I’m not going to lie. It’s been a rough few months.
My travel plans suddenly changed in November. I was originally planning to move to Thailand. But one thing led to another and my plans backfired. Also, Australia continued to pop in my head. The question of what if continued to arise. For years I’ve wanted to live and work in Australia. However, I lacked the courage to take it seriously. I also lacked the money but if we’re being honest here… I’m always going to lack the money. No matter how much I save or try not to spend. The true problem was courage because if we’re being honest here… it’s takes a lot of courage to get on a flight and move to the other side of the world – especially if you’re leaving the only life you’ve ever known. It’s scary. It’s unpredictable. There’s uncertainty. There’s doubt.
It sounds silly saying this since I’m in my mid-20s but, damn, I have a lot of growing up to do. I don’t know how to do my taxes from the very little income I earned last year. And for the past few days I’ve been going crazy (and still am) trying to understand different travelers’ insurance policies and understand the lingo. But after hours of looking at something, I still don’t know what the right fit is for me. It comes down to just wanting to shut everything off and hide in a corner just so I can breathe.
Then I’m still trying to figure out all the bank stuff—because again, there’s so much I don’t know how to do. Or I feel like I don’t know how to do. Because sometimes I just feel so clueless.
Even so, every time I say it out loud, I feel like I’m going to throw up. Sometimes when I’m sitting alone with my thoughts, I feel like I’m going to break down in tears. Then I get an overwhelming feeling of holy-shit-I have-SO-much-to-do-from-uncluttering-my-stuff-to-figuring-out-what-to-pack-to-figuring-out-the-international-bank-lingo-to-figuring-out-the-travelers-insurance-lingo-and-OMG.
And then I step into a huge icy puddle and my boots get completely soaked because they aren’t the best for nasty Chicago winters and I think, “This won’t happen in Australia, right?”
I don’t know if there’s a word for what I’m feeling. Scared? Excited? Stressed? Bipolar?
It wasn’t easy to come to the decision to move to Australia, even though I talked about it for years. As stated, I had other travel plans I was working on—something that made more sense logically and financially. And I worked and worked on these plans for months and months, but in an instant my plans didn’t go as planned, and I was forced to go back to drawing board.
a) I’m in my 20s and am eligible for the Work and Holiday visa.
b) It’s a culture similar to mine in the USA and as a beginner traveler, it seems like a good start for me.
c) I don’t know how to cook a damn thing. And as a vegetarian who wants to travel, that scares me. (Note to self: learn a few recipes.)
The heart wants what the heart wants.
I finally started seriously looking into this Australia thing. And not just sitting on the couch and saying I’m going to go to Australia, but actually doing research and contacting people about it. And what’s any life-changing journey if there are no doubts along the way? You know that OMG-I’M-GOING-TO-END-UP-LIVING-UNDER-A-BRIDGE-AND-GET-DEPORTED doubt. You guys know that type of doubt, right?
This is why I strongly considered signing up with a program. And I contacted several of them and asked them a ton of questions. But I also contacted people who did the WHV, and no one signed up with a program and they all agreed that is possible to do everything yourself.
You see, I have trouble making decisions—important-life-altering-decisions. In the end, I decided to not sign up with a program—even if some of them were throwing around appealing words like Guaranteed and Paradise. And especially when they were throwing around words like Guaranteed and Paradise.
With words like those, who wouldn’t want to jump on it? I almost did.
Guaranteed = a sense of security
Paradise = happiness
Who wouldn’t want a guaranteed job in paradise? I sure did. However, Guaranteed and Paradise may not be that great after all.
Also, what good would I be doing myself if I just paid a company tons of money to do the work for me? The decision was hard and I constantly went back and forth with signing up a company and not signing up with one. I also felt pressured to sign up with some of them because they threw around phrases and words like “first come, first serve” and “you have to sign up by so-and-so date to get access to the Skype job fair so you can get your guaranteed placement in paradise…”
These are the type of words that makes my heart pound a little faster and make me think that I should hurry up my decision and put down a deposit ASAP. But I’m glad I waited, did some research, and talked to people who did the WHV without the use of a program. After all, this is my decision. And if I can’t decide by their deadlines then so be it. I’m not missing anything important.
I decided to figure things out on my own by reading articles, contacting people who’ve done it and taking it one step at a time. And one step at a time I did. Even if I was driven absolutely bananas in-between each step. (Note: I’m in-between MANY steps right now and I am, indeed, going bananas.)
Applying for the visa wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be—though it did take me longer to get approved then I thought it would. Deciding on the departure date (April 1) was a step. And then buying the flight ticket was, yet, another step. Though honestly, I think the hardest step will be to leave my dad, since it’s just been the two of us for a really long time now.
But the heart wants what the heart wants. I’ve slowly (very slowly) started telling people last month about my new plans. (Very, very slowly.) And I still have a lot more people I need to tell. I didn’t even feel comfortable updating my Facebook status with the life-changing news. In a weird way, all of last month, I felt like it was fake. Almost like someone was playing a prank on me. I feel like someone will jump out at any moment and shout “HA HA, sike.”
As surreal as it feels, I’ve been slowly telling people and observing their reactions. And truth be told, it’s been kind of fun to see peoples’ reactions so far. Every time I tell someone (especially strangers) about what I’m doing I get all sorts of reactions. Some are curious and ask questions (though some of the questions I can’t answer). Others give me a crazy look or a I-Wish-I-Could-Do-That look. But every time, I have to mentally prepare myself before I tell anyone because they’re going to have questions. They’re going to be curious. Some might be envious. Some might even call me brave. Others might call me crazy. But every time I say it out loud, to anyone, I feel like I’m going to throw up.
There are still many, many people I haven’t told yet, especially my relatives. And although I’m not as close with them as I should be, if anyone is going to ask me a ton of questions, it’s going to be my relatives.
The heart wants what the heart wants. Even if what my heart wants will make me throw up after I hit publish. But that’s a good thing, right?
Now that I wrote this very emotional post, I need your help (or just support ). This is my first big trip ever. This is my first time moving anywhere, ever. I’ll be arriving in Sydney, however, I’m unsure if I will stay there or not.
1) Do you know people in Australia that you can connect me to?
2) Have you had experience working in Australia? Do you have job searching tips for me?
3) Are you a vegetarian? Have any cooking tips for a girl who can’t cook? Any (cheap) restaurants in OZ I should keep an eye out for?
Share your story, experiences, travel tips, etc. Comment below or feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org