I met Patricia Goettler at a social gathering after a Sunday night service at Hillsong Church in Melbourne. Patricia is a joy to be around, and she enjoys a good laugh. Interesting fact about Patricia: her eyes immediately well up with tears as soon as she giggles.
Patricia is full of life and really wants to get out and see and do as much as she is able. She’s easy-going and always up for adventures. She can join a group and contentedly sit back and enjoy being a part of it with a good balance of engaging with other people and absorbing the moment.
I admire Patricia’s willingness to step out of her comfort zone and take risks. She doesn’t wait for things to be perfect before changing course or making a decision. Rather, she seizes opportunities as they are presented and works out the details along the way.
Patricia and I traveled to Rottnest Island together and had so much fun. The day started with dark clouds and drizzling rain, which was not ideal for exploring the island on our shoddy rental bikes. But the miserable conditions were made comical by our reaction and being together. Had I been alone, I would have been frustrated and annoyed. But because I was with Patricia, I was able to laugh at the absurdity of the experience, making the trip that much more enjoyable.
Patricia is: joyful, venturesome, reserved
Patricia, 24, was born in Dachau, Germany. She spent the first five years of her life in Germany, living in Munich and Taufkirchen. Her family relocated to the United States of America when she was five, moving to Spring Bay, Illinois. They lived there for several months and then moved to Germantown Hills, where her parents have lived ever since. Patricia said the town was settled by Germans, but the only remaining German influence is the street names.
She said she is close to her family, thanks in part to her traveling. “I think I’ve gotten closer with them as I’ve gotten older and farther away,” she said. Her father, Gottfried (aka Fredi), is German, and her mother, Maria, is American. She has a younger brother, Christoph. And a 10-year-old dog, Louie.
Patricia lived with her father before moving away, but now they are more intentional about talking to each other. She talks with her mother more often now as well. Her family is incredibly important to her, and they are a constant source of support and strength. “I have family that I can always fall back on if I need them and that are always supportive of me,” she said.
Patricia said the hardest part of traveling is being away from home and not having her family, or dog, around. She worries about missing out on important moments at home, but doesn’t want to miss out on her own important moments. “You never know what’s going to happen in life, and if you are always playing things on the safe side, then you won’t experience things,” she said.
And if it weren’t for her family, she probably wouldn’t have begun exploring the world. Patricia said that because she is half German, she was motivated to learn German, and while studying the language in high school she ended up taking a month-long school trip to study in Germany. Then she studied abroad in Germany again for a semester during university. She also visited her family in Germany with her dad and brother between her study abroad experiences. And she returned for the fourth time a year and a half ago for her grandma’s 80th birthday.
During her time in Germany she took short trips to Italy, Spain, France, Belgium, Finland and the Netherlands. Some places she visited for a week, others (like Helsinki, Finland) for just six hours during a long layover on her way to Munich. “It sounds like a lot of places, but I’ve only tapped a toe in many of them,” she said.
Patricia is currently living in Australia and has been in the country for 7 months. She’s spent most of her time living and working in Melbourne. But she recently moved to New South Wales to complete her farm work so she’s able to extend her working holiday visa.
She decided to come to Australia after randomly reading a blog about the country. She started researching Australia and decided she wanted to see it for herself. “I was supposed to be in university now and then I read a blog, and now I’m here,” she said.
Patricia said she travels because, in general, she’d rather regret doing things than not doing them. “I just kind of feel like I want to go new places,” she said. “I’m kind of adventurous.”
And she seizes the opportunities that come her way. When she studied in Germany, she joined an excursion to Amsterdam without knowing anyone on the trip, because she didn’t want to miss the experience even though she was worried about going solo. She said it was a positive experience and has given her courage to step out of her comfort zone. “I’m more willing to take risks when I don’t know what the outcome is going to be,” Patricia said.
She said that things usually work out well and she always has the option to book a flight home if they stop working. And she encourages anyone who is considering traveling to stop considering and start traveling. “Just go for it,” she said. “Even if it scares you, go for it. Because you can always go back home if you don’t like it. Just getting out the door is the harder part.”
Her faith has also played a big role in shaping her life and giving her confidence and comfort. “I think that knowing that my faith in God is something that is unchanging no matter what I’m doing, and that He has a purpose for my life is comforting even if I don’t know what it is,” Patricia said. “At least I know Jesus, and I know where I’m going to end up in the end.”
Finally, Patricia describes herself in three words: adventurous, indecisive, introverted.