Have you been to Australia? I have not – it’s on the list. Therefore, I have been living vicariously through my lovely friend Kate. She has been living and travelling throughout the land down under for the last six months and is now getting ready to come back home (yay!). While I am still sifting through my Japan and Taiwan photos and writing related posts, I asked Kate if she’d be so kind as to write a summary of her trip and share some photos for a guest post. (Idea courtesy of another lovely friend, Stef, another West Coast city girl, who writes her Broad World blog from across the Atlantic while on her own adventure in London.) Kate is one of the most inspiring and brave people I know and I am really happy to share her musings and photos.
Kate’s Adventures in the Land Down Under (October 14, 2013 – March 30, 2014)
Australia is the home of the kangaroo and koala… my childhood favourites, especially because my name starts with a “K”. In Spring 2013 I was living in Vancouver, Canada, had a good job, life and friends etc… but I was ready for a change. No new jobs were looking interesting so I thought why not travel?
I was fortunate to take a six month leave of absence from work and planned to arrive in Australia in October. They say everything is backwards and in some cases it is… but they could say the same about us.
When I arrived it was spring, where it was fall (or autumn as Aussies call it) in Canada. They drive on the other side of the car/road, as a courtesy you walk to the left not the right, same with escalators. Pedestrians do not get the right away. So many new and exciting things to understand.
I was fortunate to start my trip with my parents and we did quite the road trip starting in Sydney and then renting a camper van (I was the designated driver) and traveling along the coast towards Melbourne. Soooo many beautiful sights along the way, including blow hole, lighthouses, penguins, 12 Apostles, London Bridge and rain. The weather was very spring like with rain and cool (I didn’t come prepared). I suggest every person should try camper vanning here as the facilities here are very good (and I am not typically a camper). We continued on to Adelaide then over to Tasmania then up to Brisbane back down to Sydney. These are memories that my parents and I will share forever.
Following my parents’ departure I went and stayed with some friends in Melbourne – such a unique and fun place. I enjoyed a food festival, bike ride along the river, runs along the beach, and amazing sunsets. It was relaxing! At the same time, I was trying to find work but the market wasn’t there for short term jobs.
So I made the jump back to Sydney where I have now been for 3.5 months, have lived in 4 places, some including flatmates, and got used to taking transit everywhere instead of driving. Finding temp work was still a challenge and even though I was able to pick up a few shifts over my time with the only consistent work being the last 5 weeks, I have come to even more so appreciate my life in Vancouver and having that consistent pay check allowing you to pay for the necessities and enjoy some social outings; it was a bit of a disappointing feeling that I needed to restrict activities etc.
But I really found great ways to fill my time including walking everywhere, even to just check out an area or enjoy the beautiful coast and the beach. Those activities were truly enjoyed and I want to make sure I keep doing them more often when I return to Vancouver. Note to anyone who is wanting to or is planning to travel to Australia and especially Sydney: it is very costly for accommodations, etc. So just be ready for that and also that there is no drip coffee here!
In late January I had my roommate come and join me from Canada, this being her first time. As with any adventure there is a lot to see and do, we have done some great hikes and have shared absolutely everything together with only a few moments of frustration! Now that’s a true BFF! For our last week in the land down under we are doing a trip to Brisbane, Cairns and Gold Coast. I have been lucky to have been to a number of these spots once or twice already but to have that last week for fun is going to be great.
I have met amazing people, done amazing things and have just had a great life break. I am excited to see what my next chapter of life in Vancouver looks like: going back to work with a hopeful new love for my job, seeing old friends, and continuing a relationship that was newly formed before I left.
Everyone needs to remember that taking breaks is good and can make your life better, physically and emotionally. I have chronic kidney disease and my function reached new heights while I have been here. I hope to take my experiences home with me and continue to grow into a person who appreciates everything in life and make a difference one day at a time. Now to plan my next adventure… maybe not as far or as long but I am a traveller at heart.
– Kate xoxo