I’m almost a year into living in Australia and possess designs to stay here longer if allowed. I’ve evolved a bit as a person and a blogger over the last year, which is to stay I’m a little less scared of being a bit more revealing (to further explore the latter subject, read BrookevsTheWorld’s post from today).
Like many people, I often see the start of a thing as all sunshine and rainbows. We humans can get so drunk off the novelty, the realization of a dream, that we can forget the really real realness of it. Now that I have my good friend hindsight in my corner, I can clarify what I did well and what I did bad in my move across the world.
1. I Didn’t Have Enough Money
OK, technically I had the money Australian Immigration said I needed to get my visa. But I’d just come off six months of collecting unemployment benefits and was still figuring out my footing in the world of full-time freelance writing. In fact, I dropped or got dropped by a few clients right after I moved, which drove me into a financial panic for a while and forced me to live off the money I’d saved. I really had no financial business making a move to a far-away city that turned out to be so darn expensive.
2. I Didn’t Research Enough
Which leads me to my next failure: not looking into Sydney’s costs and other lifestyle factors. I usually hate planning, and for me, I did research the trip more than I’d researched other things in my life. But for some reason, the high rent, Internet and food costs didn’t so much as make a blip on my radar. Surprise, surprise, $60+ a month Internet costs and $20 cocktails.
3. I Jumped on a Place to Live
Prior to Oz, I had never been in a hostel. One week into my little backpacker bungalow in Bondi Beach, I knew I needed to skedaddle ASAP or I’d risk beating the ish out of one of my rude European roommates. Preface: I’d actually gotten in touch with a few prospective landlords/flat mates I’d found on Gumtree. No luck, until one called me back to say the person he’d given the room to backed out and it was mine if I wanted it.
While the rent was cheap as, the house was 30 minutes away in the Inner West suburb of Homebush. Now, not all Sydney suburbs are bad, but this one had no sort of restaurant or pub area, so I was forced to either twiddle my thumbs on Friday nights or head to the city, but leave by 11 to catch public trans before it shut for the night.
4. I Stopped Taking Care of Myself
In the months leading up to the departure from the mother land, I ran 5Ks, quit smoking (for the second time), cut down the drinking, slept seven to eight hours and ate right. That all went to pot when I came to Oz, and fast. When I saw food was expensive, I regressed back to my college days of eating pasta and rice. Since I needed to make new friends, I did the most socially-bonding thing you can do as a loner in a foreign country–drink my face off. I had several nights where I didn’t return home till dawn or slept only a few hours.
My body knew I was a 28-year-old fraud and repaid my rock star lifestyle with five or six week-long illnesses in 2010, the last of which I’m still getting over. The one thing that didn’t suffer completely was my physical activity, because I started walking everywhere I could and eventually got back into races and added in some dance classes.
So now that I’ve exposed my failings, tell me about the mistakes and mishaps you made when moving abroad.