Australia 2010

August 31, 2009

in life changes, moving abroad

OK, so I’m ready to spill some life-changing news.

A few months ago, I started looking into a work/holiday visa to Australia, which I first heard about through Tales of a Yank, a Philly blogger who is over there now under the same visa.

A few weeks ago, I decided to apply for the visa without consulting anyone and was approved. I’ve since told most of my family and closest friends (whose reactions have been far less surprised than I anticipated), which is why I now feel comfortable telling everyone else.

Previously, you had only three months to get to Australia upon getting approved for the visa. Now you have an entire year. Still, I am planning to go in mid-January. My lease in Philly is up the second week of December, so I figure I can stay with my family in New Jersey until my departure date. That will give me time to get myself together, save money and say goodbyes.

I am am about 95 % sure I will go to Sydney, where I have some contacts through friends. Once there, I plan to keep freelancing and perhaps get an hourly job to supplement income and live in some one-room shack to keep costs low.

Why am I doing this? Anyone who knows me well has heard me talk about wanting to live abroad since college. I used to want to live in London, a city I’ve visited twice, but it’s harder to get a visa there. Australia, which I’ve never visited, is much more flexible, plus the work/holiday visa is only available to people under 30–and being that I’m two years away from that, it’s now or never. I also have nothing holding me here in the States.

Part of the impetus for going is to experience another culture and another way a life. But I also want to see what I’m made of as I try to make a life in a totally new place. And I want to do it alone. I’ve had friends and boyfriends vow to take an adventure like this with me. But I think it’s important I do it solo (but I will absolutely host visitors).

This is all going to be totally scary and overwhelming, and I’m sure I’ll have many moments of anxiety and maybe even doubt. But right now, I feel like going to Australia is right. With all the work I’ve done on myself this last year, I feel like I’m finally in a place where I can get the most out of an experience like this.

I hope you’ll continue to follow me as I prepare for this next step in my life. And if any of you have ever done anything like this, I welcome your wisdom and advice.

14 Comments - Add Yours!

  1. Amanda

    Lauren, this sounds amazing. You have such courage to do this on your own. I'm sure you'll have a great time!

  2. toughtoswallow

    Why is everyone leaving Philadelphia for some other country?? Another friend of mine is moving to London in January.

    I give you mad props to "drop everything and leave" to another continent. And even though I've never been to Australia, I hear it's absolutely amazing. I wish you the best of luck with all your endeavors, and I really do hope you find what you're looking for in your life, whether it's here in the States or across the ocean.

    PS: I hope you'll come to the Philly Meet-Up in a couple weeks so I can finally meet you!!!


  3. cmullarkey

    I've always wanted to go there too. That sounds really amazing. Good for you! Best of luck. There's nothing like going out on your own. 🙂

  4. Valérie

    hey there! it's actually something i'd love to do ! i'm from France but i've always dreamed to go to Australia and work there for a while. By the way, I created a website full of resources and useful links for the people seeking an international experience (mostly jobs, internships and volunteering). you should check it out! the address is:

    Take care,

  5. Lindsay McHugh

    I'm so excited that you decided to apply for the visa! I will still be in Oz until April-ish (hopefully a little longer, but we'll see what happens) so hopefully we can catch up here. Also, I have some contacts of American bloggers in Sydney (as well as some Sydneysiders that I travelled with) if you're interested. Let me know! It's quite the adventure. And anyway, what's a year in the scheme of things?

  6. the pink helmet

    You're awesome. But you know that already. 😉
    I can't wait to hear all about this next chapter. Go with confidence!!

  7. Jen

    Great! I visited Australia once and it was amazing! You won't want to come back. Congrats! Oh, and I have a friend who found Aussie travel buddies through a backpacker's networking site. Let me know if you want the address.

  8. Phoebe

    So excited to have come across this. I'm planning on applying for the same Visa and moving to Melbourne for a year next July. I'm in the same boat it seems as yourself; 3 years from 30 and nothing really holding me back from doing something "crazy" right now. Good luck! 🙂

  9. Stephanie

    Hi Lauren just saw your comment on my blog, thanks for coming by. That's so exciting about Australia! Going solo will be scary but so life changingly good in the end. I was considering doing a similar work visa but now I think I'm just going to visit next year.

    A book you might really enjoy is Vagabonding by Rolf Potts, it talks a lot about the travel lifestyle and philosophy.

  10. Teresa

    Wow, I'd been reading your Australia updates on Facebook but had no idea what your move was for. That sounds AMAZING. You're totally inspiring me to go to Aus instead of getting a full-time job (which now just sounds painful in comparison). Good luck!!

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