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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.

 

 

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Last Night and Day in WA:

The next day was my last full day in Perth and was spent just sorting things out and packing as I had bought a 45 litre backpack I was desperately trying to get down to for New Zealand.

In the evening I met Becky, Stacy and Emily for dinner at this purely Vegetarian Indian restaurant called Annalakshmi which works purely on donations, you pay what you think the meal was worth.  It’s yummy a must when in Perth.  We got a table outside that looks over the Swan River where we saw the sun set over, we went out for a drink after that as well.

My flight was at 11:50pm the next day, so I had just enough time to meet up with the girls again at Cottesloe before going back to the hostel and grabbing my stuff before heading to the airport.  It was very emotional saying goodbye to the girls, we’d all been around in Perth for a long time which is rare when you travel so I got a bit more attached to them.

I was really very sad to be leaving Perth as I had the best 2 months in WA and made some amazing friends but so excited for New Zealand such mixed emotions.  

As if I’d have gone to WA first then I would have definitely done my 88 days regional work to get my second year visa, I suppose everything happens for a reason.

The Rock: Uluru

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As I’m running out of time on my visa I decided to pack my bags and leave Sydney, to start travelling again starting with a trip to Uluru. I did a bit of research into trips and decided to do the Mulga Adventures 3 day tour from Alice Springs, as flights are slightly cheaper to there, you however fly directly to Uluru although Alice Springs is well worth a visit.

An early flight meant that I got most of the day in Alice Springs, my first impression was that it was a lot bigger and busier than I’d expected and the heat stepping of the plane from stormy Sydney the heat was lovely. I didn’t however realise just quite how hot it was until I started walking around, the heat it felt really heavy and tiring there are free walking tours of the city but they had been cancelled due to it being 36c, too hot to be walking around in.

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Pick up for the tour was at 6am the following morning meaning getting up at 5am! Which coincidently meant I got to see the sunrise, not something that I’m awake for a lot. There were six of us who got picked up in Alice, we drove the almost seven hours to Uluru to pick up the rest of the people, with a few stops on the way we stopped one being at a Camal farm full of very pampered Camels and got a complimentary ride. There was a baby one on the farm so we got go and say hello and give him a stroke camels he was very cute. The camel ride itself was very short and just like horse riding except a lot bouncier!

Once we picked the others up we got taken to the cultural centre in the national park, to learn a bit more about the history of Uluru.  It is sacred to the Aṉangu People of South West Central Australia, and as a mark of respect you’re not allowed to take any pictures of the things in the cultural centre or certain parts of Uluru itself. 

From there we finally got up close to Uluru and did a walk around half of the base which took a couple of hours. It was amazing walking around the base, I’m not sure what I thought Uluru would be but it blew me away by its sheer size, colour and it’s not smooth there’s lots of little holes and marks from when it rains and the water flows off it our guide told us a that a type of cruststatian has evolved to live on the top! Nature is pretty amazing. The ground was sandy and red with a fair amount of green plants on the other side of the base track.

Once we’d finished the base walk tired hot and dusty it was time to do the Mala walk which is a guided walk of the parts of the rock that show how the Aboriginals lived around Uluru the Mala are their spirit people who guide them and teach them the right way to live. We saw some cave drawings and places where the Chiefs would have sat during spiritual ceremonies cooking and a cool overhanging cave sort of which had 4 figures or what looked like figures coming out of the wall who represent 4 Aboriginals who were killed due to ignoring a warning of danger.

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We walked past the part of Uluru which you can climb however the Aboriginals don’t want you to, which is part of the right way to live teachings, they leave it there for you to make the decision for yourself to live the right way. 

It was closed though whilst we were there as it had been vandalised a few days ago and part of the chain that you use to pull yourself up with as it’s so steep had been broken.  I personally would never have climbed it anyway out of respect for the Aborigonals culture and that you come to look a Uluru there’s nothing but desert around it, I don’t get the appeal of climbing it. Also 32 people have died from climbing it because it is so steep, the chain only  goes part of the way up, plus there’s the heat and some people had heart attacks on the way up or have fallen on the way down, my tour guide said that she had seen people going down on their bums and hands it’s that steep and dangerous.

It was getting close to sunset so we went to a look out to have champers and nibbles whilst the sun was going down, unfortunately because it was overcast we didn’t actually see the sun but it was still a nice way to end a very long day. Once we got back to camp and had dinner it was time for bed in out swags, under the stars, it was overcast we couldn’t actually see the stars which was a bit of shame.

Our wake up call was for 4am to leave at 5am to make it to Uluru in time to see the sunrise.  The sunrise was absolutely amazing and so worth the early start its not often I’m awake to see the sunrise, this was the second morning in a row, from where we were standing we had a view of Kata Tjuta as well another rock formation in the national park, there was a double rainbow over Kata Tjuta as it had been spitting on and off  which was just the icing on the cake.

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After sunrise we headed straight off to Kata Tjuta to do a hike through the rocks there, the hike was 6Ks and took us about 3 hours so we were done about 10am.  It’s think in a way I preferred that to Uluru because was were actually walking through the rocks and the views were just stunning from some of the look out points, whereas with Uluru we just walked around the base of it. The path we were walking on  was lots of rough stones and it was really easy to twist an ankle or trip, I wish I could’ve appreciated the view a bit more but was so concentrated on where I was putting my feet that I missed a lot.

On the way to our next camp we stopped off to have a look at mount Conor which a lot of people confuse with Uluru they drive all the way out form Alice Springs see mount Connor take a photo then head back. It does look fairly similar from a distance but it’s not red like Uluru.

The camp that night was on a cattle ranch with a million acres of land -that definitely puts into perspective how massive this country really is and how few people live here – there was a new mummy cow and her calf along with a baby camel by the shop and camp ground that we got to make friends with.  We were able to have a camp fire so we had a massive camp fire and all slept around it in our swags after dinner, I woke up a couple of times in the night to see the stars shining above me, it was so beautiful such an amazing experience and once a dingo even popped his head out of the bush then went back about his business. 

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The next day we did a hike of kings canyon another 6k hike, that started with 500 steep steps up to the top! Someone started singing the friends theme tune on the way up to distract them from the stair, everyone else joined in it actually worked pretty well. we were encouraged to go at our own pace and all had a couple of stops. Once we got to the top, the view was so worth it we could see right down into the bottom of the canyon and the sides went high up over us on every side was pretty special.  Once we got past the steps it was pretty much flat well as flat as a massive rock formation can be, there were a few fairly big step downs which were not designed for people with short legs, so it was again watching where our feet were going but not as much as the day before.  We stopped at a little waterhole that has sprung up at the bottom of the canyon called the garden of Eden it was a very idillilic little spot amongst all the rock. 

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Imagine in the background of this flies buzzing around everywhere, in your eyes in your ears everywhere. I would recommend getting a fly net to wear on your head and we were always advised to have a 1.5 litre water bottle with us at all times to beat the dehydration.

After that it was back to Alice Springs. I loved this tour and would highly recommend it to anyone.