One Way Ticket -> Australia
Making the choice to quit my job, leave my friends and family to move to the other side of the world was a challenging one. It’s a process in which you have to weigh the pros and cons, do some (loads) of research and find the support and reassurance from close ones. But ultimately – through the mass amount of blogs and articles that you can read while exploring the possibility – you will only find your adrenaline and excitement building from the ample amount of positivity and passion that pours out from your soon-to-be fellow world travelers.
There’s heaps and bounds of things to consider and arrange before making the decision and departing. Such as – how will it feel to miss out on your family events (that’s the biggest one for me), what if something happens to someone you love, what if you get lost or don’t make any new friends in your new country? These were a few that quickly ran through my head as my travel partner and I tied all of the loose ends up to embark on our 12 month excursion.
Moving abroad, even on a 12 month Work and Holiday Visa, is a dream I have had since I studied abroad in London in 2012. However, as big as a dream as it may have been, I was unfortunately not financially stable or even wise enough to pull it off right after graduating. It took two years of holding down an 8 to 5 job (one that I am so grateful for and truly valued) to build the financial stability and learn more about being on my own in life after college to finally pull the trigger, take the leap, give it a go, jump the fence.
Giving my three weeks’ notice was one of the hardest things I have ever done. If I am being entirely honest, the hour or two before I pulled my boss aside, my heart felt like it was beating out of my chest, I was nearly sweating and I am sure my blood pressure was through the roof. But after I got over that hump and felt I could share my news with everyone – every single person was – almost – alarmingly and overwhelmingly supportive.
A lot of reactions were “Oh I’m so jealous, I wish I had done that” which was often followed by “but now I have kids” or “I never had the guts” or “I couldn’t afford it”. All of those are valid excuses that could yes, make it more difficult, but are not deal breakers if you set your mind to it or really want to – this makes it the perfect timing for me.
BUT, I digress, on to my trip!
Getting organized to move abroad was overwhelming and despite being a very organized person – I sure cut it close. I saved my last minute preparations and laundry to the night before, which I would not recommend. However, making copies the documents I needed (visa, bank statement, passport, etc.) and separating them into three folders (one for home, one for my carry-on and one for my checked luggage) was a big step. After that was squared away – packing came easier – at first. I may have resorted to packing too much – throwing in dresses, tanks, blouses and jeans in worries that I would miss things while I was away. I have regretted that a bit while traveling as it was extraordinarily heavy baggage to be lugging around. We will see as time goes if I take that back…
Once I made it to Los Angeles (Des Moines -> Chicago -> Los Angeles) and found my way to the departing gate around 11 pm, I was already tired. But the planes in TBIT (Tony Something International Terminal at LAX) are huge and mesmerizing. It is literally double decker plane after double decker plane and I hadn’t seen one before. We took Quantas over, which was really nice. We had dinner, a snack and breakfast served to us with newly released movies on the back of the seats in front of us. After dinner, I was able to sleep for maybe five hours – the rest of the trip? Pure agony. With such a long torso and back problems, I was squirming and adjusting for the next ten hours. I did get up to walk around every two hours or so. Walking around involved me doing some casual yoga stretchers to try to take away some of the pain, I need not tell you that there were some odd looks shot my way on the plane as that I am sure is obvious. The last half hour or so I just stood near the back of the plane because I couldn’t cope with sitting any longer. While I was standing there, an older couple who were returning home from a road trip in the states kept me company. I was told the legends of the snakes and spiders won’t affect me in the cities (to my great relief) and about barbies and prawns. That may have been my first interaction with a few Australians but was a great reflection on how most have gone thus far – they are so positively friendly and helpful. It makes it very easy to strike up a conversation which may easily turn into a friendship. Back home, aside from when you go to college, if you are moving somewhere or visiting I think it is more difficult to join a group of people – they are set with their friends and aren’t quite as open. Not always of course, but more commonly that way. THE POINT OF THIS PARAGRAPH IS, I will do as Uncle Bob does and splurge on first class when I make such a long trip again!
After landing around 7 am on October 1st, customs was fairly quick and easy to get through. Everything was very modern too –
there are kiosks that you scan your passport at and then a “photo recognition” booth that you stand at for 3 seconds and walk through to baggage claim. In the states or England I have always had to have a person look at my passport and ask a couple questions but that is not the case here. In the baggage claim area is where we got our passports stamped – which you have an option to do, it’s not required.
I think Kristin and I both slept the hour drive from the airport to our resort. Note, it will take some getting used to with kilometers as opposed to miles and kilograms instead of pounds. But once we arrived we were unable to check in for a few hours so we stored our luggage and went for breakfast (brekkie) at Lot 1.
I had scrambled eggs on turkish toast and a banana smoothie which hit the spot. The rest of the day was a bit of a blur – which makes sense – since we fell asleep at 5pm and woke up a 5 am the next day. One thing that has been very difficult is staying hydrated. I am almost a week in and I don’t think I have gotten close to rehydrated yet. I am not sure if I am ‘forgetting’ to drink water or it is the after effects of the long journey but I feel the pain sometimes from random cramps. Now, mind you, when we did wake up it was to the sunrise out of our balcony which we could see over the ocean :).
Our meeting with global was at 11 am so we had time to walk the beach a bit and check out Woolworths (similar to our HyVee) for groceries. For this meeting, we had to ‘dress to impress’ so we left ample time to get ready. The office was in one of the many skyscrapers here in the Gold Coast and about a block from our resort. They set us up with a phone, a bank account, a tax numbers and, thankfully, an interview over the phone at 2 pm that day.
The phone interview went well and we have second in person interviews on Tuesday at 1 pm about 20-30 ride on the tram South. We use a GoCard which is similar to an Oyster card that I used in London for the tram – it reminds me a bit of San Francisco. But the job would be with Imagine That Photography (http://imaginethat.net.au/) – they do photographs for families and children which look like the photos the twins had done after they were born (you can check out their Facebook page). They have 10 mobile sites around Australia (Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide, etc.) and travel across the major cities every 2 to 4 weeks. Our travel and accommodation would be taken care of too – a big bonus for us. There are pros and cons obviously – Pros being that we get to go to cities that we may not have gotten the chance to otherwise (i.e. Perth on the West Coast) and we don’t have to try to squeeze it into one weekend, the travel is also paid for and we get the chance to learn something new! Cons, well, living out of a suitcase and not fully settling in somewhere… but that’s kind of what I came for right??
Since then we have been hanging out with a footie team who are staying next door to us and they are from Melbourne. Their ages range from 20 – 28 and some pay to play while others get paid to play. They have been a great time and fun to go out with while they have been here. We have also learned a lot from them in regards to the slang…
Breakfast – Brekkie
Afternoon – Arvo
Woolworths – Woolys
Slab – Case (of beer)
Goon – Boxed Wine
Bottle-O – Liquor Store
Blower – Phone
Pitcher – Jug
Chug it – Skull it
Burger King – Hungry Jacks
McDonalds – Maccas
Shrimp – Prawns
Barbecue – Barbie
Every word – cut it in half and add an “A” at the end
We also watched the “superbowl” of Australia between Hawthorne and the West Coast AFL on Saturday with the same footie
team at The Envy in Broadbeach. it is a fifteen minute tram ride south which is where we first used our GoCards. With GoCards you have to check in to get on the tram and check out when you get off – it is interesting because it is so easy to forget. They aren’t on the doors or required necessary so if you forget when you are hurrying off then it will mess up the amount you are charged. As for the ‘superbowl’, I still don’t understand a lick of it but it seemed like a good time, the game wasn’t close though. FOOD! I would highly recommend Lot 1 for Brekkie, Beach Cafe Pizzeria and Bar for lunch/dinner with a Pear Cider and Kitty O’Shea’s for drinks and dinner in Surfers Paradise. I also really enjoyed Melbas for a few drinks, good music and great atmosphere!
This post seems to lack detail as I’ve been here for six days now but other than experiencing new bars, which stay open till 5 am or so (don’t worry I could hardly make it to midnight before going to bed), and spending ample time at the beach we have just been wandering, exploring and meeting new people. Again, Surfers Paradise is very touristy so it feels a lot like a vacation. It is Monday, October 5th, which is a national holiday here so there are a lot of closed stores but the weekends definitely go by just as fast here as back home.
Today we checked off the Skypoint Observation deck on our to do list. It is one of the highest buildings in Australia and the observation deck is on the 78th floor.There are, of course, amazing views – you’d be surprised at how big and beautiful the Gold Coast really is. There’s a breathtaking 360 degree view from Level 77 and 78 which is definitely that highlight. There are also visual displays to illustrate key points of interest and history in the region and finally, there are high power binoculars. You can see endless miles of ocean to the East and to the West are the mountains with a purple and orange painted sunset – we were able to capture some great pictures.
I think there will be much more to blog about if (FINGERS CROSSED) we land these jobs and get to see new places often. I am excited to see cities or towns that are a bit less touristy, with less of a Vegas feel, and get to experience more of the local life. Good night xx