I never predicted that 2018 would bring me here, to Australia. I suppose I always knew I would do something like this, I just didn’t and couldn’t predict when the opportunity would fall at my feet for me to be able to do so. But due to a few factors that I won’t bore you with, everything did eventually fall into place last year and the timing became perfect for me to leave home and board a flight down under.
I actually boarded a flight to Singapore first, a place I instantly fell in love with. I spent 2 days there, breaking up the mammoth journey from England to Australia. I loved Singapore so much because it was like nowhere I’d ever been before, it was my first insight into Asia and I’m yet to beat an experience as amazing as witnessing Gardens by the Bay.
Of course, not long after entering Australia I’ve been brought to another world of amazing experiences. I’ve loved nearly every place. A few highlights being; travelling the Great Ocean Road, swimming in a waterfall in Dorrigo, walking the incredible coastal walk of Port Macquarie, learning to surf in Yamba and pretty much every day in Byron Bay. I loved the daze of a lifestyle I was leading in Byron, strolling however far I felt like on the day, taking full advantage of the Australian café craze – which yes, the bank account probably didn’t appreciate, spending hours at the beach people-watching and ocean-watching, listening to cool street buskers and the sunset drummers at the beach, never knowing whether it was a Monday or a Sunday or anything in between.
Equally this travel lark has been sort of a strange little life. I live out of my rucksack in the small corner of a room shared with strangers from around the world. I start to settle in one place and before I know it, I’m bundling all of my belongings into my rucksack once again to catch an early morning bus to another place. I’ll have to start from scratch once again in a new place surrounded by new strangers, 90% of whom are doing the exact same route as me – Sydney to Cairns or vice versa – and I haven’t always been too keen on the unoriginal idea that I’m just one of many travelling the exact same route and having the monotonous conversations with others about the exact same route. On the flipside, who cares? Because it’s bloody beautiful and I have a feeling the further North I go, the more beautiful it will be.
So what’s next in 2019?
Well, about that… I finished this post and was supposed to upload it 5 days ago and then things went a bit bloody hectic! I mean, my version of ‘hectic’ is probably a bit different to yours (sliiiight exaggerator). But honestly, I arrived in Brisbane and as much as I have really liked this city, ever since I got here it’s felt a bit like being stuck on a never-ending treadmill. I’m becoming exhausted here and it could just be the long days of city walking, or the sudden contrast from doing not a lot of walking in Byron Bay, OR it could be something to do with the amount of planning that has been abruptly thrust upon me. Again, exaggeration. It hasn’t been THRUST upon me, I’ve known about it all along, I’ve just got too comfortable in a life of cruising along lazy beach towns and forgot that from the point I reach Brisbane, I would be hit with probably the most expensive part of my entire time here in Australia.
I know it seems like a ridiculous thing to feel stressed about but somewhere between searching hard for travel deals and finding deals that match your dates, to carefully watching your bank balance plunge, to feeling lost in a world of slimy travel agents who quite literally try to poach you off the street like hawks… it does start to feel a tiny bit stressful. And before all this, I was living a simple life of bliss in Byron…
Anyway, now as I write this to you from McDonald’s in Queen Street Mall, we’re back on track! My plan as it stands now sees me leaving Brisbane in 2 days to travel to Noosa where I will depart for a 3 day tour of Fraser Island. Next I have about 5 stops, spending 2-3 days in each – including the stunning Whitsundays – before I reach the grand finale, Cairns. After a week or so exploring Cairns, I will be ready to board a flight to Darwin in the Northern Territory from where I’ll be on another tour down towards Alice Springs. This is exciting for me because this was never in my original plan and now means spending 10 days travelling through the Outback of Australia!
And after seeing the Outback?
Honestly my brain has about 700 ideas just floating around in there, waiting for me to be able to decide the best option. I’ve had ideas of hopping over to New Zealand or Bali for a short time while I can still comfortably afford to do so. I’ve even thought way, way, wayyy ahead to backpacking and working in Europe after my year in Oz is up. But it’s silly of me to think so far ahead. I need to remember to focus on one thing at a time…
Right now, my mind is shifting more towards work. I know I can’t carry on this “holiday” part of the Working Holiday Visa for much longer before becoming poor. But even without it becoming a necessity, I want to work soon. I already know where I would ideally love to return to. If I haven’t already made it entirely obvious, it begins with a B and ends with a -yron Bay. It was the first place where I thought very deeply and carefully about completing my 88 days of farm work to secure a second year visa. Before then, I was convinced I wouldn’t do it and that one year in Oz would be enough but Byron was slowly bringing something out in me – not sure what – that felt really bloody lovely!
Generally – and hopefully – I think things are all on the up now that I’ve successfully passed the probation period of my journey. That’s what those first couple of months feel like, almost like you’re the newbie in a workplace learning the tricks of the trade. You have to come through all of that stuff, the awkwardness, the uncertainties and the not-knowing. And one day, you’ll be walking along, smiling, feeling proud as punch with yourself that you’re on the other side of the world, solo, and you’re actually doing more than alright.
I am 10 days late but I wish you all – wherever you’re reading this from – a very happy 2019!
If you liked this post, check out these:
‘Too Easy’ Guide To Getting Your Australian Working Holiday Visa
Singapore: More Than Just a Stopover
Melbourne: Thoughts On My First Week Down Under
Making The Most Of The East Coast: Fraser Island vs. The Whitsundays
3 Months On Australia’s East Coast: Itinerary & Spends
One Year Alone: The Bittersweet Truth To Solo Travel
Last Day in Australia: 20 Positive Things I’ve Experienced This Year