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Wanderlust: Larissa Hrstic

Emma Macdonald

WE MEET THE WOMEN WHO GAVE IN TO THEIR WANDERLUST AND DID SOMETHING A LITTLE CRAZY, A LOT BRAVE AND ULTIMATELY LIFE-AFFIRMING WHEN THEY PACKED UP THEIR ORDINARY LIVES AND TOOK THE PLUNGE.

At 28, florist and stylist Lady Larissa took off for London and a date with the Chelsea Flower Show.

WHEN DID YOU FIRST FALL IN LOVE WITH FLOWERS?

I basically fell into floristry doing work experience at age 15 and completing a Certificate III in Floristry while at Narrabundah College.

I then did a Bachelor in Graphic Design at UC, but I don’t fancy the desk and computer life. I fell back in love with flowers and have not looked back.

WHAT TOOK YOU TO LONDON?

I had been travelling a fair amount the years before and something about London spoke to me. The flower scene there is very big. The city set my soul on fire and I just knew I had to go back.

I went with the intention of finding a few months’ work experience to take back with me so I could start my own business and also bought tickets to the Chelsea Flower Show – which is like Floriade on steroids.

As soon as I got off the flight in Gatwick and onto the train to London I couldn’t stop smiling. I felt free, more me than I had ever been before despite not really knowing anyone, or having a set schedule. Everything just fell into place because I had left my plans half open and to chance. I ended up staying on for two years and don’t think I would have ever left the UK if my visa permitted me to stay.

HOW DID YOU SETTLE IN?

I just kind of winged it and was proactive in taking myself around and emailing a bunch of florists I liked the look of. In most cases I was lucky to meet the right people at the right time. I think it’s always best to have some sort of direction but more importantly follow your heart and go with the flow and that gut feeling.

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THE PROS AND CONS?

There were many pros – learning to be independent and finding an inner happiness and spark I never knew existed. I took a risk and had the time of my life. I gained so much from freelancing for different florists, I made beautiful friends and opened myself up to a new world. I also travelled a lot.

Cons were missing family and friends, and missing out on special milestones and events.

I remember breaking down at the airport with my mum. Despite thinking I would only be gone a few months – I remembered asking her “What the hell am I doing with my life?”. Mum just smiled and replied, “you’re going to have a good time”. It was all the comfort I needed. And she was right.

WHERE DID YOU LIVE?

I lived in an incredible warehouse with three others in East London. Amaia, a trained ballerina and sarcastic Basque beauty; Kent, 
a Canadian director, older brother figure and spirit lifter; and Henrick, a Norwegian Englishman environmentalist and writer who made me laugh a lot. These three people soon became my family, and with Mayo the cat then there was five. People within that area are all so friendly, and you quickly become linked with different groups of people especially with Facebook.

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East London attracts more of a creative kind of person. It’s full of freelancers, actors, artists, models, musicians, film makers, dreamers. The warehouse lifestyle also linked everyone together and we would often cross paths and just hang out with each other at the local brewery after work, or at a party in a neighbouring flat. Everyone is in the similar boat of being a young working professional, wanting to have a good time.

HOW HAVE YOU CHANGED?

I am much more independent. I just strive to do what I love and the money follows. I still dream of returning to London. Everything still feels a bit unfinished. My ideal situation would be to spend six months in each country. What a dream, to never miss a summer!

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This article originally appeared as part of our Wanderlust article in Magazine: Escape for Summer 2016/17. Find out more about Magazine here

Magazine Edition 7: Escape

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Emma Macdonald

Emma Macdonald has been writing about Canberra and its people for more than 20 years, winning numerous awards for her journalism – including a Walkley or two – along the way. Canberra born and bred, she’s fiercely loyal to the city, tribally inner-north, and relieved the rest of the country is finally recognising Canberra’s cool and creative credentials.

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