Australia = It's totally the Canadian oz but with funny accents that I totally have to get use to.
First impressions: Gorgeous! It's beautiful here. There's tons of space, its clean and people are really friendly. There is a wonderful familiarity about Australia. It's pretty much like home but warmer. Mind you I'm in the east on the sunshine coast (just north of Brisbane). Aside from 2 days of rain where it reminded me on Vancouver, it's been beautifully sunny. It's chilly but this is the best "winter" I've ever experienced!!
Stereotypes & myths - let's tackle this one a bit. Alright so it's only been 2 weeks so I could definitely be wrong but here are some observations:
- Yes, they are all pretty friendly. Everyone one does say " G'day mate. How's it goin? " and it comes with a smile :)
- I swear I do think they all know how to surf. Walking by the class of 20 kids taking lessons is not helping dis-spell this stereotype nor are the multitude of surf shops everywhere!
- They are heavy drinkers and kinda crazy. Well, if you go to the bars, it's very true. Then again, where isn't it?
- It's very expensive here. True. It's not quite as bad as Europe but everything definitely costs more than North America!! Ugh! The cheapest thing in 7/11 should not be $4! Seriously...
- The sun is really strong here! I got a raccoon tan from my shades just sitting in the car. Yup I'm wearing sunscreen all the time here!
- Myth- I have not seen a koala bear yet. So they are definitely not everywhere. Although I have seen kangaroos. Wow are they ever cute?! Disappointingly though, they weren't boxing. Haven't seen giant spiders yet either. Or snakes. Or dingos. Or anything creepy like that. So far so good on minimizing my experiences with deadly huge animals.
- It's bone dry - yet another myth. Actually there are a suprising amount of lakes, rivers and water everywhere! They build beautiful homes right on the water with parking spots for their boats and yachts. Gorgeous! Now that's the life!
- Heidi! I have been having a great time because of her. She's been the perfect host/tour guide/friend. Even though we haven't known each other for long I think we've experienced so many facets of our personalities already! Together we've been - Extremely zen. Studious and serious. Debaucherous and crazy. Discliplined and healthy.
- Nimbim - An odd and funny little hippie town where anything goes. They have a hemp embassy, a mardi grass and the happening place to be at is the museum.
- Bundjalung National Park - nothing beats waking up to the sound of the ocean, watching colors change in the reflections off waves and having the whole beach to yourself.
- Byron Bay, Yamba, Coff's Harbour. The east coast is sprinkled with tons of small fishing towns that are postcard perfect! It reminds me of the Maritimes back in Canada. At one point we had a picnic on the headlands and it felt like we were in Signal Hill in Newfoundland.
- Driving through a double rainbow. It was amazing!! At one point, we were so close to it we were expecting to find the pot of gold or Lucky charms.
- Heidi's place and roomates! It's a 10 min walk through a little forest to the beach, which means I get to enjoy the gorgeous sunshine, watch hot surfers tackle the waves and feel the sand and cool ocean everyday! And who gets lucky enough to meet awesome people right away so you feel you have girlfriends already?! Me!! :)
- Heidi's cooking! It's phenomenal and she's been spoiling me!! Goodies on the menu - Thai green curry, prawn and chorizo paella, Asian herb crusted salmon, Aussie steak & 3 veggies, apple & mixed berry crumble and some other creative desserts involving cookies, chocolates, pies and ice cream.
- It's pretty warm considering it's winter but it was still pretty darn cold while we were camping. I'm not complaining though...honestly.
- Juice cleanse - I'm putting it here cause it it was interesting to only have juice for 2 days. Beets. Pineapple. Celery. Grapefruit. Ginger. Name it I think we juiced it. But, I'm so over it now...lol.
- Setting up a tent in pitch black darkness = not a good idea. And same goes for not closing the tent door...it's cooold at night and we're lucky the native bush turkeys didn't come in.
- Detox & cleansing. Australia is my get healthy, fit and back in shape continent. I'm not really sure the patch is working...but at least the desire and attempt is there!
- I do not have enough winter appropriate cloths. I miss my wardrobe back home! Sigh. First purchases here has been a red fleece jumper (look at me getting into the lingo) and sexy/practical black boots.
- My resume! Yup, I've been obsessing about getting it right...makes sense considering what I use to do for a living. But it's unnerving to get back to 'reality' considering I've been traveling for so long.
To be honest, I have such high hopes for Australia. I want to find passion...explore opportunities, find work, a new place to call home again (at least for a little while). It's both exciting and daunting to try and get back into the swing of everyday non traveling life. It's funny cause I do actually miss my professional persona. I guess that's a sign to get working again! I can understand why people find it daunting to start fresh. You have to orient yourself, find a place, pray that you meet good people, source a job that will hopefully pay you enough and that you'll enjoy. There are tons of things that you have to think about.
I'm excited to be here... I'm in a great place and extremely hopeful. I've always believed that life is about choices and that you create your realities. That said, I'm looking for an awesome paying job that is exciting and fruitful, with a gorgeous place near the ocean, amazing new friends and maybe a Hugh Jackman lookalike massaging me after learning to surf and maybe Cate Blanchett for a neighbour?! So if anyone has any info, contacts, connections, recommendations let me know ok?! Anyone?! Lol. :)