Goodbye Australia

One of my favourite quotes that perfectly sums up my time in Australia is this: 


We came. We saw. We loved

& I did exactly that. 
Am I surprised I survived Australia? Damn straight! For me, an extremely clumsy and accident-prone person to visit the country where absolutely everything is trying to kill you seemed like a recipe for disaster. But I fought against the odds and survived. Its embarrassing that the worst accident that happened is all because of a bloody pet zucchini called Zoe.  

It has been hard saying goodbye to this beautiful country that I have fallen head over heels in love with. My time here has been beyond anything I could have imagined and the memories (& scars) will stay with me forever. Through all the ups and downs, the wild adventures and new friends along the way, I have had an incredible experience.
It is a bitter sweet feeling; knowing that I will be leaving behind some amazing new friends and a city I have come to call home - but ready and excited for a whole new adventure in New Zealand.

While I was back home for Christmas a few friends asked me what it was about Australia that I loved so much. And to be completely honest with you I can't even put it into words. I think its one of those things you have to experience for yourself to understand. A working holiday visa isn't for everyone, Australia isn't for everyone, backpacking & hostel life isn't for everyone but it all worked for me and the outcome was a dream. 

Now Australia is huge if you haven't cracked open a map recently, and I guess I always knew it would be hard to see everywhere I wanted to in such a small space of time, on a backpacker budget and be able to work and make money too. But what I have seen and done the last two years has been fantastic; I have tried to conquer fears, done complete YOLO activties and visited all but one-state (I'll be back for ya South Australia just you wait). It was always my intension to see and do as much as I could and push myself out of my comfort zone and I definitely did that.

I don't think people realise how hard and expensive it is to travel and work in Australia until you actually do it. Its definitely made me more conscious of how and what I spend my money on and feel better knowing that I would much rather save my dollars and put them towards something memorable; a trip, a day out or a bucket-list activity. 

I have proved to myself & probably others how independent and capable I am and can be and hopefully given others the confidence to do their own solo travel too. I've always been very independent, if I want to go somewhere I'll go, if no one wants to come with me, fuck it i'm still going. But that was always local, on a small scale at home. 
I came to Australia by myself (as many others do) and its given me the confidence to now know that I can travel as a solo female and not have to be afraid. One day I woke up and wanted to go to Tasmania, so that very day I booked a flight for myself for the next day. Back home, I would never have just booked a flight to somewhere within 1-2 hours away for a week by myself. 
"Oh hey mum, I'm off to Paris for a week by myself, see ya!" 
But here i'm like, WHY NOT?! Just because i'm either in a new place and don't know anyone, or no-one is free to go shouldn't stop me doing the things I want to. 
I'm just happy that I've been able to grab Australia & life by the balls and can't wait to take that confidence and sense of wonder to new countries. 

Another thing I am proud of is how i've tried to step out of my comfort zone and overcome my shyness & quiet-nature. When you know me, I am comfortable, I talk, I talk alot about my cat, I do stupid stuff and say weird things. If you ever get the privilege of living with me then you'll understand what I mean by stupid things ... (DIY mullet, a pet zucchini are just a few examples). BUT I don't always find it easy to talk to new people unless I've had a few drinks and tbh it's probably not a healthy life choice to be drunk everyday just to make friends! 
It was a worry for me coming over here that I would be too quiet or shy but with a little help from great hostels, a fair amount of alcohol, awesome tours and being on a farm for 4 months I was able to mix and travel with like-minded backpackers & people throughout Australia and then also build up real friendships through working at Rail Plus and sports teams in Melbourne. All the time being able to just be myself. The generosity and kindness from my Australian friends has been lovely; from people helping to find work, letting me come on days out & showing me their local area, to opening up homes to save me from a horrible mice-ridden hostel during this final weekend in Australia (Thank you Brianna & Stu!!) 

Has it been sunshine and rainbows everyday? No! I just make it look like that on Instagram! I have been on a rollercoaster of highs and lows but what I take from them is most important. There were times when I had next-to-no money, got an entire backpack of stuff stolen, struggled constantly to find a job, frustrated that employers would turn me down just because of my visa. I got hurt, injured, accidents, a lot of insomnia and had a bloody good cry but thats all part of the adventure. I am stronger because of all those things & the scars can join my mass collection & are great ice-breakers of how I got them. But on the days that WERE sunshine and rainbows, my god i've never felt so happy and free. I have been able to see and do things that people might never get to in their lives so I am grateful for every new experience and every fun memory from my time in Australia. 

I wouldn't change anything about my experience here (well, maybe less goon & wine & not drinking an entire bottle of gin on Christmas Day) and would urge anyone who is thinking of visiting Australia to just go; whether it be for a couple weeks or months on a tourist visa, or two years on a working holiday. If not now, when? 
Everyone's experiences are different and its what you make of your time and take from it ultimately that matters. 

Australia is somewhere I will continue to come back to because my bucket-list will never be finished, but for now I am excited and ready for a new start in Auckland & return back to the wonderful RailPlus to work and see some more of this big ole world. 

Thank you Australia, you've been cool. 

Thanks for reading & happy travels 

♡ G

Join me on Instagram @gemwills 

& follow me as I start my New Zealand Adventure! 

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