I spent a year in Australia working and traveling abroad from February 2014 to February 2015; a year I’ll always remember with a smile. I still remember the night before my flight having a full on panic attack, questioning my decision to go, wondering if I did all my research correctly, wondering what kind of fool gets on a plane to a foreign country with no real plans. Everyone is scared when traveling; traveling takes courage and strength if I’m honest.
Below are some key things I I learned during my travels in Australia and how this experience changed me after I returned home.
Cultural shock hit me the moment I hit the ground in Sydney, no joke. I still remember the dumb expression on my face when I received Australian change (coins) for the first time. Of all the studying I did, I forgot to look up their currency! I saved about $4,000 for my trip to Australia knowing I would end up working during my time in Australia. Big mistake my travel buddies!!
I made it just fine, but I would like to encourage all of you to bring or have access to at least $6,000. You need a safe cushion so you’ll be fine during your travels.
During my year in Australia, I worked at least 10 temp jobs, from telemarketing to being employed at Sealife Aquarium. When it comes to working in a foreign country leave your pride on the plane, please.
To save money I took up housekeeping at a hostel for the free room in board. In the job field you’re competing against other travelers as well as locals, take my advice and say “yes,” when a job opportunity arises.
I traveled around the East Coast and the South of Australia, completing my dream of holding a koala. The beaches, parties, boys, and freedom to be free for a change was so addicting and exciting.
My advice here is for you to travel in parts or wait till the last few months of your visa. I met so many other travelers that went broke so fast because they partied and bounced around with the idea they can find a job the same day their bank account went sour.
I actually traveled with a friend of mine to Australia and I’m so happy I did. We had our ups and downs, but it worked. I also met amazing people that became lifelong friends.
I honestly can’t believe how lucky I am, but I’m going to challenge you on this one; make a point to hangout with the locals! As travelers we have this very bad habit of sticking with other foreigners, stop it.
One day I was boarding the plane to Australia and within a blink it seemed like I was boarding a plane back to the US. Don’t take a single minute for granted, even the hard times you may have. Take your time and do this journey the right way.
Shortly after returning to the States I moved back to Arizona to continue working at the Grand Canyon National Park. Within a month of being back I was promoted to a supervisor position, management noticed the change in me since coming back from Australia. I became more open minded about life and about other people’s opinions.
I didn’t come back home the same person I was when I left; I grew up after that year and I am very thankful for the lessons I learned while working abroad in Australia.