Applying for a working holiday visa and ultimately backpacking Australia for a year is still the best decision I’ve made. I learned a lot about myself and it opened my eyes to the world more so than any other traveling I had done before it. I often get asked what I gained from that year in my life or what I learned, and here are the five things I took away from my year down under!
Five things I took away from one year backpacking in Australia:
You’ll meet people from all over the world
You might expect to be immersed in the Australian culture right away, but the truth is you’ll first be meeting people from all over the world. Staying in hostels, you’re likely to meet a mix of people, a large population being from The UK, Canada and Europe. What I found is that it wasn’t until I started my first job in Australia that I really met Australians. It is a great experience meeting all the other likeminded travelers. Everyone has been there longer or shorter time frames than you so there is plenty to learn from some and plenty to share with others!
You’ll learn how to handle a variety of situations
Every day and every situation won’t go according to plan and backpacking forces you to be adaptable. You’ll learn all of the problem solving skills you may have not known you had in you. Most unexpected situations will likely be a good story to share. Meeting so many travelers will also give you some insight on potential situations you can avoid, or know how to handle when they come up.
You’ll be challenged
There are times you might be hungry, exhausted or frustrated and that is ok. That’s just a part of the journey! One thing I learned was that buses running in smaller Australian cities (and I’m not talking about greyhound) won’t stop if not enough people are booked. You won’t be notified and the customer service line closes at 10pm, so when the scheduled 2am bus doesn’t show up, you won’t be able to find out why until the next morning. These kind of challenging situations will be difficult at the time, but also make you realize what you are able to handle.
You’ll learn a lot about yourself
You learn how to be comfortable with the uncomfortable, how to deal with being homesick, all of the things you may have never thought you were capable of. Solo backpacking really forces you to take a deep look into yourself. You’ll learn what you can and cannot live without, what is important to you and maybe what you thought was important but isn’t as important to you anymore. Maybe you’ll find a new hobby or passion. Backpacking in another country for a year makes you realize how capable you are. What could be better than figuring it out while out on a great adventure?
You’ll get in shape
Carrying a heavy backpack can seem a bit daunting at first but before you know it you’ll be a pro carrying that backpack around. You’ll be doing a ton of walking taking in all the sites of each city. I was amazed at how often I opted to walk 20 minutes into the city center from my accommodation instead of taking expensive transit. Not only did I get to see more, but all of the walking helped me drop some weight over the course of a year. Being so active, carrying a heavy backpack from place to place, who needs a gym? Just remember to drink plenty of water, and have some fruit and veggies once in a while!
Most of all what I learned from a year in Australia is that it was the best decision I had made. I have memories and friendships I will never forget and lessons learned that will forever stick with me.
Useful Travel Information:
You’ll find companies offering assistance in finding jobs for those on a work and travel visa as well as offering packages for all of the amazing adventures you could possibly imagine. They can be found all over every major cities CBD as well as hostels having in house travel resource companies on property. You’ll find plenty of hostels for cheap accommodation, many offering bars/nightlife on site.
UltimateOz is great resource to connect with prior to arriving in Australia. They have a package that includes accommodation for your first week in Australia and group activities. This package also includes setting up a tax file number and bank account needed for working in Australia. This package also gives you access to a job posting resource for 12 months. Head over to www.ultimate.travel and see all of the great things they have to offer. Another place I used often was Peterpans Adventure Travel. They can be found close to hostels and the CBD in the major Australian cities. www.peterpans.com