What Happens Next

55. The approximate number of hours I spent sprawled out in the back seat of our rental car during our 8 days driving around Iceland at the end of this past summer.

I can’t pinpoint the exact hour in which I mentally pulled the trigger on turning my life completely upside-down, but I know it happened sometime during this roadtrip.

Iceland roadtrip 

With my camera and 70-200mm lens on my lap and Lonely Planet guide to Iceland by my side, I sat contentedly watching from the window as Iceland put on a show – constantly keeping us on our toes as the road passed through volcanic rock, mountains, and coastline; whisking us through dark tunnels that cut through mountains; unveiling waterfall after yet another waterfall. God, I could do this forever, I thought to myself.

Every day we played the same, but different, game I like to call: What will this place throw at us next?

And I realized – I never want to stop playing this game.

I want to travel, explore, wander, take pictures, be free – forever and ever amen.

Iceland travel 

It’s been clear to me for quite some time that I need to leave New York. I’ve roamed nearly all the neighborhoods, ridden every subway line, crossed every accessible bridge, and sampled more cuisines than I even knew could exist in one city. NYC adventures no longer bring me the joy that they once did – and I’ve ceased playing that game because my life here feels stale.

Iceland reminded me of what it feels like to be completely enraptured by a place. It gave me one swift kick in the butt to do the thing I’ve long known I wanted to do.

And so I’ve finally decided:

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.

.

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I’M MOVING TO AUSTRALIA!!

Sydney Harbour 

This news surprises no one I know: not myself, not my friends, not anyone who I’ve met traveling the past few years. (Does it surprise you?)

And that’s because my gut has been telling me, urging me, and now demanding that I do this. As that voice has grown louder and louder with time, I’ve tried to rationalize it. Could I move to Australia? Was I done with New York? What would I do Down Under? Could I still afford to pay my student loans?

I gave myself more time in New York after my 5 months in Asia last year to answer these questions, knowing I was too restless to stay here much longer. I got a new job and continued photographing weddings on the side. I saved money even while managing to travel to Colombia, Utah, San Francisco, Chicago, and Iceland this year. I threw myself into the world of travel blogging and attended Blog House. I researched, I planned, I dreamed – and I continued to reflect on those questions.

My friends and family like to tease me about my being hyper-rational. “It’s not always black and white!”, they like to remind me. I know they’re right, in a sense. There’s no magic formula that’s going to spit out a YES when it’s time to make the move, and so there’s no sense in waiting for that proverbial sign.

But sometimes it IS black and white. I can stay, or I can go. I can settle, or I can strive. I can be scared, or I can be brave.

All it took was a flip of the switch somewhere in the backcountry of Iceland and the decision was made.

Kimberley Australia

Gibb River Road – The Kimberley, Western Australia

And with that, I applied for my Work & Holiday visa the day after I got back from Iceland. The next morning, I was approved. I spent a few weeks manically monitoring United flights to see what my options were for using my miles to fly first class to Australia, then finally booked.

I’m leaving for Sydney on December 10 on a one-way ticket. I don’t know what happens next, but I believe in myself enough to know that I’m going to make it work.

Lindsay Buckley is the photographer and travel blogger behind Frugal Frolicker. She's a New Yorker currently based in Sydney, Australia, documenting outdoor travel experiences Down Under and beyond. Follow along with Lindsay's travel photography on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to sign up for the monthly Frugal Frolicker newsletter!

Where in the World is This?


  • That is exciting! And here I was thinking it was going to be SF… silly me!

    I will definitely be visiting you and I wish you a safe journey!

    • lindsaypunk

      Hehe… you were close! I’ll get to SF eventually, just with a slight detour first! :D

  • This is so exciting! I can totally see Iceland inspiring you to see the rest of the world. It inspired so many things in me as well. Good luck with everything! I can’t wait to read about your Australia adventures.

    • lindsaypunk

      Thanks, Muriel! So true – Iceland is an incredibly inspiring place :)

  • Ruth

    I am not surprised! Congratulations, that is SO exciting!! I am very jealous! You are going to have an amazing time!

    • lindsaypunk

      Hahahaha, I believe it! I figured you’d have had an inking as to my next move ;)

  • Donna

    Most ponder and ponder and ponder and then tuck away the desire to do what you bravely, excitedly, and exuberantly grab. Have another amazing adventure in this next chapter of Lindsay’s Life on the road. Remember you still have to floss to keep that amazing smile. (Had to say that!!!!!!!!)

    • lindsaypunk

      Hahahahahaha, I am an avid flosser and mouth washer, don’t you worry! :P Thank you so much, Donna!

  • You are so awesome, and I’m absolutely sure you will THRIVE in Australia. Good for you for recognizing you needed a change, and taking that leap of faith. I can’t wait to follow along as you make the big move—and let’s be real, I’ll probably be so inspired that I’ll follow right along next June. (I’ll give you six months to find the best cafés first ;)

    • lindsaypunk

      GIRLLLLLLL, you should totally meet me there! We’ll have to talk over the coming months… ;)

  • Whaaaaaattttt. I felt the same way about NY, so now I’m in MELBOURNE on that visa.

    • lindsaypunk

      WHAT! I’m planning to end up in Melbourne next year as well! Job prospects don’t seem so encouraging though, woof :(

  • Exciting news! I’ll have to visit as Australia has been creeping onto my radar lately as well.

    • lindsaypunk

      As it should! Aussie is an AMAAAAZING place, definitely get out there if you can!

  • Kimberly Wildes

    I read this with such joy in my eyes and happiness in my heart for you ! I admire and respect your huge love for the World and how adventurous , and how exciting and rich you make your life! You literally live life to its fullest and don’t “settle” for what we all think we should be doing as typical Americans. Go see the world ! I will visit you !!!! Australia will love you !!! Xox

    • lindsaypunk

      KIM!! I’d love it so much if you could visit me in Aussie next year! :D Thanks as always for your kind words – I miss ya! :)

  • Ashley

    I’m so excited for you! I’m sure you will love it there. You are so inspiring and I can’t wait to see what adventures Australia brings you :)

    • lindsaypunk

      Awwww, thank you so much! :) :) I figure if I loved it so much the first time, looks pretty promising that I’ll love it again during Round 2! :P

  • That’s super exciting! I remember the day we decided to make the move Down Under..terrifying and exhilarating! We are now verging on 4 years here and the best decision we ever made. If you ever feel like visiting Central Queensland, let us know :).

    • lindsaypunk

      Ohmygosh, it seems like all of my connections are in that part of Aussie, which I wasn’t planning on visiting – but you never know! I’ll be in the Whitsundays region for a bit next month, so that might be the closest I’ll get :P Your words are encouraging! Here’s to hoping this decision is as good for me as it was for you!

  • I am so excited for you!! This is such an exciting time and I know you’ll make your move a success. I might just have to come visit :)

    • lindsaypunk

      Thanks, Beth! I’m SUPER excited! And a little terrified. But mostly excited! :D Let me know if you make it out there!

  • Amazing! You’re going to love it there. A good friend of mine moved to Australia after we spent a semester there in college, and stayed for four years. She’s now in San Francisco, but knows lots of great people in Melbourne and Sydney. Let me know if you want me to connect you two!

    • lindsaypunk

      Hey Britany! That would be AMAZING, thank you! I’ll send you a message in a few days to follow up, in case you don’t see this :)

  • I would do the exact same if i could… I can’t, but i inter to go back there at least once in my life after my first trip (already) 8 years ago… Have a blast moving there !!
    Just discovered your blog, and i like what i’m reading and seeing !! I hope there’s more when it comes from… Especially with that big move !

    • lindsaypunk

      Aw, thanks girl! We were probably in Aussie around the same time (I was there for most of 2006) – go figure! Which city were you in?

      • I was there from end of june to september 2006. I was based in Sydney but went to explore part of the east coast first, then from darwin to alice springs… Didn’t have a lot of free time, i wish i could have been to more places, but it was already a dream come true (that sydney harbour bridge, though)…

        • lindsaypunk

          YES, I did the Outback too! It might have been my favorite thing in Aussie! I haven’t seen much of the east coast yet, so hoping to give it the time it deserves this time around.

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  • And it took you over a year to read and reply to this post? :P :P I kid, I kid! No, I always knew I’d be back – just wasn’t sure when!