Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Packing for adventures.

I have been packing for Australia over the last week, mostly trying to cram 'one more thing' into an impossibly small backpack (It's not that small 60+10 or so).

I have traveled a fair bit over the past 3 years but packing ALWAYS makes me want to CRY. Pathetic I know.

Australia packing is the worst.

It's like going into the realm of unknown, will we stay one year or two? Will we be traveling around or mostly in one place? Suitcase? Backpack? Summer Clothes only-what about USA?

Well, thanks to our 'teeny' 20kg allowance on our internal flight from Darwin to Kununurra...my options are slightly limited. So what do I decide to do?

Take a suitcase with a backpack inside. I am still wondering if this is completely ridiculous, in reality I am only fitting a few extra items in by taking both, however it does mean not having to carry my luggage through airports and coach stations.

This also means I will be able to use the backpack for traveling at a later date and for our trip to the States this Autumn.

What's your preferred luggage holder? Suitcase/Backpack?

Any packing advice for a year long trip (or more)?

How about an essential travel items itinerary? 

Perhaps I should go about creating the above, only I'm still yet to master the art of 'backpacking'. Ho Hum.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Trailing Down Under..

A few weeks ago we decided to move to Australia. Around 6 days later I booked our flights to Darwin!

I wanted to book them ASAP before we could start fretting over things and changed our minds.

Quite a few of our friends have been interested in the logistics of heading to Australia on a working holiday visa and so here are a few answers to the questions:

Working Holiday Visa: Entitles you to work in Australia for 12 months (staying in each job no longer than 6 months). 
Cost: £250
Process Time: Usually 6 days (Max).

Due to the fact we had lived outside of the UK (in Asia, more importantly) we were required to have chest x-rays. The nearest clinic was in Manchester and the scan cost £95. Our visas were confirmed within 24 hours of our X-Rays.

Check the Australian Immigration website for more details: http://www.immi.gov.au/

Flights: We booked our flights through http://www.9flights.co.uk/. One way to Darwin flying with Emirates cost us £530.

We then needed a flight from Darwin- Kununurra (Where we will be living for the first 4 months at least) which cost us £130 using Airnorth (http://www.airnorth.com.au/).

We figure £660 for our flights was pretty reasonable.

Other things to consider:

Australian Banks: You can open bank accounts online before leaving for Australia and collect your bank card upon arrival at a designated bank which is perfect. 

Some banks to consider are:

Commonwealth Bank: http://www.commbank.com.au/
National Australia Bank: http://www.nab.com.au/

Tax Numbers: You can apply for your tax number upon arrival in Australia using this website: http://www.ato.gov.au/youth/content.aspx?doc=/content/40962.htm&mnu=11648&mfp=001/013
Make sure you have a delivery address before applying.

We will also be applying for a bar tenders license upon arrival in Australia which costs around £50 and takes just a few minutes online to complete: http://www.onlinersa.com.au/
This license is essential for all bar work in Australia.

Now on to the more personal information... Where are we going? What will we be doing?

Source: Kununurra.
We are headed to Kununurra, Western Australia. The city is small with just 6000 inhabitants, half of which are Aboriginal. I can't wait to learn more about Aboriginal culture and I hope to get involved in some Volunteer work whilst over there.

The nearest 'big' city is Darwin in the North, a mere 10 hour drive. Or Broome, in the West, another 10 hour  trip. So, here's hoping Kununurra is a dream:

Source: Map of Western Australia.
We will be living in a shared house with a friend of mine and a few other people. There is a pool, need I say anything more. So very happy by this fact. Especially as it is now Autumn and the temperature is around 37 degrees celsius, BURN.

Upon arrival in Kununurra and once recovered from what I imagine will be severe jetlag (we leave 9am Thursday morning and arrive 8am Saturday Morning- How does that even happen!?) we are hoping to start work in a local bar and/or coffee shop. Having a friend who has arranged our entire lives for us has been phenomenal! 

At some point over the 12 months we are hoping to complete the essential 88 days agricultural work required to renew visas for a second year (just in case). However, we are hoping to make our way over to New Zealand and start a 'real, grown up, settled' existence over there, IF possible.

We leave in just 3 days and I promise that the updates of this blog shall be in direct correlation with internet access in Kununurra (which is apparently as rare as the green and golden bell frog).

Friday, March 15, 2013

Life after travels...

Firstly I would like to say its been SO long since I have wrote one of these that I just spent over 20 minutes trying to log in....

Secondly, I would like to warn you this may be the most grumble-some, tire-some, picture-less blog you have ever read.

So, what has brought me back to the land of blogging.... Well you might suspect, exotic trips to far away lands that need boasting of or crazy adventures involving native tribes and sky diving from planes above vast lands....You MIGHT...but you would be wrong. Very wrong.

For the past 6 months I have been stuck in the UK- and yes I do mean STUCK, for that is how I now feel.

I have decided to write this moaning and tiresome blog concerning my very precious first world problems as I have very little else to do. Oh and I have been talking to some fellow travelers about their experiences of returning home and we all seem to have similar problems.

Upon returning home (temporarily- or so we thought) to the UK, all was well. We had plenty of catching up to do with family and friends and Christmas was just around the corner. The plan was to celebrate Christmas at home then board a plane somewhere new and exciting in the new year. It's now March, I am still in Liverpool and it is neither exotic or exciting. Just to emphasize this point; Spring is a week away and yesterday it snowed.

What happened?! I ask myself this daily...

Firstly the euphoria of being home and (eating cheese/drinking wine) seeing family and friends got us. Hey we could get used to this, its nice and if we want a family one day shouldn't we be surrounded by such people (food). This then seemed enforced by peoples general opinions of mortgages, cars, babies, jobs and general 'first world conformist tripe' I had sworn to avoid at all costs during my 7am meditation sessions in Nepal.

Which I should probably mention, I completed a meditation, Buddhism and yoga course in Nepal just before flying home. I thought this would provide me with a 'Coat of Freedom Armour' and protect me from caving in to the above mentioned 'first world conformist...stuff' however it quickly deteriorated under the force of general opinion and home comforts.

We even started to apply for jobs. Oh Dear!

After 100's of applications and 0's of replies; Life got serious and serious is well depressing. There are no people in the UK telling you "If you want something you can make it happen" OR "Just follow your dreams". Those people stay away from countries in economic crises I guess. I like those people, they created in me a hippie laid back approach to life I never thought I would have.

Yet here I am, those people long forgotten or at times even thought of as ridiculous -they know nothing of how hard it is just to get a part time job in this country. I have been working as a teaching assistant and contemplating a life being a teacher- the holidays are good (this should probably not be my first reason I know), I love working with children and it provides travel opportunities. However, I am too late to apply this year and my job ends in 2 weeks. Perhaps its a sign, Buddha would definitely say so.

So, I am now in a land of OZ, I'm Alice of Wonderland...Wondering how the hell I can get out of here and back on the road of "Living Life", "Karma" and just generally feeling fantastic. I need a new country and an income, without the 12 month contract (I've a wedding to attend in September in the States) and I need them now.

How hard are such things to find!? Exceptionally.