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Working Holiday Visas: What I’ve learnt about life, love and literature

I will be heading back to the UK for a visit in about a months time, the visit coincides with my 30th Birthday, which has got me thinking about everything I’ve learnt about myself and doing a working holiday these past 19 months, closing the door on my 20s.

When people talk about travelling they talk about the way it changes you and yes it does change you, but for me at least it’s given me the freedom to explore and become the person I want to be.  As you’re constantly meeting new people and they don’t know who you were before so you can be whatever version of yourself around them you want to be.

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Some of the lovely people I’ve met in Wellington

I think for most us doing the WHVs for most of the time, we’re static in one place living and working in a new city or town. I’ve lived and worked in 2 different cities Sydney and Wellington.  I’ve been different in both.

Sydney Harbour the side you don’t normally see

In Sydney I was pretending it seems to me now, I was acting and behaving in ways that I thought I should be whilst living ‘the dream’ in Sydney.  My reality was very different to the ‘dream’ life I thought I’d have.  Looking back now I feel like Sydney was just a big old learning curve for me, I felt overwhelmed in it. Don’t get me wrong it’s a great city and I had some great times there, it just wasn’t the right fit for me.

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Wellington harbour at sunset

Wellington on the other hand, feels like home.  I feel like here I’ve become a person I like and a person I’d like to stay.  I’ve become a gym bunny, a party girl, hostel long termer, HR Coordinator and friend to a lot of awesome people. I am content here, and yeah life isn’t perfect a lot of things could be better but I have good friends, I like my gym, I don’t hate my job life could and has been a hell of a lot worse.

 

This is what I’ve learnt these past 19 months:

  • I needed to grow up a lot.
  • Life is what you make of it.
  • Nothing can live up to big expectations.
  • Reality is when it’s payday and you’re moneys already gone.
  • The cheaper hostels have the best people in.
  • Be that annoying person who talks to everyone that walks in their dorm room.
  • A bit of distance makes things clearer.
  • I can sit at home watching Netflix feeling sorry for myself or go out there and do something about life.
  • People can make a place, but a place can make people.
  • Being content is a great thing to be.
  • Being a heavy sleeper is a god send in Hostels.
  • Hostels are the best way to meet people while travelling. Embrace it.
  • Each new place you move to you’ll figure things out a bit more and get a step closer to what you want.
  • Wellington is the coolest little capital in the world I love it with all my heart.

 

 

Reminding myself why I’m here…

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Sometimes, no
matter where you are or what you’re doing life gets in the way and you forget
why you’re actually doing what you’re doing.  That has been Sydney for me
recently, life on the job front has been fairly stressful, and I’ve said in
previous blogs that at times I’ve felt like Australia has been a struggle, so
I’ve decided that it’s time to start appreciating how lucky I am to live in
Sydney and focus on the positive.

Starting with the
famous Coogee to Bondi walk or at least that was the plan anyway… turns out
Annika and I took the wrong coastal path (there are no signs) and ended up
walking to Maroubra beach instead of Bondi which turned out to be way better as
it is much prettier less touristy beach, that neither of us had been to before.  That we discover just so happens to have a
giant Rubix cube and a few other fun things on the beach, which big kids such
as ourselves could try and climb on and take pictures with.

It’s been a while
since I’d been to a beach – it has been winter- so it was fun to go again reminding me before it gets too hot and busy why Australia has always held an attraction to me, cities on the coast.

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On Wednesday
evening I attend my first event at the Opera House. I saw
Anything Goes which was just brilliant the cast were amazing and it was so
exciting to actually make it inside the Opera House for a change instead of standing outside taking a million pictures.

We went for a drink
in the Opera Bar before the show, even though Sydney has been doing a brilliant
impression of London in September this week being cold, rainy and grey it was
still fun to sit outside whilst drinking a cocktail looking out over one of the worlds most recognisable landmarks
with good friends, it was hard to remember why I was ever stressed to begin with?

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This week has
really refreshed my enjoyment of living in Sydney and made me appreciate just
how lucky I am to have spent the last five months living in one of the most beautiful
cities in the world, reminding me exactly why I have always dreamed of
Australia and wanted to live here in the first place. 

Am I naïve…

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Last Friday I was face timing my sister (I
now live in Sydney and she lives in London) wishing her a happy birthday, and
as is fairly usual for us we got into a bit of an argument about whether or not
I was now a Vegan and my views on Animal rights, along with the fact that life
for me in Australia has been a struggle. My sister’s view on all this is that I
am naïve they are only cruel to animals in some places and they hire
Australians over non Australians.

This is where our conversation ended as she
had to go out, it got me to thinking that perhaps in the past she may have been
right in that I am naïve, but now I’m pretty sure our roles have reversed she’s
the naïve one and I’m the worldlier one… For starters I moved to the other side
of the frickin world on my own and have made it work for the past seven months
and haven’t asked for a single penny from my family and having been a
Vegetarian for 13 years it’s not an outlandish notion that I might start
reducing the number of animal products I consume?

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I started seriously considering the idea of
reducing the amount of animal products I consume, when I did a stint as an au
pair a few months ago, one of my tasks was to make food for meat eating kids
and I told the family that it wasn’t a problem I was happy to make meat for the
kids to eat, because I thought I would be.
Until I started and I had to make the kids ham sandwiches every day for
school and seeing on the pack that it said ‘leg’ really made me feel that it
was wrong to be feeding the kids a leg. I MEAN a leg….

Part of the reason in deciding to move to
Australia was to have a bit more freedom, away from my family who have never
really understood why I was a vegetarian in the first place, trying to explain
that I found it weird that we wouldn’t ever consider eating our beloved cats
but it’s fine to eat a cow, pig or chicken how does that make any sense? They’re all animals right? It fell on
deaf ears, and every time I got a cold or was ill my mum would blame it on the fact
that I didn’t eat meat, because only non-meat eaters get ill right?

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Living Australia has given me the freedom
to explore my diet and my ethical beliefs, I’ve cut a lot of animal products
out of my diet which has made me feel healthier. These past seven months have
also been bloody hard job and life wise as I’m here on the working holiday so
limited to how long I can work for a company.
I feel like it has been a constant struggle and I’ve made a few mistakes
that I’ve learnt from and rectified.

I’ve
done it though, all on my own without any real support network or having to ask
for a penny from my family… so you tell me am I naive?

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‘Today I will be happier than a Seagull with a stolen chip’ – Seagulls Life

Recently the idea of being a seagull or a bird in general has been very appealing to me. The freedom to just fly away when I wanted no muss or fuss to steal someone’s chips seems like a pretty awesome way to live.

Life is pretty tough down here stuck on the ground.

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A whole six month ago I moved by myself to the other side of the fricking world. From the UK that is Australia – well technically New Zealnd, but close enough – and it has been the hardest thing I have ever done, but one of the things I know looking back that I will be so proud of.

This journey hasn’t been easy for me infact it’s been a complete roller coaster, and I have had moments when I’ve wondered why I’ve done this to myself because things have been really hard and what if I’m making the biggest mistake of my life?lf and standing completely on own two feet, because at the end of the day I have no one here to fall back on, I have to live in the real world with all it’s pros and cons.  Which is where the above video comes in, Ain’t It Fun has become my anthem this year, the lyrics seem to perfectly describe how I’ve felt during my time in Australia and the fact that I can’t go ‘Crying to my Mumma’, she’s on the other side of the world and isn’t going to be much help.

I now feel like a proper grown up and have a lot more faith in myself, having realised that I am far more capable than I give myself credit for.  I turn 29 in October, so by the time I get home I’ll be nearly 30 which I’m no longer freaked out about.  I plan to be a Lorelai Gilmore kind of grown up.