Andres Baehr






Energy and Resources



By Andres Baehr

Everyone Has Baggage

I was seven weeks away from Oxford and already stressing out.

My flight out of Brisbane was due in four days and I had not packed one box or folded a single shirt. Without even knowing my post-MBA destination, I had to pack up my life and send it somewhere.  My scratched up desk, my trusty barbecue, my tired mattress and my full wardrobe, they all laid there, waiting for me to make a call.

“Look at all this rubbish,” my girlfriend would say while I struggled to make my pairs of socks match before placing them in a bag, “What have you exactly been doing for the last few days?”

I tried to explain. There was the university loan, colleges, travel plans, money arrangements, health check ups, pre-arrival homework, good-bye parties and career research. That last one being especially heavy. I originally had in mind a flashy profession in corporate procurement, but after further research, and discussions with industry and alumni, I felt the need to aspire to something else. So there it was – my stress and uncertainties– scattered together with my unmatched socks.

The first time I had ever packed up my life was when I left my home city, Santiago, and flew to Australia for what was intended to be a seven month trip. At home, waiting for me, was a job, a girlfriend and a dog. I had a plan. Seven and a half years later, I was still in Australia and the only one still waiting was the dog. Throughout that time, I had climbed from mango picker in north Queensland to managing a multimillion-dollar contract portfolio for a mining company. I met a special girl. ,The plan had changed.

Now I had an opportunity to travel light again. I gave away all of my furniture and sold the barbecue for fifty bucks. Then came the crates: stacks of books I would never read again, a pile of records but no record player and clothes I hadn’t worn in years.  All of this pre-loved rubbish began piling up in my kitchen, filling more and more plastic bags like lumps of lost fat. At the end it was just my backpack, a suitcase and a bag.

I believe that when the road calls you, there is no way of knowing your true destination. Life comes up with endless challenges, and what a better place to navigate these than at Oxford. It took some work, but as I began throwing out the bags of my past, I also began to discard the stress and uncertainty. I was feeling lighter.

The road now leads to SBS and some of this baggage is starting to look a lot better in the rear-view mirror.

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