TIPS ON MOVING ABROAD

Are you moving abroad either to travel or maybe to study? Well these tips will help you heaps towards planning ahead and knowing roughly what to expect.

Before any new situation you should understand that it’s totally normal to feel anxious, nervous and have a sense of fear. The days coming up to your one way journey abroad to live somewhere new, you will have endless amounts of packing, clearing out rubbish and lastly saying your final goodbyes which can make you incredibly emotional.

Your emotions will be wild and you will find it hard in the first few days even weeks to contain how you feel as your mood can be very up & down. Once you find you’re surroundings, sense of awareness and meet others around you in the same situation you will start to feel a lot more at ease.

Before your journey on moving abroad, I personally recommend having as much savings as possible as this way you have background security to rely on for any sudden emergencies. Your first few days of arriving either to your student accommodation or to your home in another country you will face many opportunities and remember the spontaneous risks & opportunities are always the best and you won’t have any regrets!!

Before you depart:

  1. Get organised before leaving – research how you will arrive, ensure you have all required documents (passport, ID, visas, bank accounts, health care).
  2. Purchase a journal and carry it in your hand luggage – take note of your goals and it’s always a great way to start by jotting down your emotions, this way you can keep track of them and you will find this will make it easier to control them.
  3. Do out a plan for your finances- should you have any bills to be paid on certain dates, set them into your calendar and begin to control your bills you have at home. This way you won’t forget about them & make sure to set aside money you will need for airport food / transfers.
  4. Pack as lightly as possible – when organising your suitcase / backpack remember you only need the necessaries and can’t bring bulky items as this can become a pain when having to carry them around. Any items you’re unsure on, you are probably best to leave and if you realise when you arrive that you need them, don’t forget you can always get them posted to you.
  5. Research – look up the area you are going to be living, what’s it close to? Check out what’s nearby, find local gyms, food places & supermarkets this way when you arrive you have a fair idea of your new area.

Arriving:

  1. Immerse in the locals / people around you. Everyone lives differently. You may be in a town or city but just begin to look around you and see how people are moving and connecting. Absorb all you can into different cultures and look for people who have interests into similar hobbies as you.
  2. Struggling to find friends? Get out there!! You ain’t going to find them sitting in your room. You will find these friends wherever you have interests or enjoy being. May it be the gym, pub, library, cafe, university class, hostel.
  3. Keep your mind open – don’t enter your new country / home full of judgement as that is not going to end well. You are best to arrive with an open mind. Relax & breathe in all the fresh surroundings and if you arrive smiling you will more than likely approach a happy person who is willing to chat or help you out.
  4. Be willing to learn – expand your creativity levels, try new food, new hobbies, get in with new friends, attend new gigs, read new books, explore new gyms / classes. Once you say yes and learn new experiences you will take home heaps of new skills that you could never of imagined.
  5. Be aware of your spends – remember the first few days that you plan on being here a while and you might not be starting a job for a little while longer so best to budget what you can. Avoid eating out a lot and paying more for transport. Ask those around you how they travel / where they shop for food and start meal prepping and catching buses / trains rather than taxis / ubers.
  6. Expand your social circle – living abroad can be lonely sometimes and yes we all do enjoy some self time but its important to be surrounded by others too. Make sure to say YES to any events or invites you get as this will expand your circle and opportunities.
  7. Dealing with home sickness – You can get faced with these emotions anytime throughout your journey of moving / living abroad and just remember it’s okay to feel like that but if you hide away & ignore these feelings it can only make it worse. Keep in regular contact even if it’s every couple of days with family / friends and catch up, share what you’ve been doing. Don’t forget your new friends and your new environment – there is so much to discover and see so keeping busy is a good way to cope with home sickness.
  8. Coping with negative or low emotions – Best thing to do is to breathe and remember your purpose for why you came to live abroad or to study / travel? Go out take a walk, run or do some exercise as this will boost your mood. Focus on your solutions and not your problems, make small adjustments to your boundaries.
  9. Room mates / finding new friends can not always be easy – it’s best to spot this at the early stages, be tolerant and take action straight away as the situation will not get any better and will then affect your mood and make you feel low.
  10. Sleep is key – you don’t want to find your sleeping pattern going off track as this will affect you daily. Aim for at least 6 hours sleep so if you find your partying too much or up watching Netflix to all hours and then paying for it the next day, you need to stop and adjust this pattern as no one else will do it for you.

Sydney- Things To Do During Winter

10 THINGS TO DO DURING WINTER:

1) Carriageworks Winter Night Market – $10 per ticket, over 50 choices of bars & restaurants, live music and cooking demonstrations. (Friday 19th July 5pm)

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2) Winterlight Parramatta – Roughly $20 per ticket, includes carnival rides, hot snacks, mulled wine & ice skating. (Saturday 1st June until Saturday 31st August)

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3) Bondi Winter Magic – $22 per ticket, Ice skating rink with views of Bondi Beach & a Ferris Wheel in the background. (Friday 28th June until Sunday 28th July, 10am- 9pm daily)

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4) Apollo 11 Powerhouse Museum – $15 per ticket with entry into Museum, exhibition of the moon landing and the 50th anniversary. (Until July 2020)

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5) Paddy’s Night Food Markets, Flemington – FREE EVENT – Food markets held in a undercover carpark which includes more than 25 food trucks & stalls, live music and vintage cars. (Saturday July 6th until Saturday 3rd August)

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6) The Rocks Christmas in July Markets – FREE EVENT – Christmas themed markets which French chalets to give it a Bastille vibe. (Thursday July 11th until Sunday 14th July)

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7) Cockatoo Island Camping – Pricing depends on package but can range from $89 per night, Waterfront campground with views to Sydney’s Harbour, includes picnic spots, BBQ facilities & cafes / restaurants. (Open all year around)

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8) Winery Glamping @ Surry Hills – Bohemian themed hideaway with luxe and cosy glamping tents, can book up to 9 people which includes various packages startig from $59 each. Has boho eating with Instagramable surroundings. (Friday June 14th until Saturday 31st August)

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9) Holey Moley – Price depends on option of mini golf course. Karaoke & Mini Golf with drinks & cocktails on offer which turns into the craziest round of golf you will ever remember. (Open all year around)

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10) The Grounds of Alexandria – FREE EVENT – This is one of my favourite spots within Sydney, no matter what the season they always have a large variety of upcoming events. Check out their “Whats On” section of their website for all their themed events & most are free which is a bonus. (Open all year around)

Image result for the grounds of alexandria winter

I hope you enjoyed this list of events and activities happening within Sydney over the winter period. I hope they have helped give you ideas on where to explore over the next few months.

SYDNEY BLOGGERS, JUNE 19

Hello everyone and welcome back to my blog!!

I organised a blogger meetup within Sydney on Saturday 8th June and I thought I would share a blog post on the lead up, how I planned it and how it all went.

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Firstly I’m still feeling so over whelmed with the response because this is something I had thought of for a few months and was a huge goal of mine. Now it’s happened and it’s out there it feels so surreal that I actually reached it.

I want to explain that if you have a dream or goal make sure to get it out there and never doubt yourself, yes it’s not easy but what is???

THOUGHTS:

I had done a lot of research as I was trying to actually connect with other bloggers within Sydney but always struggled to find a group or community where we could meet up and network. I know it’s very popular back where I’m from in Belfast, Ireland and within Australia there are groups across Melbourne & Brisbane but not in Sydney (strangely).

Thoughts started running through my head were I would question myself, is this something I could start? Obviously it was going to be difficult but who doesn’t love a challenge?

I then visualised this almost everyday and would sit at my desk in work writing notes upon notes about where I was going to have the venue / location, how many people I could cater for and wondered how many people would actually be interested in this idea. After a few days I started to believe I could do this as its something I enjoy and I’m passionate in. I wanted bloggers to have the ability to network / collab with other talented bloggers.

PLANNING:

My first step was to create a Meetup community which majority of Aussies use to connect through different groups within their local area. Within first few days I had roughly 20 members join which I then thought, wow that’s a possible 20 people already who could attend my event.

I then met up with 2 bloggers that I have connected with over Instagram for over a year but this was the first time we actually met each other in person. To meet each other in Sydney and have the opportunity to share my idea and also to hear their passions and ideas as bloggers, was amazing. We all loved and supported each other’s ideas which then motivated me more to go ahead and start seriously planning my blogger meet up.

PREPARATION:

I give myself 4 weeks to plan as I had a deadline to reach before my closest friend left the city to go do her regional work. She had told me that she wanted to be there and support me which was an amazing touch for it being the first time I had ever planned an event.

My first priority was to find a venue and within the city of Sydney it’s very expensive to hire. As this was the first time I had ever organised an event and had to search for a venue, I didn’t want to put myself out of pocket.

After a weekend of visiting different cafes throughout different areas of Sydney I had to decide on a location that was close to public transport, had parking facilities and was easy to get too for everyone attending.

I personally love Glebe within Sydney, it’s got a cool vibe and it’s quite central too. I knew this was where I was going to locate the event but I still had to find the perfect venue to accommodate everyone’s needs with the correct seating so that everyone could hear/ see me speak throughout the event and also have a wide variety of food options too.

I visited numerous cafes around the Glebe area, until one stood out for me which was Otto Noorba this was because the owner was so welcoming and came across very accommodating. Mary reassured me that she would happily cater for me + 30 others and assist with anything I needed, in which this would be to have half of her restaurant reserved so that everyone was seated together. Mary has a strong passion for her business and didn’t request a huge upfront fee to reserve the tables needed, were as other cafes were requesting this. I did expect these fees/ charges but first time around I didn’t want to put myself out of pocket until I seen how successful the event went then I can worry about fees for future events when I don’t mind paying out as I know there is a huge potential.

I knew instantly this was the venue, as I walked away feeling so relaxed and felt this would be an easy location for people to also be able to access on the day. Next I needed  to get the event out there, so I started the promotion work and advertised the event. I created the event promo on “Canva” myself. I played around with this app for awhile until I was happy with the look, font, style and photos selected to make it unique and also stand out.

I then reached out to Gemkenblog and asked Gemma to come and speak about her success as a Travel / Lifestyle blogger who is also a fellow Irish girl. I have followed Gemma’s travel journey and she inspires many to come out here to Australia. I felt she would be perfect to speak about how she started her blog and how she directs traffic as she recently reached her goal of 10K Instagram followers.

I also reached out to a photographer which I came across on Instagram called Ben Douglas he is a Sydney photographer who does a lot of collaborations with bloggers and influencers. I scrolled through his feed and loved his work, so decided he could possibly attend and snap shots of this all happening which I could then use to promote future events.

SPONSORS:

My next step was to research local businesses who could possibly sponsor my event and this would also help their business progression too. I have a strong passion in helping others and although I love meeting others, I love to also help those that I know too. I communicated with a company called Barette du Jour which I came across when attending Glebe Markets one Saturday morning. My other ideas for possible sponsors were girls that I know through Instagram who are extremely passionate in what they do.

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Wearing Barrette du Jour

I reached out to these girls and they loved the idea in participating and providing small discount codes for the attendees to get off their work. You can access their pages and contact them through the following links:

Sara Dolan Makeup

Hair by Sarah Gething

Nauti Yoga with Sarah Frank

PROMOTING THE EVENT:

My next step was to announce the event online. I done this via my personal Instagram emmajanecraig_x and also created a Sydney Bloggers page on Instagram. I felt this would be the best way to promote the event as I connect with a lot of bloggers through the use of Instagram and through the use of the Instagram hashtag tool this would spread the word too. I then created a page for the event and released the tickets via Eventbrite as I find this also to be a very strong tool to promote & manage any event.

Event promo created on Canva

I decided that 30 people would roughly be a good figure to have attend the first event as I also didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself either for publicly speaking for the first time. After everything was confirmed from Special Guest GEMKENBLOG , photographer Ben Douglas and all the sponsors I was good to go ahead and announce the event live.

I began to reach out to all the bloggers I know within Sydney through the use of my social media and also the members on the Meet Up group to make everyone I know was aware of the upcoming event.

LEAD UP:

Once the event went live, I began to already receive such a positive response. So many people reached out and said they were so excited for this to be actually happening in Sydney and couldn’t wait to attend. The first half of the tickets were gone within a week and I honestly woke up everyday so grateful that I was receiving this feedback as this was a dream I had thought about for awhile and it kept my energy high.

The whole lead up was very exciting and I loved the whole idea of planning and being super busy as there really is so much background work involved but it give me more motivation when I knew the event had such an massive interest too. I spent endless evenings after work in my local library typing and editing the schedule on how the event was going to run throughout the morning and I also created a small activity in order to break the ice / make people feel more relaxed about who they were sitting beside for the duration of the event.

I then began preparing items for the goodie bags. I know the event was free and I didn’t have too in any way spend but I  wanted the guests to be as impressed as possible and I felt like it would be a nice touch to provide them with small freebies. I bought the little brown bags and personalised “Sydney Bloggers” stickers on Etsy which is my go to for any creative need.

The most important part of event was in my eyes how it was going to run and what was going to be discussed as I want everyone to feel like they had spent quality time out of their Saturday morning. I wanted the event to run smoothly and to be structured as I didn’t want the event to be too long or too short. All this was going to be controlled by myself which was the most scariest part of the whole planning / hosting process as I learnt how to really manage time effectively.

FEELINGS & EMOTIONS:

The day before the event, all tickets were gone…. 30/30 which is an incredible result!! I had worked a 12 hour shift and felt exhausted but I had to maintain a good energy and mood as I knew I still had so much preparations to do. I had to not only prepare my speech but also pamper, do my hair & tan etc. You girls understand. I firstly sat down and began writing a speech, I wrote a good few paragraphs and then thought this was not a good way to memorise what I was wanting to talk about. I felt this could possibly lead to me rambling on too much and focusing too much on one topic more than another. I then decided the best solution for this was to just write down key words and from these words I would know what exactly I wanted to talk about and would be talking fluently rather than staring at a piece of paper.

It was difficult to prepare yourself for public speaking as I had never done this before but I listened to many podcasts which motivated me that its possible for anyone to do this, if they put their mindset to it. I practised my speech around 4 times, 1 was the morning before the event before I jumped into my Uber. Although it was only talking to my partner and not 30 + people, he still managed to keep me calm and reassured me that it sounded great. I also highly recommend meditation, recently I started to get at least 5 minutes in a day and it honestly helps your mind and body so much.

The morning of the event it just felt like a normal day to be honest. I began getting ready doing my makeup / hair then caught an Uber and arrived to the venue 30 minutes before the event start time to set up. The tables were already laid out exactly how I wanted them to be but I just had to place water on the tables and set up the goodie bags where each person would be seated.

When I arrived to the venue and got everything set up, my nerves then started to kick in and I was shaking so much but I just tried to remain calm with my breathing and drank lots of water. When my bestie arrived and I sat chatting to her, it helped whilst I awaited on everyone arriving.

HOW DID IT GO??

As I had a schedule and knew roughly how I was going to begin the event it made it a little easier. I firstly welcomed each guest with a warm hug as this is how I love to be greeted and made sure everyone found a seat, grabbed a goodie bag and also signed in through a registration sheet this way I could contact them easily after the event and also know who exactly attended.

I awaited roughly 20 mins for everyone to arrive, get seated and browse the cafe menu. Once everyone seemed comfortable and relaxed, I then began to interrupt and try get everyone’s attention which was very nerve wrecking as I didn’t have a microphone and also I could see all the guests didn’t hear me greatly as they were chatting amongst each other so I had to control this without shouting also.

Once I had everyone’s attention I then started by going through the goodie bags and getting everyone to pull out the communication task which was inside the bag. I explained how I answered mine and asked everyone to work on this over the next couple of moments then we would go around the table by sharing our answers. This way we would get to know each other a bit better and it would relax the room too. I felt this task was very successful and worked in getting to know one another and we learnt what type of blogger each of us are.

I then moved on to introducing myself, my background as a backpacker travelling from Ireland- How travel has impacted and changed my life. How I started my blog and have now became passionate about sharing my good & bad experiences through the use of my blog to help others. I explained my blogging tips that I have learnt over the last year which involve staying creative/ unique, expanding your knowledge of the platform your using by reaching out to others who are using the same platform, how I direct traffic to my blog and then I concluded my speech with mindset and positivity as I believe its so important to surround yourself with others who have the same passions and interests therefore you can push each other to your highest, otherwise you aren’t going to continue to grow and as a blogger you need to keep growing.

I spoke for roughly 30 – 45 minutes then GEMKENBLOG spoke about her blogging tips and how she directs traffic to her blog. Gemma shared some real quality tips which involved to stay consistent as your followers want to see what you are doing and want to keep up to date with your day to day experiences so if your only being active now and again they will unfollow as this is not want people want to see. Gemma discussed as a WordPress user also that she makes sure when publishing a blog post to tag every single category of the post as this will direct people from search engines when they type in specific words which may be included this way your post will be shown on google etc.

Gemma spoke about how certain posts that she has published have done better than she may have thought and said that if you think something seems so small or silly it actually isn’t as it can go a long way in helping others. As a traffic controller Gemma released a blog post on how she done her course and got her cards to get into traffic controlling, this ended up being very successful as it helped many other girls throughout Australia get into traffic controlling.

We then ended by having the last 30 minutes – 1 hour of networking and I answered any questions I got hit with, the best I possibly could. I then went around the table speaking to every guest and hearing their feedback was incredible. Everyone was so thankful and grateful for me to have organised this event and people explained how they have learnt at least 1 thing from attending- this was an amazing feeling!! People then started questioning the next event and how often I wanted these meet ups to run. I honestly couldn’t believe the response and I’m so estatic that I actually hit my goal by creating a small community of like minded people and we can continue to grow and network through the use of these meet ups within Sydney.

I’m so proud of myself that I took this risk and everything I visualised happened – CRAZYYYYYY!! I also am so happy that the event ran smoothly and just exactly how I scheduled it to go. I myself as the host learnt many key tips from others and its great that I impacted others by sharing my background and tips too. If you be yourself and share your story, honestly it will work and go along way!

After the event I celebrated with close friends and cherished this moment of happiness! It felt strange that it was over as overall I honestly loved the planning and lead up as I enjoy being busy and keeping my mind occupied. A few days on I then created a Survey on SurveyMonkey. I felt this was the best way to gather everyone’s feedback and see what each person thought went well and what could of been improved, this will help plan future events.

Once I received our photographer’s shoots after a few days of the event – I literally cried with happiness as they are all natural photos of everyone literally having a great time! That evening after work I sat at my desk with my laptop and started to create a newsletter for the attendees as I felt this was the best way to stay as a community and have the ability to stay connected.  I also had never done this before but I gave it my best shot and researched that MailChimp was the most popular. I created a Newsletter within an hug, pure chuffed haha. I attached some of my favourite shots and thanked everyone for attending and that I would provide any future updates & events through the use of this monthly newsletter.

As I’m currently on my holidays visiting Ireland I haven’t had too much time to begin the next event but that will be happening soon, I just have a pretty tight schedule at the moment with a lot of exciting stuff coming up!

I can’t wait to start planning the next event, which I know will be bigger and better. I can’t wait to see more new faces and continue to expand this community of bloggers throughout Sydney. If you didn’t get to attend the first event don’t worry there will always be another chance, just make sure to follow our social media page and subscribe to our monthly newsletter as I will be emailing all updates through this. Check out my personal social media to keep up with my daily journey and tips too emmajanecraig_x.

I want to thank all of you who have read this post and I hope this has motivated you that if you want something you can easily do it, all you got to do is put your mind to it and believe in YOURSELF.

I look forward to sharing my next blog post which will be all about my journey visiting home after 15 months.

Lots of Love,

EmmaInWanderland xo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australia Travel Planning Package

Thinking of travelling to Australia on a working holiday visa but not sure where to begin?? Purchase a travel pack where its left in the hands of an expert.

I’m no travel consultant or have any educational experience in travel but I have gained extreme knowledge from my own personal travel out to Australia on a 417 working holiday visa. After almost 2 years of backpacking Australia I have learnt a great deal of tips & tricks that have got me through my time here on the 417 working holiday visa.

I would like to share these excellent lessons learnt over my time travelling Australia to share with you, who may be anxious about taking these steps to booking the trip of a lifetime.

Through the use of my travel package, I will show you the following:

  • 417 Working Holiday Visa information and guidance on how it works, costs, and visa application.
  • Flight assistance to suit your needs.
  • Websites to find cheap flights & guidance with best airlines.
  • How to save for your trip ahead? – Estimate on how much savings to bring.
  • Packing Tips.
  • Guidance on cities within Australia so you can make your personal decision on where you would like to base your new home abroad.
  • Hostels / Accommodation recommendations- What areas are best to stay in?
  • Job advice- Recruitment agency contacts, recommendations to online groups, CV / resume help.
  • Regional work- What it involves?, Is it for you? and help finding the work?
  • Guidance on 2nd WHV – How you get your 2nd year visa, where you apply and how long the process takes?
  • Food / Bars recommendations.
  • Itinerary Planning- Can do a personal plan for your trip ahead with costs outlined.
  • 1:1 video sessions to gather background information on what you expect for your trip ahead.
  • Have my 100% faith to plan your trip for you and giving you the reassurance you will need leading up to your trip of a lifetime.

Once you have purchased your plan I will contact you to find out your thoughts and what you want then I will prepare a personal plan to suit everything you need for your trip ahead.

NOTE: This will be a detailed travel package for you uniquely and may not be suitable for others.

Terms & Conditions:

  • Please be advised that I need at least 4 weeks notice prior to your planned / estimated departure date.
  • If interested in an Australian 417 WHV Planning Package – Please note to get the full potential out of this plan, I would recommend purchasing a few months prior to your trip.
  • Payments are non – refundable.
  • If you choose to cancel your services at any time, you will suffer a loss of moneys paid.
  • First contact will not be until I receive payment in full.
  • Please note each guide will be suited for your own individual trip & will not be suitable for everyone.
  • There are packages to suit other currencies- contact me to discuss further pricing.
  • Once you purchase your package please allow at least 3 days before first point of contact is made & allow a further 2 weeks to receive your full personal guide.
  • If you refer a friend and they purchase a guide they will receive 25% off.

Please provide me with your name, email address and contact number upon payment therefore I can reach you straight away and begin helping you plan ahead.

“Once you become fearless, life becomes limitless”

I hope to see you on the other side 🌏

Emma @ The Flawed Journey

NEGATIVITY VS POSITIVITY

Hello and welcome back to my blog!!

I’ve been feeling very motivated and inspired lately and got a few things I wanted to share so I thought the best thing to do would be by a blog post.

As most of you are aware there are good & bad sides to social media. Few reasons to why I want to keep my Instagram feed & blog unique is because it can get so competitive and nasty. I dislike when people copy others and don’t be their own individual, some people think their lives need to be based on others.

Yes fair enough we all have atleast one person who we can think of as our inspiration and we admire every move or action they make and see no wrong in this person. That’s fine. It’s great to be inspired by atleast one person and look up to them as a little motivation.

Although I don’t agree on comparing yourself based on what you have or own to what others have or how you look to how they look. You have to be unique and love you in your own skin, give yourself that confidence boost by doing what genuinely makes you happy, have a hobby, have fun and then you will start glowing.

A few tips to get rid of those negative vibes is to unfollow/delete the people of your feed that are knocking your confidence or are not doing you any favours. Once you de clutter you will notice a change in your mood and when scrolling through your feed you won’t get annoyed.

Travelling has honestly opened up my eyes to many new things and looking over the past year since I have left home. I know I have become a stronger & more confident person.

I have motivated myself so much and have opened up many opportunities that I never knew would once be an option. I never doubt any thought or action, I always believe there will be a good outcome.

When travelling you meet so many different people which gives you a real eye opener and teaches you many life lessons. I always think back to school and how during education no one ever taught you how to deal with difficult situations or people that you may approach throughout life.

Some of you may agree but I have actually taught myself so many techniques by listening to podcasts and I feel like Tony Robbins is apart of my life. This man has totally opened up my eyes to many different situations that I have been hit in the face with previously but never knew how to deal with them, now I’m like wow wait I know exactly how to handle this.

Tony Robbins has taught me that anything life throws at you, happens for a reason. A negative situation arises. Okay get a pen and piece of paper and write down all the positives and negatives. I can promise you there will be atleast 1 positive outcome and you will take that to overcome the bad. When the situation passes over you will look back in days, weeks, months or years and laugh and say well that happened actually because of ……..

Back to where I mentioned that social media can be good and bad. This is also because there is always a lot more good mentioned than there is bad. Now let’s be realistic we all don’t live in a fairytale. Every now and again, we have real issues where we want to have a chat about or need a shoulder to cry on. These things never get shared it’s just always pictures of happy smiles and the sadness is left behind closed doors invisible of the public eye which portrays us to be humans that were not.

As most of you may know I’m currently living in Sydney, Australia. On my feed you all probably think wow she’s living the absolute dream…YES I AM!!! But that doesn’t mean my life doesn’t involve sad or stressful times that you can’t see.

For anyone who doesn’t already know the cost of living is very high within most cities in Australia and most people house share to cut this expense. When I first came out to Oz, I was honestly abit weary as I have never experienced this before and never knew what to expect. Obviously you don’t know anything until you take that risk and attempt it.

Our first year visa we lived with 2 Dutch guys which was fine. Guys are pretty relaxed and have that laid back attitude. Now into our second year visa we decided to live with 2 friends who we have known since we first hit Australia.

Previously living with guys I was so excited to have that little bit of home comfort & have girl time. As soon as we moved in together, I learnt to realise this was not a good idea. Everyday coming home from work I was utterly frustrated with many things.

As friends we had many conversations which involved agreeing and disagreeing about certain situations. Obviously this lead to awkwardness as being friends and having to discuss money, bills and serious things can make there become a strange vibe.

Everyone has their own problems & issues but one thing I don’t agree on is rubbing these onto someone else. Everyday coming home from work I would of heard negativity like I hate Sydney, I want to go home, there’s nothing to do here, I’m bored, I’ve no money, I want to leave.

When your surrounded by people who have a negative attitude or approach to certain things it can totally affect you as a person. I love Sydney, I absolutely love everything about it. Fair enough there’s people who may of came out here and realise that it’s not for them but they can’t rub this attitude on people who do actually enjoy being here.

Smaller things become bigger things. One thing leads to another and when there’s an awkwardness especially in your own home where your suppose to be relaxed and feel comfortable, it’s not a pleasant feeling.

I was coming home from work everyday to my bedroom. I got myself in this terrible rut where I knew if I left my room I would be faced with this huge awkwardness and I wanted to avoid that. I ended up never being home and would of went to the gym until very late to avoid being in the house.

I personally hate drama and confrontation so I felt like this was the best way to avoid the situation as I knew it wasn’t going to get any better until 1 day a bombshell came and our landlord texted me to make me aware the people would be leaving in a week. I automatically thought how can they do this, we haven’t got anyone to replace them for their side of the bills nor have we discussed the situation or how am I going to be able to afford full rent.

We then attempted to talk about this which made the situation worse as they couldn’t see no wrong. I didn’t mind if they made me aware as we were once friends and said I’m not happy I’m leaving we will attempt to get replacements for our share of the rent but no these people did not care about my feelings nor did they care me and my partner where going to be left to pick up the pieces.

I was totally upset by the situation as I thought they could have handled it in a much mature matter by not being sneaky and making decisions behind my back. However this has now taught me not to put 100% faith and trust into everyone you meet. This has now made me have higher standards for people I have to live with which isn’t fair on others. I just don’t want to be put in this situation ever again as it was totally horrible and caused extreme stress within my relationship as we both have to find time to do viewings and find new people to live with.

Speaking with a few friends who are travelling I have learnt to hear the same happen to them where they have realised it’s not a good idea to live with friends as it tears the friendship apart.

Looking at the situation now I have more positive outcomes listed than I do negatives as I know if that situation was permanent or had of lasted longer than it did. It would of started to affect me more as a person and may of lead to major unhappiness. Now a massive weight has been lifted, since then I have been extremely happy and many good things have opened up for me. I now look forward to the next people we live with and hope our home will be a much happier, positive environment.

I didn’t know about sharing this although I feel it’s very useful for people wanting to travel or for anyone who is planning on coming out to Australia and aren’t aware of having to house share or what it can be like.

Thanks so much for reading, I hope this may have helped some of you.

Lots of love,

EmmaInWanderLand 💓

Sydney Food & Drink

Hi guys and welcome back to my blog. I have received a lot of requests asking where the best places are to eat & drink in Sydney so I thought I would do a short little blog post to help you guys out.

Here are some of my favourite recommendations.

Brunch…

  • The Tiny Giant, Petersham
  • Social Hideout Cafe, Parramatta
  • The Grounds of Alexandria
  • Basket Brothers, CBD
  • XS Espresso, Parramatta
The Grounds of Alexandria

Lunch…

  • Tea Gardens, Bondi Junction
  • Little Chinese Kitchen, CBD Westfield food court
  • Guzman y Gomez
  • Milky Lane – Bondi Beach, Parramatta, Cronulla, Coogee, Crows Nest
  • Thirsty Bird, CBD
  • Burgers & Beers, Manly
  • Smoky Sue’s Barbecue, CBD
  • Big Daddy’s Burger Bar- Newtown, Darlinghurst, Redfern, Liverpool
  • Vecino, CBD
  • Peanut Butter Jelly, Manly
  • Betty’s Burgers, CBD
  • North Bondi RSL
Big Daddy’s Burger Bar, Newtown

Dinner…

  • Rosso Pomodoro Pizzeria, Balmain
  • Doughbox Diner, Brighton- Le-Sands
  • Cafe Del Mar, CBD
  • Lola Cocina Spanish Restaurant, Crows Nest
  • Searock Grill, Harbor views
  • The East Chinese Restaurant, Harbor views
  • Opera Kitchen
  • P.J. O’Briens- Sunday Roast, CBD
  • Hard Rock Cafe, Darling Harbor
  • Cafe Sydney, Harbor views
  • Epic Pizza, Darlinghurst, Enmore
  • Quay Restaurant, Harbor views
  • Bare Grill on Bourke, CBD
  • Chinatown
Searock Grill, Harbor

Drinks…

  • Bondi Icebergs
  • Pier One, CBD
  • Carter Bar, CBD
  • Ivy Pool Club, CBD
  • Opera Bar
  • Grandma’s Bar, CBD
  • 360 Bar & Dining, Sydney Tower
  • East Village Sydney, Darlinghurst
  • Hacienda Sydney, Harbor views
  • The Star Sydney, CBD
  • Marquee, The Star
  • Glenmore Hotel, The Rocks
  • Coogee Pavilion
  • Zeta Bar, CBD

360 Bar & Dining, Sydney Tower

I hope you enjoyed my blog post and found a few places where you would like to dine and enjoy a drink.

Regional Work – 2nd WHV

Hi guys and welcome back to my blog. I’ve been trying to post this blog for the past few weeks but I’ve just been so busy with getting settled and back into routine since I arrived back to Sydney!

On my last post I mentioned I would be heading to do my 3 months regional work for my second year visa so on this post I’m going to talk about my experience and give you lots of advice for those who are interested in staying in Oz for another year.

I received so many DMs from people on Instagram interested in where I did my farm work, my thoughts on it & advice so I hope this blog helps all you out!! I’m extremely grateful for your messages because I try to help as many people as possible with my experience.

Where???

I arrived around the end of October to Innisfail which is roughly 1 hour outside of Cairns. I stayed at Innisfail Budget Backpackers Hostel which is a working hostel so you stay there and they provide you with the work. Luckily I arrived on a Saturday and started my work on the Monday morning so it was great to get stuck in straight away with no hanging around.

Innisfail, Queensland

First Impressions…

You always have the worst thoughts towards a new situation or place but I was actually excited because my 2 friends were there at the same place so I had company already. The hostel itself is very basic but has everything you need and the area is just a small town but again has your basic commodities like laundry, food shopping, K- MART!!! haha

Being 100% honest my first week was so tough as the work is very different and not something you think your body can handle until you get used to the work it gets easier. Each day is different and I just always tried to stay sane with the friends around me and make a laugh out of the situation. It helps to think of it as a temporary situation and push each other by counting down your weeks.

Just don’t arrive expecting a lot as I seen so many people come and go from the hostel and their first impressions made them leave. At the end of the day everyone around you is in the same situation and living so you all have to just get together like a family and support one another to get through it.

Costs…

You’re honestly living the most care free life as your only bills are your rent, food & possibly alcohol if you become an alcoholic like I did. This is what boredom leads too! Haha

Rent at Budget Backpackers was $200 per week which included your travel to and from the farm as well.

Other hostels within Innisfail I know are similar priced.

The hostel I stayed at provided flats to those who didn’t want to stay within the hostel, although there was a waiting list. Couples got priority so I only had to stay 1 week in the hostel and then got moved to the flats across the street which are the same price as the hostel living.

Pay…

You get paid minimum wage which is $23.66 hourly and you get this paid into your account weekly.

You do have the opportunity to make extra cash by working for bars or restaurants within Innisfail at weekends. This is good for people who are willing to save extra to travel & not wanting to spend their wages on drink every weekend lol.

How long to work to qualify for 2nd year visa requirements???

Okay, I have been getting asked this a lot and it is difficult to understand. To qualify for 2nd year visa you only need to complete 13 consecutive weeks of work without missing a week. You need to complete 10 hours per week so if you only work 1 day which is 10 hours long you’ve completed 1 week.

However you also need to ensure you finish on the same date you started for example I started on the 29th October and I finished on 29th January.

Some people get confused on where 88 days come into this but I believe it would take 2 extra weeks if you were to count it as days.

For your own sake ensure you ask your farm before you start if you will be working 88 days or 13 weeks.

My Job (this sh*t is bananas)

I worked on a small family owned farm which was mainly bananas but they also grew dragon fruit. I worked maximum 3 days on my farm which was difficult to save money as my earnings basically covered food & rent.

My job was banana packing so I simply checked the bananas passing by on the banana wheel for bruises or defects, weighed the fruit and ensured the fruit wasn’t packed under or over a certain weight, placed the bananas into a bag and sealed the bag by using a tape machine.

Pretty basic job and very repetitive even worse when your listening to the same radio station that plays the same dreaded songs all day long for 3 months straight. I got my day in by keeping a strong mindset and reminding myself daily why I was doing this.

Some days were more difficult than others as the weather was either extremely hot or extremely stormy, luckily I mainly worked indoors in the banana shed however you did have tasks that would require you working outdoors in the heavy rain and cyclone storms.

The guys work was a lot more difficult than the girls they worked out doors within all weather conditions, from heavy cyclone rain to 44 degree heat. They also work 5 days per week so earn that bit extra than the girls.

Their jobs were to hump the banana bunches from the tree’s which weighed roughly around 80kg and looked about the same size as a human. They brought the bunches to the shed via a trailer and this is when the girls came outside and helped the guys by hanging the bunches up and un-bagging the bananas before they went through the washer.

Picking Dragon Fruit

Is it worth it???

110% worth it!!! You have a love / hate relationship with the situation but now looking back on it I know I will never have that experience again in my life!! It’s such a crazy situation you put yourself in working in blood, sweat, rat piss & seeing all sorts of crazy shit like bats, rats, spiders & snakes on a daily basis just became the norm to me.

You work extremely hard and the farmers are so lovely but really push you to your limits of work to get the job done. Sometimes I felt like I was working in a camp and living in Big Brother as there was always drama in the hostel lol.

It’s mentally draining and sometimes stressful. I came with the intentions of attending the gym everyday to stay in routine but it’s so difficult as your absolutely exhausted from your work day with it being so physically draining.

You build such a strong bond with people around you who make the shit living worth it and make the situation feel normal.

On weekends you literally just party on repeat. Oh and your weekend begins Thursday which is “Thirsty Thursday’s”, “Fancy Dress Friday’s”, “Sandstorm Saturdays” & “Sesh Sunday’s”.

Sometimes the hostel would of been mega crazy and too much for me and I’m not going to lie sometimes I love my alone time. So for me this is where I struggled and especially for those of you have stayed in hostels before you know what it’s like. Drugs are such a big deal too and for me who isn’t interested it can be very overwhelming and difficult to avoid as your living so close to these people and can’t escape from it.

I enjoyed getting drunk on Fridays it was so fun to get super wasted with Themed Fancy Dress and end up in a small shitty nightclub called “Rumours”. This is what I lived for all week at work lmao.

Fun times…

For me I knew I was doing my farm work before I even came to Australia because I have no intentions of going back home and would do anything to stay here. Although if your debating it and not fully satisfied that it’s going to be for you and worth it then I wouldn’t do it because it can be a very overwhelming situation and it’s not for everyone.

If you know you want to do it and stay out here for another year but have only arrived to Australia I recommend travelling and sightseeing a little bit first before you make your mind up. As you could arrive to the middle of nowhere and be like how do I know this is going to be worth it when you haven’t seen anything yet to give you motivation.

Living in Sydney for 6 months before my farm work pushed me and gave me that extra motivation on the farm when times where tough as I knew how much I wanted to come back and live in Sydney again.

Although I do believe this experience is different as a couple as you can push & help each other where as if your coming alone it may be more difficult as you’ve only got yourself and your friends around you to help motivate you.

As an overall experience your time here goes very fast and you have that much fun you don’t see your weeks go in!!!

Goodbye boots!!

Recommend…

I mainly recommend the area of Innisfail or anywhere around the East Coast of Oz as you have more options to travel. At weekends i always tried to see something new and visited quite a few places which also got your time in.

Within the area there are a few car hire places and I tried to go away atleast 1 weekend a month to get a feel for the real world again lol.

I visited these places & they are all in the surrounding area of Innisfail.

• Windin Falls

• Babinda Boulders

• Mission Beach

• Ettay Bay Beach

• Port Douglas

• Palm Cove

• Cairns

Applying for 2nd year visa…

When applying for your second year visa make sure to double check the website as there are a few fake websites that try to scam you. Also there are a lot of third party websites that may be cheaper but won’t be as quick at alerting you your outcome of your visa.

You don’t have to apply for your visa straight away but I applied for mine a few weeks before my first year visa expired.

However you can decide to leave the country and complete your second year in another couple of years. You have the option of using it up until your 30 years old.

Also I found out that your 2nd year visa gets refreshed so you can go back to your old job that you worked in your first year and your 6 months will be refreshed.

I applied for my visa on the Australian Government website costing $450. It processed so quickly and I literally got it granted within 5 minutes. Absolutely delighted!!! :))

Here is the link for the website for those who wish to get their visa processed quickly through the Aus Government.

https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/work-holiday-417

Contact…

For those of you who are interested in going to Innisfail and staying at Budget Backpackers I have contact of the owner Steve who you can call and make aware when your thinking of arriving. If you arrive during the week he will offer you a free pickup from Cairns Airport. Although this is not necessary to contact as there is work available all year around so you can just arrive whenever.

I hope you enjoyed my blog on my 3 months farm work in Innisfail. I’ve tried to cover everything that I’ve received messages about and I know it’s difficult to relate as most farms and experiences can be different but hopefully this has give you all a fair idea of what to expect and the experience you could have.

417 – Working Holiday Visa

Hello – this blog post is for one for anyway who is interested in learning how I made the decision to booking a one way ticket from Ireland – Australia & also can be useful for anyone who make have that fear of making the leap.

Recently it hit the 6 month mark of my visa here in Australia so it pushed me to share my journey so far. I’ve put in a lot of effort to make this post as informative and honest as possible! So hang in and continue reading if your interested in coming to Australia as you will learn a few tips.

One Way Ticket…

Basically since I left school I always had a passion to travel, I knew I didn’t want to go to university, personally it wasn’t for me. I didn’t have much interest during school for various reasons and once I completed my Public Services & Health & Social Care at collage I still didn’t have much knowledge or insight into what I wanted my career to be.

Luckily Nathan my partner has the same passions to travel & explore so Australia wasn’t a random move for us both, we had talked about a one way ticket since we moved into our first home together back in 2015.

We both weren’t fully happy back home. I felt the weather very draining and the lifestyle isn’t great either which left us with not much options to do anything outside of working. Our weekends consisted of boredom and often led to pigging out on junk food. We didn’t have many close friends or family so also felt a little lonely at times.

From my situation I had nothing really that kept me from making the decision to move but it wasn’t something easy for me either. I done a lot of research and thinking in my own time without Nathan because you need to consider your own happiness and think “Is this what I want?” & also knowing its a one way ticket can be quite frightening because you don’t actually know when you may return. BUT don’t worry I have learnt to realise no matter where you are in the world – you’re home is only a flight away.

I try not to think negative about any situation but leaving & taking that risk to see more of the world has really made me learn and understand more about myself & I’ve realised who I truly am as a person. I used to be this up tight person, who would of over thought every single situation & cried most times as I was lonely and didn’t feel like I had a strong support around me. I felt like my life consisted of working to pay my rent, bills, food & even working 60+ hrs a week in 2 jobs I felt like I was still not making it much further in life.

If your young and got nothing stopping you definitely take the leap and go for it. Don’t overthink the situation or make excuses like you can’t do it alone or think of all the things that may go wrong.

Its such a popular thing and its like the norm now, lets be honest half of Ireland/UK are out here.

As much it sounds/looks or seems like the thing to do you need to remember a year is a year and can be a very long one if you make the wrong decision.

You may only see people’s Instagram photos of them travelling and seeing the beautiful sights of Australia but don’t forget besides all the amazing sunny beach worthy photos you see, are there any posts on the tuff times struggling, finding a job, coping with the pressure of being so far away from home or running out of money??

Remember you can always experience different emotions even when travelling so here is my journey so far.

First steps…

First steps are applying for your visa and researching how the visa works as there are certain restrictions. I went onto the Australian Government website and applied for mine which I highly recommend. Some travel agents try to charge nearly double the price as they help you fill it out online but it’s fairly basic information. If you choose to fill it out yourself, it will not only save you a little bit of money but you hear back with a response almost immediately.

We got our visas granted within 12 hours via email and obviously jumped for joy (then reality kicked in).

The visa we applied for was the 417 Working Holiday Visa. This allows you to work and live next to the beach for 1 year, however you are only allowed to work for one company for 6 months then you must leave and apply for another job. If you wish to stay longer than the 1 year you have to complete 3 months regional work or get sponsored by a company.

Savings…

I tried to research before travelling on how much savings to bring but online forums weren’t the best to judge by as people always have different interests & plans so we can’t judge our savings against theirs. As I had my 3 weeks accommodation in Sydney & flights already pre-paid this made the process a little easier as this meant I only needed to worry about transport costs, food & activities. Me & my partner brought $3,500 AUD between us and this lasted roughly 5 weeks – including budget hostel stays, a road trip & car hire around Gold Coast before he started a labour job through our hostel in Brisbane.

I would recommend bringing as much as you possibly can if you want a stress- free relaxed trip and don’t want to rush into getting a job as soon as you arrive. Also I would advise to save as far ahead of your trip as possible to give yourself enough time so your not having a lot of stress to save last minute before your trip begins.

Preparations…

After our visa got granted we had to begin preparing for our move to the other side of the world. We firstly give our Estate Agent notice that we were moving out and our jobs notice of leaving. Then the difficult part was selling our car, furniture, clothes and basically giving up everything we owned.

Every Sunday morning for us consisted of freezing cold car boot sales at 5am haggiling to get every penny we could. It was a very stressful yet exciting few months ahead of us!

Whilst all the preparations were happening in the background I was working extremely hard to save money and worked 7 days a week on top of learning how to drive! I think if you have to work hard for something it will push you to prove not only people around you but also yourself that you can do it and when you reach your goal you will then be able to appreciate it and always look back on it with gratitude!

In the end it all worked out & we both managed to save enough money for our trip to Thailand, Singapore & then Aus. I received great news of passing my driving test 3 weeks before leaving.

Next steps…

You will need an Australian bank account to not only save money but to also start using when you enter the country as this will make everything easier.

I opened our bank accounts online after our visas were approved to gather as much money as we possibly could then we knew where we stood with the financial side of things.

If you wish to open an Australian account you can do this online before entering the country. I recommend banking with ANZ as my experience has been good with them so far.

I used Torfx for the middle person to transfer from our UK account to Australian account as bank charges are far too expensive for international transfers. Using Torfx is free, although the minimum transfer is £100.

I always like to be prepared in advance so I pre booked and paid for all our accommodation through Booking.com as I couldn’t imagine arriving to a country you’ve never been to before & having to search for available rooms.

We both left our jobs 2 weeks before our departure date, this give us more time to do last minute shopping for essentials and organising our house for the BIG MOVE. We were lucky we did take these few weeks off as we only sold our car 5 days prior to leaving, talk about nerves.

TIP: I would highly recommend giving yourself a least a week before leaving on a way way ticket as this gives you time to accept whats ahead of you, gives you quality time to spend the last few days with friends & family and also gives you extra time to pack & prep everything you need.

Day of Departure

12.03.18…

I felt so SICK and it literally felt like I was on this ongoing rollercoaster ride. I didn’t know how to think or react to the situation. Early this morning we handed our keys back for our home then got the next bus from Belfast Europa to Dublin Airport.

The feeling was just so strange and as soon as I got to the airport I took full advantage of the Executive Lounge. I had a few too many Gin & Tonics to help calm my nerves! I still can’t believe how I managed to get my life rammed into 2 bags- for anyone wondering we brought 30kg each!!

After some travelling in Singapore and Thailand we finally touched down in Sydney after 2 weeks.

Arrival to Sydney

25.03.18…

We arrived in Sydney International and collected our luggage then got the train straight to our hotel which was only about 10 minutes away. First thing that shook me was the price of the train journey which was only a few stops away. It cost just under $20 however do be prepared if your getting the train to or from the Airport that there is a tax charge on the public transport costs and this is why the fare is so high.

Transport around Sydney is really efficient and I do recommend getting the Sydney NSW Opal card as it will work out a lot cheaper. It works by just topping up an amount and then for every journey you tap on and off. Once you hit 8 journeys within 1 week you get half price fares the rest of the week.

We arrived to our hotel in Newtown and stayed in Sydney Park Hotel for 1 week it was beautiful and the location was perfect as it was right across the street from St Peter’s station so it’s really ideal to get in and out of the city. Our first week here in Sydney was treated as a holiday and we did a little bit of sight seeing.

Luckily when we arrived in March it was still roughly around 28 degrees so we were able to go to the beach and chill.

Important must do’s

1) Day 1 or when you get over your jet lag I advise you get an Australian SIM Card straight away. I find Vodafone have the best value deals for data as it’s what I use my phone for the most. I get 25gb per month for $40 which is roughly £20, pretty sweet right?!?

2)Another important thing I advise to do is to go online and apply for your Tax File Number unfortunately you can’t do this abroad and can only apply for your TFN once you arrive to Australia and are staying at an Australian address however it arrives in the post really quickly. You need this to be able to start working so you get put through the right tax code. It’s basically similar to what we call National Insurance Number back home.

3) You will need to set up a Superannuation account. I set up mine through my bank as I was advised this was the easier option. This is also something you need before you commence working it’s abit like a pension and you can claim up to 40% of the amount back once you leave the country or if your staying in Australia it will build up until you retire!

4) Join any online groups / forums for backpackers in Australia – I recommend a group on Facebook called “Irish around Sydney” this page is full of rooms, rentals, people selling stuff, people suggesting things within Sydney & also can be a good page to meet people! I also recommend following anyone you may know already out in Australia & reaching out to them when you arrive can be helpful this way you will feel more at ease & not alone – they can help you explore & find places. Make sure to join any hobbies / interests you would enjoy like football, gym, gaa as there are a lot of groups out here & this can also be a great way to make friends.

Must sees…

First place I wanted to go and see was the Opera House and Harbor Bridge! It was so surreal to see in person.

This area is my favourite in Sydney to take in the sights and dine. There are many beautiful restaurants around here. I recommend The Opera Kitchen and Searock Grill for food & drinks. They are reasonably priced for being right next to the Opera House.

Check out my Sydney Food & Drink Blog post for my top places to eat & drink.

The upcoming days were spent walking around the city and we visited the massive Westfield Shopping Centre. This shopping centre is built below Sydney Tower which is the tallest structure in Sydney. You can dine here and also climb Sydney Tower, it’s on my list to do!

We visited Darling Harbor and went to Hard Rock Cafe for food!

There is also plenty of variety of restaurants around Darling Harbor area, a little more expensive but you also have the views to take in.

Darling Harbor has an amazing firework display shown every Saturday night @ 8.30pm. They are definitely worth the watch!!

Blue Mountains is a must see!! Its the Grand Canyon of Australia. We took the train here and from Central it’s roughly a 2 hour journey. The views at this National Park are incredible it costs roughly $70 if you want the package which includes the worlds steepest train and rides on the cables around the park. We took the walk which takes you close to The Three Sisters and the photos you can get here are amazing!

Bondi Beach is my favourite beach in Sydney!! The waves are crazy and I love the vibe here it’s very chilled and the area is beautiful. I find it awesome that everyone comes here to surf after work and on a hot day it’s packed with people! It’s a very popular location to hang out!!

After a fun week in Sydney we had the intentions of living in Brisbane so we already had our flight and hostel pre-booked. We were sad to be leaving Sydney as we fell in love with it as soon as we arrived.

We didn’t have any friends or family in Australia but we knew of friends and people that had travelled here. Before arriving we listened to their experiences and advice. We were told that Sydney was extremely expensive to live in and heard good things about Brisbane that it’s a smaller city and easier to get jobs and living costs are much lower.

Hence the reason for our pre-booked trip to Brisbane! Well we lasted 2 weeks in Brisbane and even at that it felt like a long time lol. I don’t regret listening to others and taking on board there advise but sometimes you have to just experience the situation first before you decide. I suppose I done the right thing by leaving because I knew I didn’t like it almost instantly.

I honestly didn’t notice a difference in prices or costs of living. I tried to get a job and apartment and found it extremely difficult, who knows maybe this was a good thing?

Brisbane…

We arrived to Brisbane and stayed in City Backpackers for 2 weeks. This was my first time staying in a hostel. Listen up girls it’s not glam at all and your anxiety flies through the roof when you have to enter the shared kitchen which is literally a bomb scare 24/7. Trying to get a hob to cook your food was a total disaster screw that I lived off fast food to get over my anxiety of the place.

Thankfully me and Nathan were in a private room but it was literally like a prison cell. You have your double bed, a window and enough room to open the door. You have dreaded room checks at 8.30am every god damn morning. This is to check if there is alcohol in your room, omg how did I cope?

The noise at night was something else this give me an insight into how immature some people are. At like 3am some thought it was fun and cool to run up and down the hall ways like kids cos they were so stoned off their bakes.

We both then started to feel really home sick and cried most of these 2 weeks. We knew this was not what we expected and certainly not how we wanted to spend our time here.

Here is the view at the top of City Backpackers Hostel. I do recommend staying here if you plan on seeing Brisbane as the view overlooks the whole city.

Brisbane is a very small city with not much of a buzz, there’s very little to do. If you are looking to visit here I would only recommend staying a couple of nights but no longer. Our hostel was a short walk away from South Bank which is lovely to walk around. There is a man made beach here which is also cool to chill and you have some restaurants around this area also.

Within the first week we viewed roughly about 12 apartments and didn’t hear back from a single one haha I also struggled to get a job and before I arrived I’m not going to lie I thought I would get one instantly but it’s not easy, well definitely not for girls. It’s much easier for guys as there is always labour work going for them and they can get work through most hostels.

I do advise coming with enough savings as things can get pretty messy if you don’t have enough funds whilst being out of work. The hostels are even expensive! Into our second week in Brisbane we accepted that we were not staying here and started thinking where next & what next?!?

Decision making…

We came to a decision that we wanted to go on another little trip up to Gold Coast but after this we thought it would be best to get our 3 months farm work over and done with for our second year visa.

So we hired out a car through Hertz which cost only like $300 for the 2 days. It was so funny watching Nathan drive an automatic car for the first time. I must of went through the windscreen at least 50 times.

On route to the Gold Coast we stopped off at Burleigh Heads it’s basically a small town but has a lovely beach that over looks Surfers Paradise in the background.

20180926_2255051473597915569300755.jpg

We also stopped off and had a day trip around The Australian Zoo owned by the Irwin family. It was incredible to see how Steve’s family are keeping the zoo going just they way he would of wished it to!!

Bundaberg…

We then continued our road trip which was another 5 hour drive to Bundaberg. We actually were in a rush too as the hostel reception closed at 7pm so we knew we had to arrive before this time to check in. (Me and Nathan are forever late).

When we arrived we left our luggage etc in the car and went straight into getting checked in. The couple behind the desk give us information on the area, told us how everything works and give us a tour of the hostel. Then they announced our room was a 6 bedroom male dorm.

DRAMA: for me I was fuming I literally burst into tears and refused to stay here once I seen the state of the room then also a bong caught my eye. Once Nathan knew I was upset he decided to go speak to the night manager and told her the situation that we basically drove 5 hours to get here and were promised a double room prior to arriving.

The staff more less didn’t care about the circumstance and said that’s where we would stay regardless of what the manager promised us, which was a private room over the phone. So we sat in the car for roughly 2 hrs and both cried then laughed and said to each other right we can do this. We spent the rest of the night moving our stuff into the room and spoke to a few people which made it less awkward.

Although the more people we got to speak to and got to know we found were actually struggling to get work and were living off very little funds so we found this worrying. We were promised work in 2-3 days as it was lemon season but after 1 week here we left as every day we got told the same bullshit lies that it would be another day to wait for work.

On the 6th day of being here we finally got told the truth that we would be waiting at least 3-4 weeks on work as the hostel had to accommodate for roughly 40 people on the waiting list infront of us. The staff advised to get some money of our parents to stay HA, unfortunately I’m not a sponge and this is when I needed to rethink the situation.

I realised this place was a total scam I watched many people come and go and everyone I spoke to got told the same thing and got sent the exact same email about starting work within a few days. I don’t like to slate people nor businesses but if they are going to take the hand out of people, others need to be made aware of this to avoid the same mistake.

Basically what they were doing was taking people’s rent money on arrival and people were still expected to pay rent regardless of not having any work. The pay was also horrendous you got piece rate which worked out that some people in the hostel were earning $20 per day for 8 hours work. HOW IS THIS LEGAL?!?

This doesn’t even pay a weeks food shop never mind $230 a week on rent. SHOCKING!!!

This is like the one point in my life where I followed my gut feeling and knew we had to escape this horrible situation.

My gut told me to get on the next flight out of here and I knew we could not stay here for another 3 weeks waiting on work we would have no money like how would that work?!?

You know sometimes you have to take control of situation so I took full control and went back to our dorm and was like “Nathan we are leaving on the next flight back to Sydney tomorrow morning”. I knew it was the best thing to do and spent the rest of this day contacting many hostels throughout Sydney until I got reassured that one of us would get a job.

If you do research on Bundaberg you will learn it’s very small and located in the middle of nowhere so firstly we had to get a 4 hour train to Brisbane to get to the airport. This train cost like $280 altogether for both our tickets then the flights from Brisbane back to Sydney cost nearly $200 each.

Back to Sydney…

We spent so much money and learnt a lot from this situation, it left us both broken for months.

Luckily we found Cronulla Beach Backpackers and spoke to the owner over the phone a few times which reassured us that he would have a job for Nathan the next day and he did.

We arrived here the following evening and were given a bed in a mixed dorm.. yes AGAIN. Although this time around I didn’t care I just wanted out of that horrible crappy place in Bundaberg.

The receptionist said we would be given the next private room that became available and I still remember the day we received the text to say “You can move into a private room tomorrow” omg. I was proper jumping for joy to be finally in a double bed and not be squashed on a top bunk next to Nathan in 25 degree heat!

We got treated really well here by the staff and they reassured we would not be messed around. They had a lot of time for you and you could tell they were nice people. The owner only charged us for 1 person when we arrived because he felt so bad for our situation…what a guy!!

We literally were at a all time low after this situation we had just enough money to make it by. We lived on beans & toast and maybe treated ourselves to super noodles a few times… NO JOKE.

Honestly it was scary that we survived many weeks on $50 between us both. I don’t know where I would of been without Nathan because he was the one who got the job, supplied the beans and bread but also paid our rent or we would of been homeless.

Finding a Job…

I was without a job for roughly around 3 months and trust me I was on every job site applying day and night. I printed my resume and handed it out to local cafes, bars, shops. Heard nothing back and everyday got tougher because I was in the hostel alone when most people were out at work and I didn’t have money to do anything.

One thing that I found irritating is not every company wants to employ people on a working holiday visa as it has certain restrictions so this does make finding a job a little difficult.

A few weeks later I ended up with 3 interviews in the one day and the last interview was the one I got the job for. I applied to many recruitment agencies within CBD that way I could be contacted for any temp work & with another upcoming roles.

A few weeks later me & Nathan both got in the same job and had a contract for 6 months. What else could we want? I was delighted to finally get back to work, get my body into a routine and earn money again.

We stayed at Cronulla hostel for a total of 3 months and it was during the worst time “WINTER” it rained so much and the hostel was literally -5 degrees during this period. The room was full of moisture and so horrible to live in, some of my clothes actually went mouldy in the room it was that bad.

Moving In…

We were friendly with two Dutch guys that we spoke to anytime we were in the hostel kitchen together. They offered for us to move in with them. At first we were indecisive but when we went and viewed the house and realised it was going to be $100 cheaper each to live here we decided to go for it.

We moved in the following weekend and were literally so excited to have normality back. Our own bed, kitchen and bathroom.

I’ve learnt that living with people is the way to be if your travelling Australia because it makes the rent so much cheaper and means you can save a lot of money to continue travelling. The deposit and rent is way too expensive if you want to go private and not share especially if you know your only going to be living there a few months temporarily

After a few months of working, saving money and basically only finding our feet again. I got taken into hospital due to a allergic reaction. I was never allergic to anything back home but I took a bad reaction to an apple cider I drank. This situation really stunned me because I knew nothing about the Health care system in Australia.

Medicare…

The morning I rang the doctors and explained what had happened they advised me that I needed a Medicare Card, I was like what’s that?? I went straight to my nearest Centrelink and filled out the application. The process took roughly 5 mintues. I was given a temporary number until I received my card later in the post. I was advised to go straight to hospital and show my passport which meant I would get seen without being charged.

When I woke up this morning and knew I had to go to hospital I took a panic attack and was totally shaken up because I obviously didn’t know how much it was going to cost me. So I advise even if your spending 1 year in Australia to register for a Medicare Card it’s free and will get you seen by a doctor etc the only cost you will have is if you get supplied with a prescription.

I am so grateful for the service and treatment I received on this side of the world because when something like this happens it really worries you especially when you don’t know much about how it all works.

Being so far away…

Home really does seem such a far distance and it can be difficult sometimes especially adapting to the time difference, we are currently 10 hours a head from Belfast so keeping in touch with family & friends back home can be a little frustrating some times with the time change.

I feel living out here is such a life changing difference – no 2 days are the same & you learn / face new challenges every day, I love it!

I feel so free and actually feel happy within myself, you live a much better lifestyle. There are far more opportunities like I have recently found various things I love & enjoy doing which I never once would have had an interest in before.

I feel like I’m actually working towards something and I always have something to look forward to. If you haven’t already noticed I literally live for my weekends which is now spent exploring!!

My next journey…

After what happened first time around when trying to begin our 3 months regional work we were both completely put off it and refused to do it. However after rethinking the situation we know that we just had bad luck and picked the wrong place to go too.

We know this is our only option 6 months in to gain our second year. After extensive research I think we will get treated better this time around and we currently have friends in the same area.

This weekend we leave Sydney and head up to Cairns to begin our 3 months of banana picking and packing on a farm to gain a whole new year in this amazing country!!!

I feel a lot more confident and at least I know what to expect this time around. I’m eager to start and get my days done so I can look forward to lots more travelling next year.

To be continued…

I will be sharing my journey on the farm with you all so give my Instagram a follow emmajanecraig_x and stay tuned for the dramas ahead!

Thank you so much for reading this lengthy post, however I hope you have learnt a thing or two. I felt I needed to add everything or it wouldn’t of really been my true journey. Over these past 6 months I’ve learnt so much and I still am every day but my main aim is to share what I learn with you guys.

FIJI

Hi guys & welcome back to my blog!!! Ahhh i don’t even know where to even begin with this blog post?!?

Continue reading to find out about my week in Fiji and also a few helpful tips too. I promise by the end of this you will be planning your trip!!

This holiday was absolutely amazing, difinitely an experience that I will cherish forever and it’s now up with my top favourite places that I have travelled!!

So, with it being ozzy winter me and Nathan wanted some sun and also just somewhere to relax for a week as it’s been pretty hectic recently with working and moving into our home in Sydney.

After researching and finding out how cheap fights were to Fiji we paid $590 AUD each for return which is roughly £320 WOW!!! There were no second thoughts we booked this instantly (joys of blowing the joint account).

Fiji is only a 4 hour flight away from Sydney!! We flew directly into Nadi International.

Thankfully everything ran smoothly once we arrived to Nadi Airport. We were greeted before customs by Fijian men playing guitars and singing which was just so cute.

On the other side after collecting our luggage we were then greeted by our hotel rep with a name sign who was picking us up from the airport and took us directly to the hotel. This meant that there was no confusion or stress involved.

A taxi fare to/from Nadi Airport to any of the town’s in Nadi is roughly 10-15 FJI Dollars.

Accommodation…

We booked our hotel through Booking.com which I highly recommend I use it for every destination I visit!!

We stayed at Bamboo Travellers Beach Resort, for 7 nights it cost $450 AUD which is roughly 680 FJI Dollar, in British pounds this is only rouhly £250 so its very cheap for a week!!

The room was pretty basic and had everything you needed which is just to (sleep). However the staff, restaurant and bar was brilliant!! The vibe was great it was a young age group and very quiet which made me love it even more. The food here is delicious which helps if you just want to laze around the hotel.

Bamboo was based right on your own private beach only for hotel guests. There were various activities such as riding horses on the beach, kayaking and paddle boarding. You also had the option to get a massage on the beach!!

Night Entertainment…

You have a bar within your resort and also have the option of exploring other hotels in the area to relax and have a drink at night.

Or you can watch the sunsets which I’m a sucker for!! Pink skies.

Most nights me and Nathan drank on the beach watching the sunsets!!

There were also Fiji Dance & Fire shows on the beach infront of the hotel. They were great entertainment and so talented!

We stayed close to Nadi town which I would highly recommend if you come to Fiji. This is because if you stay in a resort it’s further out of the town and this way you will not get to experience the real Fiji Culture and lifestyle.

The location is very ideal as it’s only a 10 minute drive from the Airport and beside the hotel is various restaurunts and shops where you can buy liquor.

We stayed in Fiji for 7 nights and honestly I wish I did 10 nights but maybe that still wouldn’t of been long enough?!?

I already want to book the next flight back there. You’re probably wondering why???

Well I’ve never met more warming friendlier people than Fijians. They honestly don’t have a bad bone in their body. They stop what they are doing to get to know you and you could be there for hours talking to these friendly people.

They call their lifestyle Fiji Time as they believe there is no need to rush anything you need to do or anywhere you need to be will happen when it happens. They have a very relaxing lifestyle and this is why they are so happy and positive.

When visiting some of the local Fiji villages I learnt that everyone knows everyone and they all come together as a family and share everything they own as a whole (how lovely). They call eachother sisters/brothers there is no such a thing as cousins, nephews/nieces.

In the Fijian villages I learnt that they are very strict and in each village there is a chief which sets the rules and he is the only one in the village allowed to wear a hat. Everyone in the village must obey the chief and I got told some young people when they turn into teenagers cannot deal with the strictness so they leave the village and move into town with friends.

What did I get up to?!?

DAY 1:

We arrived to our hotel late in the afternoon and were exhausted as we were up from 5am so obviously we took a nap and just chilled around the hotel to get to know our surroundings.

DAY 2:

There was expected rain fall this day so we were prepared and booked a day trip, we booked this through the travel desk at our hotel.

It cost 99 FJI dollars each which included various stops in a few towns in which you got to experience how the Fijians live day to day.

First stop was at a farmers market were we tried local fruits my favourite was soursop it was very sweet and tasted like a custard apple!! Unfortunately I was too busy eating so I didn’t bring my phone out to take pics here but this is what soursop looks like!!

We then progresssed on to some souviner stores until we reached Nadi Town and stopped off at Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple.

We had a group tour and learnt a lot about the Hindu Religion, it was very interesting.

You were not allowed to take any photos inside the temple but the art was amazing!! Before you entered the temple you had to wear a sarong and take off your shoes as a sign of respect.

It costed millons of Fiji Dollars to build this beautiful temple!

After the temple we continued our day trip to another small town which had the Gardens of the Sleeping Giant. Here you can see the mountain shaped as a sleeping woman! Unfortunately because of the rain it was quite cloudy so we felt we didn’t get to fully experience it here.

After this tour we finished up at the Sabeto Hot Springs and Mud Pools this was a fun experience (plenty of giggles). The hot springs are run by the local villagers which use the funds from tourists to better their village! (How amazing?)

Basically we covered our entire bodies and slopped around in this warm gooey natural mud pit then walked through the village until it dried into our skin.

When it dried in we scrubbed it off in the mud pools and then relaxed in the geothermal hot pools which were natural springs. We then ended the day by getting a couples massage by the local villagers this cost only 20 Fijian Dollars each and it was super relaxing.

DAY 3:

We went to the world’s first island beach club. Malamala was unbelievable to just chill on a private island all day sipping on cocktails.

We also booked this through our hotel travel desk and it only cost 150 FJI dollars each but it included a $50 bar tab each and you could also kayak, paddle board and snorkel around the beach club.

It took roughly 30 minutes to get here by boat from our hotel and the views on route were something else!!

The pool was amazing everything was just so blue and for being on a Saturday it was not over crowded which made the day better!

For the first time ever i tried kayaking with Nathan when I asked him he actually almost fainted that I was getting in the water hahaha. For anyone who doesn’t know me one of my biggest fears is water and I cannot swim!! So this was a massive achievement for me and in result we did not tip over and had a really good stable balance so I’m super proud. It was also very fun I would advise anyone to try if they haven’t already!!

The food at Malamala was tasty I ordered coconut peri peri chicken and Nathan ordered sushi which came out in a coconut also! Everything is about coconuts in Fiji.

The rest of day was spent on a sun lounger taking in these breath taking views.

DAY 4:

We relaxed infront of our hotel appreciating that our resort was on a beach. Catching rays and sipping on coconuts of course!

We then took a stroll for dinner to a restaurant we found on TripAdvisor that was only a 5 minute walk away from our hotel.

Awesome Grill was beautiful we actually ended up here 3 times as the staff were so friendly and of course the food was delicious!! We tried the burgers and then bbq chicken pizza (twice).

When we return we will definitely be coming back to Awesome Grill it had a quiet chill vibe!

DAY 5:

This day was incredible and topped the holiday!!! I would highly recommend the tour we booked through, they are called South Sea Cruises.

The day trip cost 260 FJI Dollars each which included pick up/returns from your resort, ferries transfers to Mana islands then you get a private cruise to Modriki Islands where the famous Tom Hanks movie was filmed “Castaway featuring Wilson”.

Throughout the day on the cruise you get unlimited soft drinks and alcoholic (I had to suffer due to recently finding out I’m allergic to anything which is not a spirit alcohol drink).

For lunch you got a bbq on board which was delicious!!

Throughout the journey the staff made the trip extra special by playing some fijian music on their guitars and we enjoyed how helpful and friendly they were throughout the tour!

On route to the islands we sailed past the island that the Australian Survivor TV show is filmed!!

When stopping off at the islands they were private and you spent roughly 1 hour on each. It was really relaxing and amazing to take in these moments!! I still can’t believe I was on the same beach that Castaway was filmed. It was so so beautiful.

After seeing all the surrounding areas we stopped off for a swim and Nathan enjoyed diving off the boat & snorkeling whilst I soaked up the rays on the front of the boat!

Finishing up the day we went to a Fiji village which had roughly about 500 people living here. When entering the village we were greeted to enter the church and Nathan got to experience being a chief were he had to sit at the front of the room and try Kava.

Kava is what Fijians drink as they are not allowed to drink alcohol in the villages. It comes from the root of the pepper plant. The locals say Kava makes you relax and very sleepy lol. It looked like muddy water so I wasn’t brave enough to try!!

We walked through the village and all the locals were very friendly just doing what they do daily washing their clothes etc. We walked to the end of the village were the school was.

All the kids stay in dorms within the school grounds and it was very overwhelming to see this is how they live and they are so grateful and warm hearted. They waved and greeted us all by saying “Bula-Hello”.

After this we boarded our cruise back to the islands and had a few further stops to swim in the beautiful blue waters.

DAY 6:

Today we explored around Port Denaru which is roughly a 10-15 minute drive from Nadi. There is a shopping centre here which has a lot of souviner stores to browse around and buy gifts.

We ended the day by having dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe.

Me and Nathan are obessed with the Hard Rock restaurants anywhere we go we ensure we dine here!! The food is so yum and gives me mega Florida blues! If you haven’t already tried the bacon/cheese potato skins you need too.

DAY 7:

Today being our last day we catched the last few rays of sunshine and had breakfast at our hotel.

We then decided to end the trip by taking a walk into the town which was roughly a 40 minute walk from our hotel.

We had heard there was a Burger King newly opened and we were dying to try it as there is none in Australia it’s known as “Hungry Jacks” but it’s a totally different taste! It was great to be reunited with a whopper burger & onion rings.

With this being our final night of the holiday Nathan wanted to take me out for dinner (how romantic).

We were craving mexian food and found a beautiful mexian restaurant in a resort near Port Denaru called “Mamacita”.

Although the menu was better than I expected and I wish I could dine here everyday!!

The resort was over crowded and very busy so the atmosphere wasn’t what we were used to. We expected a Mexian vibe like music but there were a lot of kids and noise!

After the meal there was a Fiji warrior show which was cool!!

Unfortunately we didn’t have time to visit the Capital of Fiji which is Suva. It was roughly a 3 hour drive from Nadi.

Another thing we missed out on but will do when we return is Cloud 9. This costs roughly 229 Fijian Dollars which includes a $60 bar tab to spend on board.

Cloud 9 is a floating platform paradise sailing through turquoise blue waters with a stocked bar and pizza restaurant. It has sun decks and a dj to entertain. The photos actually look fake!!

Summing up the holiday I would definitely recommend this a destination to travel as a couple but not as a family.

It’s very romantic and I feel like there isn’t enough to do for kids so they would get bored easy but adults could live here!!

Anything to be aware of??

Anywhere I’ve travelled…especially Thailand a lot of the locals try to rip you off and try get every penny you own off you. It’s not like this in Fiji, the locals are very caring and make you feel at ease.

However if you are trying to get a taxi I advise you order one through your hotel reception like we did as they get you the taxis that are priced by meters which are a lot cheaper!! Outside the resorts there are a lot of taxi drivers who try stop you and will over charge you as they have their own prices so make sure to haggle with them before you get in the car!!

On the local beaches and streets there are a lot of stray dogs. This was my only fear on this holiday as I’m scared of large dogs but these dogs don’t know how to behave or interact which worried me. There were a few times the dogs faught amongst themselves and it was scary to watch. So if you’re travelling here just try to stay well away from them to be on the safe side.

When the sun begins to go down you will notice in the mountains and even on road bys there is a lot of smoke this is because the locals burn sugar canes and rubbish!! When we first seen it we were a little worried and thought there were volcanic mountains close until we asked a local so don’t panic!!

Personally this was amazing to experience with the person I love and we have ticked off another destination on our bucket list.

I feel like a piece of my heart will now forever be in Fiji so a trip back will be happening for sure.. soon I hope!!

Whilst travelling you don’t only learn so many new things but also have the opportunity to met some awesome people which make being so far away from home a little easier!!

Surprisingly we met a lovely girl from Belfast and it was very funny to hear the strong accent again as we haven’t heard it in a while lol.

Sadly this comes to the end of my blog on my trip to Fiji. I hope after reading this blog all of you book a flight to Fiji!!