Some of you may know that I will be spending most of 2016 in Australia. I’ve had this planned for a while, but it’s getting close to actually happening! I thought I’d explain why and how I’m moving, since a lot of people have asked. When I moved to London in late 2013, I had the easy explanation of “for work”, as my company got me the visa and helped with moving expenses and everything. But this case is different, as this move is not through work at all. There is a possibility of working for my company remotely, but I’m not counting on that, and they’re not supporting this move at all.
The simple answer to the question of “Why are you doing this?” is “Because I want to.” Just me! I am young and unattached, and I’ve been wanting another big adventure since before I even returned to Indiana from London. Based on everything I’ve heard over the years from fellow travelers, Australia seemed like the best option. They have a Work and Holiday visa for people 30 and under that is super easy and quick to get that allows you to travel around the country for up to a year and work at one place for up to 6 months at a time. It is a huge and diverse place, and even people who’ve lived there a long time usually haven’t seen everything the country has to offer. I also heard about a program called BUNAC that helps international travelers with local support on jobs, accommodation, and paperwork, so I am using that program as well.
As for the logistics, which I’ve gotten a lot of questions about:
- My move date is based on when the lease to my apartment is up, February 7th – that way I don’t have to worry about finding a sub-leaser or buying out my lease.
- My precious kitty cat is staying with a trusted friend who loves her and who I know will take good care of her while I’m gone (otherwise this would not be happening at all – I will miss her more than anything else, but it is simply not feasible to fly her to the other side of the world and quarantine her on my budget and with her and my anxiety).
- After doing a bit of purging (I’ve already started giving some non-necessities away) most of my belongings will be stored at my mom’s, since she lives on a farm and they have a good amount of extra space. I am planning on taking one large suitcase and one small one with me, or possibly a backpack instead of the small suitcase, haven’t fully decided on that yet. This will be mostly just clothes, my laptop, and a book or two. I asked for people to give me donations or small/consumable goods for the holidays, and I have mostly stopped buying things for myself the last few months – the less I have to pack up and store, the better. The good news is that I will be arriving during Australia’s summer, so I don’t need to take a lot of bulky clothes with me, and I can buy additional things as needed.
- My uncle offered to store my car, so I’ll be leaving it at his place. I’m not the biggest car person, but would prefer not to have to buy a new one when I come back.
- After moving my stuff to storage and leaving my apartment, I’m going to make a couple of stops to visit family for a week, fly from Chicago to Portland, OR, spend another week with good friends there, and then fly from there to Los Angeles to Sydney, arriving February 21st.
- I’ve had my one-way plane ticket to Sydney since last summer, as those only get more expensive closer to the date. I’ve already got hostel accommodation booked for the first week upon arrival, and I will be doing pre-planned activities with other BUNAC travelers during that week as well.
- I will be starting off in Sydney for at least a week or two, but I’m not sure yet if I’ll be staying there for a few months or heading straight to Melbourne; it all depends on the job opportunities. I do know that I’d like to live in Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth for a while each, and I have a long list of other places to visit. I will be going with the flow on all this. Most of the time, I’m planning on living in an apartment either by myself or with a roommate or two, just depending on jobs and funds and availability of accommodation.
- I’ve already bought health Australian insurance for the full year to make sure I’m covered should something happen.
- If my current job doesn’t end up being doable from Australia, I’m confident I’ll find some sort of work once I get there, whether it be fruit picking or working as a waitress, I just need to make enough money to keep me going for the year. I’ve got enough savings to get me started until I find a job and longer term accommodation as well as enough to get a plane ticket back, whenever that may be.
- My visa is for a year, so that is how long I’m currently planning on staying, but it could be shorter or longer, depending on what happens during my time there. Due to the expensiveness and distance of air travel to/from Australia, I’m not planning on coming back to the US to visit during that year.
- I don’t yet know what I’ll be doing after Australia or after that 1-year visa is up. If I love it, I could find a way to get another visa and stay longer. I could continue my travels to another country. I may come back to the US, and if I do, I may come back to my home state of Indiana for a while or move right away to Portland, Oregon, where I’d like to live at some point. I’ll decide this toward the end of my time there, because a lot can change in a year and I’m purposely leaving my possibilities open at this point.
- Nope, I don’t have any friends in Oz! I have a couple of acquaintances I met while in London that I will probably connect with, and a couple of friends of friends, but I will be making an active effort to make friends locally and be social with other travelers. I do like travelling solo, but living somewhere long term is a whole different thing. Being outgoing doesn’t come naturally to me, but it’s a challenge I’m prepared for. Walking up and striking up conversations in hostels, going to meetups, joining clubs. It’s happening, because I’ve always had automatic friends wherever I’ve lived before and I don’t think it’ll be that easy this time! Flirting is possible as well, because like I said, I am currently unattached. 😉
I’m so excited – let the adventure begin!!