In 2012/2013 almost 40,000 working holiday visas were issued to UK citizens bound for Australia. In 2016 I was one of them. Arriving, bleary eyed and slightly cranky into the pleasant breeze of 6 am Sydney after almost 23 hours in transit from Glasgow. If You had told me just three months beforehand that I would be in that situation, I probably wouldn’t have believed you.
I had visited Australia a few years prior, for an actual holiday, visiting my parents and taking a trip up the coast all the way to Cairns and back to Sydney, with our base just outside Newcastle. Lots of holidaying, very relaxing, and not somewhere I planned to visit again. ‘It’s too far away from the rest of the world’ ‘I felt very isolated’ were a couple of my choice descriptors of my brief encounter with Australian life. But once University was concluded and I was faced with the uphill battle that is the UK job market, as well as living in a horrible little cottage that was very isolated and far away, I decided to jump ship and go move back in with my parents. So there were two slightly unorthodox transitions I made;
1. moving in with my parents, who just happened to live in Australia.
2. Going on a working holiday, while moving back in with my parents
After a couple of weeks adjusting to life in Australia (read: taking long walks on the beach, and sitting in the sun all day) I found a job, so my income post-bills was instantly back to where it was prior to leaving the UK only in a currency that hasn’t been taking a roller-coaster ride. I made friends,
met a partner and I was settling in nicely to the lifestyle. Then two weeks ago I came home again.
This time, the flight was not as much of a drag as it had been, with my partner sat beside me we listened to music together, tried to play games, tried to sync our in-seat TV’s so we could watch a movie together. But being back in Glasgow has shown me how much I have grown to love living in Australia. I like the hours I spend sitting on the train going to and from work, or to Sydney. It is teaching me to relax more when travelling, giving me time to get things done. I like the friends I have made there, and waking up to the kookaburras and cockatoos sitting on the porch waiting to be fed.
This time tomorrow I will be heading to the airport, ready for another long flight back to Sydney. I am almost at the 6 month limit with my current employer, and need to start looking at rural work to get my second year, and then to start looking longer term.
So Australia is still far away, but once you’ve made some friends and gotten used to the distances you need to travel, it isn’t so isolated. And, in Winter at least, the grass certainly seems greener.