Last Thursday I realised (thanks to Facebook memories) that it had been 5 years since I first set foot in Australia.
Between that day and this I have lived in Sydney and now Cairns. I have done stints in Perth, The Gold Coast and Melbourne.
I still haven’t been cage diving in Port Lincoln, nor have I ”done the East Coast” but trust me when I say; ”I’ll get there eventually”.
Here’s a few views on how I see ‘Straya;
- First up; I LOVE Aussies, the accents, the laid back life styles, the ”yeah, nah, nah, yeah”, their never ending love for their country, the fact they live the actual dream on the daily.
- Many Aussies barely travel internationally – let’s face it, they don’t need to. Australia is the 6th biggest country in the whole wide world! You could travel your own country forever and never see it all. You could never see it all and you could never get bored! There is something for everyone and when people claim to live in paradise, it’s true – they actually do.
- Aussies make the most of EVERY Bank Holiday / long weekend. They book off extra days and travel cross country to another piece of bliss.
- Finishing early on Fridays and partying all weekend is normal.
- Sydney is called the ”Nanny state” but is one of the best party scenes on the planet – house parties a go, go – there is always a Kick On or 10 to get involved in.
- Bondi Beach is a VIBE. Love it or hate it, the feeling of the place is like no other I have been to before or since.
- Farming to secure your second year visa is without a doubt one of the best things you can do in your whole life. I did four months in 2014. If you are looking for a place to go, go to Bundaberg (aka Fundaberg), about 8 hours train ride from Brisbane. Go to Federal (Feds) Hostel and tell them Lara Lain sent you. If you can; get on Attards tomato farm and start living that outback dream! I would go back to those days in a millisecond if I had the chance.
- If your life is attached to your visa be prepared for 10 tonnes of shit to hit you as you navigate your way through the system. You will hear stories from your mates ”I got sponsored right away” then you will hear horror tales like ”I nearly had to leave the country” … whatever path is carved for you, in my experience and from what I have seen so many of my mates go through – you will need a thick skin and gritty determination to come out the other side with the Golden Ticket of Permanment Residency (PR).
Breaking down where I have lived (or visited) and what I truly feel about them;
- Melbourne; Melbs is cool AF. It is thick in culture and deep in parties. Think galleries and thrift shopping by day and underground parties on Chapel Street by night. It is ‘sick’. Everyone should visit Melbs. Depending on the type of person you are you may well fall in love with the place and make it your home. It’s not named the ”most liveable city in the world” for nothing!
- Sydney; Sydney had my heart from the third day I was there in May 2014 and that will never change. Bondi is in my blood. I want everyone to visit Sydney if they ever get the chance and I always look forward to taking my family there someday. Sydney is what I like to say ”a bit’a me” and it always will be.
- Cairns; I am currently about to come into my fifth month in Cairns. Without a shadow of a doubt it is full of some of the nicest people I have ever met. It is also a secret paradise that many people never consider visiting. Cairns is a backpackers party haven; cheap to live, easy to get around and everyone looks out for each other – again, I highly recommend everyone comes here at least once in their life.
- The Gold Coast; I love the Goldie. I went to see my friends three or four times in last year alone – it’s always a good time and ”feels really Aussie”. Burleigh Heads is one of my fave spots in Aus – every time I leave plotting my return visit.
- Adelaide; I have family in Adelaide – I visited them yearsss ago (I think 13 years or so now) and had a lovely first experience in Aus. I recommend hitting the famous wineries and getting out to Kangaroo Island to get stuck in with the wildlife. Claim to fame; A koala poo’d on my head from high up in a tree at a national park, immediately after I looked at it and said ”he’s guna poo on me” … #livethedream haha!
- Perth; I visit Perth at least once a year to see one of my besties and her lovely family. Perth is always fab. It has everything – if you want a good set up for your family, you can find it in Perth.
13 of the best things I have done in Australia
- Polo By The Sea – horses, the sea and champagne in the Gold Coast. YES
- Partied in Sydney – SASH, The Greenwood, The Bucketlist, Beach Road, Electric Gardens, Good Bar, Oxford St … the list goes on
- Bungy Jumped. A lot – work perk alert!
- Run by the coast – Bondi Beach to Coogee = best running route in the world
- Cattle muster – two days on horseback in the outback. Unreal.
- Farming 12 hour days, 7 days a week in the 40 degree heat. Welcome to farm work!
- Got proper stuck in to my personal training and health – thank you @bodiesbyjax, you ledge!
- Explored Cairns’ nature – it is unreal and the options are never-ending.
- Lived and breathed Bondi Beach – my happiest place in the world
- Worked multiple high-profile jobs – my experience is broad and my marketing skill-set is ever growing.
- Surfed! Yeahhhhhh! Buying my own board was a special day! Like getting my first car all over again!
- Started horse riding again! All of the yay! My heart!
- Been broken and fixed myself more times than I can remember – it all counts for making you a better version of you in the end.
How have I done this all on my own?
I am 34 in August – at which point I will be coming into my 8th year as a ”single Welsh girl (still) chasing her dreams”. While I have been ‘alone’ in the sense of not having a long term man in my life there have been plenty of short-term peeps to keep me busy! Some have been fun. Some have been a disaster. All have been a story!
On the whole, I look back and know I’ve had a ‘f**king good time!’. I have stories about men that are both hilarious, shocking and often endearing – I have had so much fun and learnt so much. My main learning being; you really do only live once, so keep having fun!
What I haven’t had in a man, I have found in my friendships. I have so many good people I know I can call on come rain or shine. Moving around so much has made me adaptable to most types of people and situations – I love my mates and am so glad we’ve made so many stories together in Aus.
If you ever wonder how strong you are; go travel on your own, then stay away for an extended time. You will see depths of yourself you can’t imagine existed – being away, especially solo makes you a next-level version of you. In the least cheesey way possible; you really are doing life the way so many could not. It ain’t easy but if you’ve got it in you it will work out to be one of the best things you ever do. Strong fact.
How many times have I wanted to leave Aus?
Seriously it’s been once that I thought I ”needed” to go home and another time when I thought the ”love of my life” was waiting for me in the UK. Luckily for me, both these (now absurd) thoughts became dust in the wind.
At the moment I am on the countdown to applying for my PR. When that email comes through to confirm I have it I will have kinda done everything I wanted to do in life. Kinda … I still have cage diving with sharks and the East Coast to get ticked off too hey! 😉
What are my main lessons from the last 5 years?
When I left the UK in January 2014 I said I was doing it with a ‘never say no’ mindset. I always lived this way growing up while smashing life in Cardiff and London. Taking that bold attitude with me as I scouted the globe and set up camp in Australia ensured I have built memories I will treasure forever … I think it is really important to go out and LIVE.
My idea of LIVING is working hard in a good job (I only work for global leading brands!) and seeing life outside of work as a party! A life-party to me includes the gym, running, horses, time with friends, dogs, booking trips, more travel, fun with guys (while I ultimately keep my peepers open for THE ONE) and of course actual PARTIES. We held an epic party in work on Saturday and I loved every second – I met so many good people and felt alive. There is no way I am too old for that kind fun just yet!
I once gave up drinking for 6 months because I thought I should – looking back now that was not the right thing for me at all. I was fighting myself and being so quiet made me miserable – it’s all about balance and my balance needs to have FUN and keep me busy. Being social is a big part of who I am – but sometimes you gotta go down a weird path to understand what you REALLY want.
When living in a different country you don’t have the ‘normal’ things; friends, family, the family dog to comfort you – you have to find solace in new experiences and people. Australia can (sometimes) be a place where you think ”What the f**k’ am I doing here without the people I love? / Why did I leave them? / Am I selfish for leaving?” …
I think it’s fair to say anyone who moves to a new country and decides to stay put is going to go through this multiple times – after a while (it took me until my 4th year!) you accept that hey; maybe you are meant to be away. Maybe you are just happier here than you were at home. Maybe it’s ok to be happy away from where you grew up – it doesn’t mean you love anyone any less. It doesn’t make you a baddie – it makes you a person who is listening to what their soul is saying.
The only thing I know for certain is that I want my PR, to get it off my own back, through my own hard work. Finding a man ‘going defacto’ was never on my list. It works for any others (and I am not dis-crediting that at all), just for me, I must achieve it off my own merit.
… Then I can breathe. Since that fateful day in Bondi in 2014, I have always thought that I am meant to be in Australia. To be honest, in Sydney. In Bondi Beach. But fate took me here to Cairns and here I am!
If you take anything from this post let it be; go out and LIVE YOUR LIFE. Trust me when I say, life goes f**king fast! Soooo fast it is crazy!! Fill your days with LIVING. Good, bad, epic, hard – whatever those days look like just make sure they are full of experiences.
This post could be a never-ending-story but I think I have summed up my key feels when I reflect on 5 years gone. Hope you enjoyed reading this one.
Here’s to the next 5 – hopefully I will still be in Aus, in the country I can only describe as ”my spirit animal”