Work & Travel Experience in Australia

By Jennifer, Cultural Embrace Work in Australia Participant

An epic new years eve and day in Sydney, camping in Yamba with eight-feet tall kangaroos and Bluesfest in Byron Bay, the Blue Mountains, Australia Day, a move into a new pad, and road-tripping through Tasmania make for an excellent few months in the land down under.

Hello all!

Tasmania was absolutely amazing. Two of my good friends (and Tassie traveling buddies) and I had each been forewarned about a few of the off-beat qualities Tasmania is known for, such as the semi-crazed wildlife, “disconnected” people, general rough-edgedness, etc. and although I admit most of the descriptions turned our to be true, they only added to the experience and made the trip even more spectacularly memorable.

Our Travel Map: Hobart, to Port Arthur and the Tasmanian Peninsula, to Wineglass and Coles Bay in Freycinet National Park, to Bicheno and St. Helens and the stretch of Bay of Fires beaches, to Cradle Mountain, back up to Launceston- with several beach and other beautiful middle-of-no-where pit spots along the way. A few highlights in my Tasmania scrapbook look something like this:

  1. Taking a ghost tour in Port Arthur, known as the most haunted spot in all of Australia, and camping out that evening only to keep each other up all night questioning shadows, creeping wildlife, and your standard bump in the night.
  2. Hiking to Wine Glass Bay, digging my feet into the sand feeling for shells for my little siblings back at home whom I promised a small piece of Tasmania while watching the rain roll in.
  3. Taking in a fifteen-mile stretch of empty bleach white beach with water such an unreal glowing turquoise it took my breath away.
  4. Standing on one of the closest points in the world to Antarctica and wondering if (or when 🙂 ) I’ll make it there. (Did you know there are actually people who will pay thousands of dollars to fly to Antarctica—12 hour flight from Aus— only to circle over it for four hours and return home without ever actually landing… what happens if you have an aisle seat?… hah, a bit ridiculous I say.)
  5.  Driving cliff side to the top of Cradle Mountain through flourishing forestry next to gorgeous canyons, making stops along the way such as exquisite lookouts and “enchanted” walks, and the Tasmanian Devil preservation facility, etc. (Tassie Devils are one of the only animals in the world who’ve ever been given a fairly exact date of extinction due to disease and drastic drops in successful reproduction. If you make it over to Tassie, be sure to stop by the facility. All payments made are donations to the devil’s preservation.)
  6. And most random of all…. waking up next to the beach at camp at 5 a.m. with a report of a tsunami heading our way and driving as much inland and reception-bound as we could for two hours before receiving any real news about the earthquake in Chile and its effects. Although Tasmania’s effects ended up being minimal, it was unnerving realizing how disconnected we actually were from the rest of the world in most areas in Tas.
But even thought I still have Tassie and vacation on the brain, I’m back to my reality now, and it’s actually been a pretty huge week in our lively household. One of our beloved flat mates, our token male of the house, has moved on northward, and a girlfriend from The States has moved in and taken over his spot. Aside from the sadness of seeing a very good friend go and the excitement of having another join in the madness, the coming and going of good friends is definitely a reminder that eventually my time here and in this experience will be up… sooner or later, it’ll be everyone’s time to move on. It takes any kind of feelings of permanency out of the picture, really. I still haven’t decided which I prefer- the excitement of knowing that my experiences here have really just begun/not knowing what’s coming next, or the comfort of being surrounded by good people who provide me with a sort of blanket of stability (and pure entertainment I should add). It’s also an unimaginably tough feeling wondering when you’ll again see those incredible friends who are leaving on new adventures, but at the same time it’s really cool knowing you’ll make it happen, wherever in the world it will be. It’s very bitter sweet.

But for now, our pretty routine weekly lives of beach, hitting the city, small travels and work go on. Personally, it’s a pretty big next few weeks for me as I work and save for my camping trip in Yamba, Blues Festival weekend in Byron Bay and New Zealand trip all coming up before mid-April. It’s all coming so fast! I honestly have no idea where the time went, and I can’t believe it’s already mid-March! Whoa.

So after all my rambling, I’ll end with what I’ve learned these past two few weeks: People and experiences will most often come and eventually go, but that should never stop you from giving your full self in order to gain as much from each as possible. After all is said and done, I can’t imagine a more fulfilling feeling than knowing I’ve grown from so many diverse tastes of life. And so, it continues!

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