Holy moses! I’M MOVING TO AUSTRALIA TOMORROW!!
I can barely wrap my head around that fact. It seems so natural, but with these last few weeks just flying by it’s become REAL. I’m about to become an expat in my most favorite country in the world!
For the first time ever, I have zero ties or obligations (‘cept for you, my darling student loans – xoxo!). I’m really excited to see what I can do with all that crap stripped out of my life.
I’ve been very intentional about NOT planning my year in Australia. I’ve always had a plan – always had time commitments of some sort. And there’s some part of me that does find comfort in planning.
But that’s not what this is about. I didn’t cash in my comfy NYC life for a year in Australia so I could fall into a similar routine. I’m not doing this to be comfortable. So I’m not going to make (many) plans.
Here’s what I AM going to do: I’m going to spend my first 6-8 weeks bopping around Australia, hitting a few must-see places before seeking some sort of job and then ‘settling down’ for awhile to work. I don’t know where I’m going to be working, or in what capacity – I’ll see where the wind takes me.
Now, about that Aussie bopping —
12-15 December: Sydney
“So what are you going to do as soon as your plane lands in Sydney?!”, people keep asking me. Cry tears of joy, of course!
I’ve given myself 4 days to get reacquainted with my old city before I take off on my Christmas vacation. No plans, though since old habits die hard, I’m pretty sure you can find me frolicking around the harbour and ogling the bridge.
16-29 December: Queensland
I’ve never known a Christmas that wasn’t freezing, so it’ll be interesting to experience a tropical Christmas this year. I’ll be jetting up to Queensland for two weeks with the intention of being outside as much as possible. Seriously – I’ll only be sleeping in a tent or on a boat the entire time.
I don’t know how I missed this gem the first time around, but it’s the first thing up on my second Aussie stint. You’ve likely seen photos of Whitehaven Beach, one of the most magnificent beaches in the entire world – I cannot WAIT to dip my toes in its white silica sand!
I’ll be based in Airlie Beach for the week, but spending most of my time out at sea: camping on an island, doing a 3 night sailing trip in the Whitsundays on the Solway Lass (please oh please don’t let me get motion sick), and taking a scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef with GSL Aviation. And no, I’m not sorry that I won’t be sorry for blowing up your instagram feed with a bajillion photos of this miraculous region.
On Christmas Eve, I’m heading north and planting myself on Magnetic Island for 5 days. The main draw for me is that it’s easily accessible, affordable, and beautiful – even though it’ll be filled with hundreds of other people who feel the same.
I’m not a huge fan of animals – in fact, my loyalty lies exclusively with cats – but there’s a koala sanctuary adjacent to where I’ll be camping, where you can book a mimosa breakfast and hold koalas. So, you know, that’s happening.
29 December – 14 January: Sydney
There’s a reason why I decided to book my flight to Australia in December rather than spend the holidays with my family and wait til next year: I’ve been DYING to do New Years Eve in Sydney! You guys know my obsession with bridges and all things rainbow-colored, yes? Well gosh, mash ‘em together and I’m just the happiest.
Mind you, I’ve already been judged to my face for this. I recently attended a travel industry meetup where some colleagues actually had the gall to say “you didn’t make plans to go to Sydney specifically FOR New Years, right?”, accompanied with some sort of a judging scoff. WHY YES, ACTUALLY, I DID.
But no, actually, I didn’t say that to them because I don’t waste a shred of energy on people who judge or otherwise wrong me because I do. not. care. Like I said: be a honey badger! (See also: The Unbearable Lightness of Not Giving a F-ck: Why Caring Less Helps You Live More)
In fact, allow me to give people like them a few more things to judge me for. Yes, I’m going to Sydney in December specifically for New Years Eve. I committed to the two-week minimum stay that most hostels require around this time of year. I splurged on a ticket to an exclusive dinner party on the harbourfront just so I’d be guaranteed of a prime view of the fireworks. It may be the single-most non-frugal purchase I’ve ever made.
That’s just how I roll. Go big or go home, amiright?
15 January – ??: Tasmania
I also missed Tassie on my first Aussie tour, and since summer is when this island is in its glory, January seems like an ideal month to hit it up. I’d been in talks with my Australian friend Teresa about possibly roadtripping around Tasmania in mid-January – the next thing I know, she goes and books her flight before we confirm an exact date with each other. I’m so used to a tedious back-and-forth process whenever I travel with friends (and to be fair, I tend to drag my feet when it comes to booking flights because I overthink it to death) – but it was so refreshing to cut out all that nonsense and just do it. I’m going to Tasmania!!
I have no flight out yet, so there’s no telling how long I’ll stay. Should I spend my 30th birthday (February 2) in Tasmania?!
Tasmania Road Trip
We’ll be driving around Tasmania for 5 days – er, correction, my friend will be doing all the driving. You think I’m going to attempt to drive on the other side of the road?! Never. Again.
I haven’t done much research yet, but I’m eager to explore the coastline and sample wine from the vineyards in the north. We’ll likely have a mix of camping and hostel-ing on the agenda.
The Overland Track
A 6-day, 65km trek carrying all my gear would have been straight-up crazy talk last year, but now? After handling three frigid weeks on the Everest Base Camp Trek, carrying my own heavy pack on the 4-day Laugavegur Trek a few months ago, and being the strongest and fittest I’ve ever been with this past year of Crossfit training, I’m confident I can do this. What’s a tent, a stove, and a little more food on my back this time?
I’ve heard nothing but praise for the Overland Track, the most famous (and allegedly the most beautiful) Australian trek. It passes through diverse landscapes: mountains, lakes, gorges, even rainforest. As usual, I’m most concerned about the weather – because I’m a pansy and can’t handle the cold or the rain that well. I’m also slightly worried about my ability to use my brand new camping stove, but ah I suppose I can always ask someone along the way to help me with it.
What are your must-do’s in Sydney and Tasmania?
Where should I spend my 30th birthday? Should I look for work in Tassie, or elsewhere? HELP ME HAVE AN AWESOME START TO MY YEAR IN AUSTRALIA! :)