Things I realised in my first Month of Travelling through Down Under

If you don’t want to, you are never alone.

It is so easy to meet people when you stay in hostels. Everyone told me so before I left, but I couldn’t imagine it that well – now I know what the mean because it is so easy. Even if you are a shy person and not confident enough to speak to someone yourself, you will meet people that are and eventually start talking to strangers yourself as well.

Which leads me to the next point…

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Travelling alone isn’t as scary as it sounds

Especially because you aren’t alone that often and even if you are its still not scary (after you get used to it a bit). And Australia is a very safe country as well (which makes it great for solo travellers, (solo) female travellers and people that are new to travelling) because the people here are so friendly and helpful!

I haven’t had a bad experience so far. Obviously a few that didn’t went as planned, but that’s totally normal and you grow and learn by working yourself through them (or asking for help).

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Calling and asking

When I first started being “grown up” and having to call people and organize things by myself I was always insecure and flustered when I had to do so. It bettered through time and practice but just now being here I learned that it is so much easier to call than to fight myself through websites or try to figure out things. I just call, quickly ask for what I am looking or explain my problem and they answer me or even book/do something for me. And afterwards you feel good and safe because you know that it worked out and you don’t need to be worried that something went wrong because you missed/misunderstood something.

But I have to say that this point can be different from person to person. As I feel mostly safe talking English or at least explaining what I want to say it’s not a big deal for me.

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Planning and Booking can be exhausting.

Even if you call to book. Planning, booking and figuring out where to stay the next night or what to do when, how and with which company can be very exhausting. It is also very time consuming (when you don’t just go to a travel agency and book the first thing they offer) because you need to know what you want (not easy when there are so many options! :D ) and you need to find good prices.

That’s why I am already looking forward to traveling with my parents for three weeks (where my mom is the one that planned most things in advance), stay at my AuPair family for a few weeks and have a job and a fixed place for a while in the future.

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Decisions don’t matter that much. You will have a great time anyways.

On the other hand, it doesn’t matter that much what you decide to do. You will have a great time anyways or make the best out of it.

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Hostel life is awesome.

Besides that, living in a hostel is wonderful. You get to meet people so easily, you cook together, most hostels have free activities you can join and overall, it’s a great vibe to stay with other travellers.

But it has downsides as well.

It can also be very tiring to be around people all the time and have no privacy at all. It’s rarely completely calm and peaceful, even when you have a small room and quiet people. You always need your room key when you just want to go to the toilet, shared kitchens can be disgusting and it’s annoying to live out of a backpack sometimes, even when you tried to pack the least that is possible.

But don’t get me wrong it is still great! Sometimes everything is just too much and you get annoyed by things that usually don’t bother you.

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After 8 people dorms, it doesn’t matter anymore.

12-bed-dorm? Basically, the same as 8- or 10- bed dorm. Trust me, it really doesn’t matter. It’s just a lot of people, but I personally don’t have a problem with it. I have my ear plugs and sleeping mask and I’m good.

Soon I am going to stay in a 16-bed dorm and I even would take bigger ones. It really doesn’t matter, it might even get better because the rooms get bigger.

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Doing dished before and after using them.

When you use the hostel kitchen you do the dishes before and after cooking – at least that’s how I did it in the beginning. Now, I just look if they are clean enough. Only sharp knives and trenchers get cleaned properly before because you never know who cut raw meat on there before…

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You can make crazily good friends in a very short time.

I never ever expected making so many friends in such a short time here. I already met so many awesome people and a few became really close. And the good thing about it is that you will eventually meet again here in Australia (as everyone is kinda going to the same spots) or anywhere in the world.

I already know that I’ll go to Milan, Amsterdam and Guatemala in the future to visit my friends and explore their home with them.

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Letting go and saying goodbye to people you only knew for a short time still hurts.

But you also need to say goodbye to a lot of people very quickly because your ways split. That’s just how it is and you can only hope to see each other again soon.

When you are alone you meet people more easily.

Especially when you travel solo you meet people super easy. Why? Because you would rather talk to a stranger when he is sitting there alone than to a group or two people. And when you see another solo traveller you are more likely to understand his situation and connect with them.

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Earplugs, Tupperware, camping fork-spoon are essentials.

I’ll for sure do an extra post on the best and most practical items every backpacker should have, but here are my top 3.

Tours are worth the money.

I know they sound expensive at first, but I decided for myself that they are worth the money. Especially when you travel alone and don’t have a car/travel mates with a car. You don’t need to worry about planning, organizing, driving long distances, food, what to do, where and how to do it best and you learn a lot from the tour guide. You meet people super easily and as you are together for a few days you can get to know each other easily.

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You can’t just live the cheapest possible, you also need to enjoy.

In the beginning, I really tried to spend as less as possible. And I still try to, but you can’t only take the cheapest possible. Especially with food I now spend way more that I could (and should :D ) but I enjoy going out with friends to eat or try all the good stuff they have here (Australia has so many awesome food options as their cuisine is so diverse from all around the world). And it makes me happy, so it’s worth it.

At least I don’t spend money on coffee or a lot of alcohol :D

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Speaking English will feel natural very quickly.

When I was in Melbourne, I only spoke English and I loved it! It felt so natural after a while and I really could feel the progress of being more confident and quicker.

I really tried to stay away from Germans, but it is hard.

Germans are everywhere.

Sometimes I wonder, if I am still in Australia as there are soo many Germans here. Little annoying even though they are nice and it’s fun to meet them – I really want to speak English! :P

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You will make mistakes and pay for them.

Oh yes. You (Umgehen) it, even if you try very hard. Sometimes things just go wrong or you just realise afterwards that you booked something stupid.

But… It’s only money, right?

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Off to Australia! 24 Hour Journey and my First Day in Melbourne | Diary 001

It’s already over one week ago since I said goodbye to my parents and flew to the other side of the world. I still haven’t realised completely that I am in Australia on my big adventure now. On the other hand, I kind of already feels settled here.

I have some friends and people to hang out with, I know where to go and what tram to take, I already saw a lot of places and I got used to speaking English very quickly.

Maybe it’s just because of the cold weather that it doesn’t really feel like Australia for me. Or maybe because I haven’t seen any typical Australian nature yet – cause the city of Melbourne could be a European city as well…

Now that I have a lot of amazing experiences and exciting things to do and talk about every day, I thought I would start writing a diary here on my blog to update you on what I am doing, seeing, eating and feeling.

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A few days before…

There was a time (around 2 weeks before my flight) where I felt a bit insecure. I had very mixed emotions with leaving all my friends and my family back home and being alone on the other side of the world. I got a bit scared about my safety and if I would find people to hang out with, if I’ll be able to find the way in a huge city like Melbourne or if I will get lonely and homesick. Of course, I was still excited about my adventure, but scared at the same time…

Luckily a friend of mine has been in the same situation two years ago and he could give me some good tips and ease my fears and doubts.

 

 

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A few days before my flight I wasn’t scared at all anymore. I kind of felt like in trance – I just could not realize that the time I have been waiting for for so long is actually there and that I’ll be flying soon. I packed my backpack but wasn’t really in vacation mood as I usually am when packing my bag for a trip. It was more like seeing someone else doing it – I didn’t really felt like I was present.

If you want to know what I packed and took with me for one year of travelling through Australia and Asia, have a look at this blog post!

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Wednesday 19/9

Backpacks where ready, I already said goodbye to all my friends and family (more about my last weekend with my best friends in my September Review) and drove with my parents to Frankfurt. We had a beautiful last dinner together and I had a last good sleep on German ground.

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Thursday 20/9

Early in the morning, we drove to the airport, I checked in my backpack, ate avo bagel for breakfast and had to say goodbye to my parents. This was for sure the hardest goodbye of all.

At 11 am my flight took off and I left my home. Luckily, I wasn’t sad at all – just excited for what is about to come. I flew with Qatar airlines which is a super good airline that I booked an open-return ticket with (which I highly recommend for long trips like mine because you never exactly know when you want to return).

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For my first flight to Doha I had a whole row to myself which was super nice and also the vegan food that I asked for before via email was the best plane food I’ve ever had!

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After 6 hours I landed in Doha and when we left the plane it was like a hot hairdryer that blows into your face, even though it was the late evening, it was still super hot. In my three hour layover, I just walked around the airport a bit and used their Wi-Fi to tell everybody at home that I landed in Qatar safe.

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Then I had to get on my 1- hour flight to Melbourne which wasn’t as comfortable, but I could still sleep pretty well and I watched some movies. The food again was amazing and I have to say that I really enjoyed my flights – nevertheless, they were long.

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Friday 21/9

On Thursday me and my backpack (thank god!) arrived in Melbourne at around 6pm. To get to the centre I had to take the Skybus from the airport which was 19$!! Only for a 20-minute bus ride. But I arrived at my hostel and quickly met my roommate Sabrina from Italy, that I still spend a lot of time with.

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Saturday 22/9

My first day in Melbourne was kind of overwhelming and I quickly felt like I didn’t like the city that much because it is busy, loud and lots of people. But I fell in love with the city more and more every day!

First thing I did was going to the bank to open up a bank account at get my card delivered to my hostel as quickly as possible and afterwards I just scrolled through the streets to get an idea of the city.

I felt like my jetlag wasn’t very bad because I wasn’t tired at all in the day, but the first 3 or 4 nights I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t fall back asleep for hours which was annoying but it’s all good now.

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The weather here in Melbourne is not as I wished it would be. I freeze even though I wear all the clothes that I have with my (longsleeve, sweater, down jacket, softshell jacket and a scarf). The wind is pretty strong and especially in the shades it can be freezing. We have around 16-18° Celsius most days and in the sun it can get warm, but I am probably just not used to the “cold” after this hot summer in Europe.

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Planning for Work & Travel in Australia

As you probably already know, I am going to fly to Melbourne, Australia next week and start my work & travel adventure. I am already super excited, but also very nervous and a bit afraid of all the new things that will come my way.

In this post, I want to give you an overview over the plan I have (even tho there isn’t much that I have planned), resources I used and recommend to inform yourself for your own work & travel experience, as well as expectations I have for my gap year.

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Twelve Apostles, 1999

My Plan

Everyone says that you shouldn’t plan too much (or at all?) because it will end up differently anyway and you can’t be prepared for every situation. But there are a few things that I did plan.

I fly with Qatar Airways on September 20th from Frankfurt to Melbourne with a stopover in Doha, Katar. For the first three nights I pre-booked a bed in a 4-bed-female-Dorm at the Nomads All Nations Hostel in Melbourne.

At the end of October, my cousin will fly to Sydney and we’ll explore the city and probably drive up north to Byron Bay and back to Sydney.

Afterwards, I thought about flying to Perth, Western Australia to explore this area of Australia until I’ll fly to Cains to meet my parents in mid-December.

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Then I’ll drive with my family in a Camper down the East Coast, celebrate Christmas and end in Sydney on New Years Evening.

In May I am going to be an AuPair on the Sunshine Coast (near Brisbane) for a family with five kids and I am already super excited about that!

And then I’ll fly to Bali in mid-July to meet my best friends and explore the islands and Bangkok, Singapur, Chiang Mai and Kuala Lumpur before I fly back home.

That’s it – nothing more is planned. I’ll just follow my heart and see where it brings me.

 

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Now I’ll share some great resources to get information, inspiration, motivation and more! I hope that my blog and my articles that I’ve planned for my trip will be a great resource for you as well – so stay tuned!

Books

I am obviously not going to take any books with me, but I made a document with the places I want to go (separated for every city/region) and another one with tips, internet pages and more that I’ll have on my laptop. That way I always have something to do for the first days in a new place.

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A guide for your W&T experience in Australia* with lots of info and tips. I wouldn’t say it’s necessary to read a book like that, because you can find all the information on the internet for free, but it’s still a helpful guide.

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A W&T diary* with many tips on where to go & what to do, plus a lot of inspiration and anticipation. Many pretty pictures to underline his travels and it makes me really want to write my own diary book!

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Another great Work & Travel Australia story* that I really enjoyed reading! I probably wouldn’t recommend buying and reading so many books about it, because it’s not necessary at all, but I already knew for many years back in school that I want to do it, so I needed the time to go faster until I can start travelling :D

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This book* tells you about some unexpected different habits Aussie’s have that you may not know. Funny to read and some things I didn’t already know.

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I also got a book with the Highlights of Australia* and a Travel Guide for Australia that I used to find must-dos and beautiful places I want to go to.

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Helpful articles

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Websites & Booking

I booked my Open-Return Ticket to Australia here! They offer great deals and it’s super easy.

Hostelworld.com is where I booked my first three nights in Melbourne. But later I found the same hostel for cheaper at booking.com so now I have both apps on my mobile and I’m going to check who has the best deals.

I also signed up to couchsurfing and downloaded the app and maybe I’ll find somewhere to stay for free. And I also want to look into housecarers and trustedhousesitters to maybe find a housesitting job.

To find my Au Pair Family I used aupairworld and I can highly recommend it because there is no organisation or company behind it, so you don’t pay anything to them and you get to choose your family yourself.

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Apps

Here are some more apps I downloaded (besides the ones I mentioned above).

  • Here we go – where I downloaded the map of Australia so I can use it offline
  • Money Control – to budget my money and have an eye on my spends
  • Dropbox – so safe important documents
  • Bank App – the app to my bank so I can make transfers and check my bank account from my phone
  • Spotify – so I can listen to music and podcasts on the go (I have the premium membership so I can download and listen offline)

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YouTube

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Expectations for my Gap Year

I know I should let everything come as it should and I shouldn’t have expectations, dreams and hopes for my year in Australia. But that’s just not how I work. I love making plans, setting goals, having to-do lists and such, so I obviously couldn’t hold myself back…

  • making lots of unforgettable experiences and memories
  • meeting lovely people, travelling together for a while
  • leaning to be more spontaneous
  • travelling alone, spending time with myself, learning to enjoy my own presence
  • being open to new people, opportunities and chances
  • growing as a person and overcoming my comfort zone
  • getting to know Australia and the Aussie’s not just as a tourist but more deeply
  • walking, running, hiking a lot and explore by foot
  • still doing yoga and sport on my travel
  • learn to surf
  • work on a farm and as a fruit picker
  • eating mostly plant-based vegan and as healthy & cheap as possible most of the time
  • eat the typical Shepherds Pie (veggie)
  • trying the healthy vegan food spots in Sydney, Melbourne, Byron Bay…
  • living a minimalistic life and learning to feel great with owning less
  • eating Acai Bowls with a view over the sea
  • watching sunrise and sunsets at the beach
  • taking pretty pictures and still posting blog posts frequently
  • starting to make videos
  • writing a travel diary
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The pictures you saw in this blog post are analog photo’s from 1999 when my parents where in Australia. 

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* Dies ist ein Affiliate Link. Wenn du etwas über diesen Link kaufst, bekomme ich eine kleine Provision und du unterstützt mich und meine Arbeit. Der Preis ändert sich für dich dabei natürlich nicht. Danke!