I need to get there. I haven't been there yet. Yeah. It's

Regina: a fun place. Yeah,

Cath: no, it sounds, sounds wonderful. Before we finish, is there any wonderful wisdom or golden nugget that you'd like to share with listeners about your book, about life, about Antigua? Any.

look, I don't think I have a [:

Regina: And at the end of the day, you know, if you can open your heart and if you can follow what makes your heart sing, to me, that's the most rewarding that I've done in my life. Yeah. And I would not trade those memories for anything. So if, you know, if you have a dream, if you wanted, go for it, you know? It'll be the best thing you do.

Regina: Yeah, that's fantastic. And if plans change, they change and that's ok. Absolutely.

Cath: Absolutely. [:

Regina: sometimes. Yeah, that's right. And you know, for me that's the other thing I really learned during that time is that I had so many plans and nothing turned out the way I thought, but it turned out so much better.

Regina: Yeah. And I think when something changes, don't get upset. Just look at what options you have, choose the best option for you at the moment, and go for

Cath: it. Yeah, I love that approach. The carefree, you've just try it. So what? Try it. That's, that's the most important thing. Yeah.

Regina: And in the worst case, you can always pull out that credit card and fly home.

Regina: You know, like, yeah. That's, that's nothing lost.

Cath: No, absolutely. Absolutely. So, uh, really before we go, how can people find you? Where can people find your book? Uh, tell us all the ways to get in touch with Mm-hmm. On there, [:

Regina: Uh, a signed copy I sent them worldwide. Now also, like I mentioned, I, I'm so happy that I have some pictures there, so you'll just have to sign. Yeah, I'm dying

Cath: to see what people look like, that I've been

Regina: reading about. That's right. Well, you know, that's what I'm like when I read a memoir, I'm like, I wanna.

Regina: See what they look like. I wanted the middle

Cath: section of pictures

Regina: in the book. No, no, I wasn't gonna do that. But anyway, so now you can. Yes.

Cath: Fantastic. Alright, well I'll put those in the show notes anyway so people can

Regina: find those things. Yeah, that's right. And you know, otherwise the book available on Amazon in bookshops. You could order it in your local bookshops. Yeah, yeah.


dreams and not worrying and [:

Cath: Control to the wind. Really, it's, yeah, it's been really inspiring.

Regina: Wouldn't that be great? Right.

Cath: Yeah, the, the, the, the mind is willing, but the body didn't like that one. So anyway. No, thank you. It's been really enjoyable and really inspiring to read your story and to have this conversation. So thank you

Regina: very much. Oh, look, thanks to you. I really appreciate it, and it was, it is such a fun conversation.

Regina: Yeah. Fantastic.

Cath: Thank you

Regina: very much. Thank you, Cath bye-bye.