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And so it begins.........

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific And so it begins.........

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1. Posted by kev86 (Budding Member 3 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

Ok, so im sitting here, after yet another mistake and short coming, thinking ' do things always have to be like this?'

Im 23 male, from the Mighty Essex, UK and seem to be at a bit of a dead end :( After moving out into my own little batchelors pad, i thought my life would start....great social life and more importantly a bit of independance and the satisfaction of standing on my own two feet! After a little under a year and after pressing that self destruct button one more time, i decided something has got to give. Is this all life has to offer me?? The same people...the same places and the same 9-5 job. I was having a nice cosy night in with the Ex girlfriend, listening to her stories of travelling and seeing the world, meeting different people and generally making the most out of life! Its struck me that while she could and has been going on about her life story all night, mine would be over in 30 seconds.... have i really lived that much of a sheltered life??? Yes i have Thats when i asked myself why i am constantly jealous of these people who put themselves out there to see what the big wide world has to offer.....or more to the point - what they have to offer the big wide world...when i can easily show the same drive and enthusiasm myself? i mean just because travelling hasnt been one of my dreams or lusts, it doesnt mean i cannot learn and give it ago?

So its been 2 months and after deciding early on to cut all ties to this hell hole and take on Australia. Have i re-searched? You bet i have. However i still keep wondering on 2 things.....

1) will a trip to Australia, really change my views and general appreciation of life and its contents, and ultimately help me find myself??

2) Am really strong and independant enough to go alone for a year....ideally two if i can get some seasonal work under my belt?

Do you guys think that travelling is for enthusiasts? am i going for the wrong reasons?

All going well and with my calculations i would be looking to arrive in Sydney around October - November 2011. Anyone else looking to go out there around that time?

I am also caught in 2 minds whether to use a company like OzIntro? I understand and have read so many comments with regards to being able to set everything up yourself....but its more of the social side - meeting people quickly thing. Is this the right thing to do? Ive read that its so easy to meet people out there but travelling alone for 1-2 years on your own is very daunting, and in my opinion an experience is much better when you have someone to share with?

I will be looking to have between 5k-7k (£) by the time i fly out, and catch some work throughout my journey. I have a part time job at a bar as well as my 9-5 over here, so ideally would love to get some bar work.... would be a great way to meet people out there? And ive heard its easy to get a RSA too.

I havent really planned any route at the moment, and not sure whether to.... are things best left unplanned and see what the world takes you, or is going unprepared a bit of a risk?

Anyone else looking to be in Sydney around Nov next year? Or anyone had any experiences they could share to ease my fears?

2. Posted by Sander (Moderator 5163 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

Quoting kev86

1) will a trip to Australia, really change my views and general appreciation of life and its contents, and ultimately help me find myself??

No one can tell you.
It probably won't give you any magical epiphanies that will forever after change who you are. Changes, if they come, are likely to be small and only noticeable after the fact.
The way it worked for me was, that being first in New Zealand for a year, and then in Australia for another year, I was living my life without any obligations. There was no one expecting anything of me, no one expecting me to behave a certain way, no one to try to and fool into thinking that I was cooler than I really was. And so I slowly discovered which things I enjoyed doing purely for myself, which things I found important, what I cared most about. There's bragging rights to the far-off folks back home when doing something new in a foreign country for the first time (whether it's waking up far too early to catch a sunrise from a mountaintop, working yourself into a sweat hiking for eight hours with a heavy backpack, randomly ambling down unimportant streets in an unremarkable suburb to observe the birds, or whatever), but by the tenth time, you'll notice that you're doing it because *you* care about what you're doing - or you'll have stopped doing it. And so I started getting to know myself. I had endless bus journeys across Australia, where I sat just gazing unseeing out of the window, reviewing my life and the things I'd been doing over the last year of travelling, coming to small conclusions about what I wanted to do and where I wanted to be heading. There were profound moments where I walked down through the harbour of Sydney, heard loud screeching above me, and looked up at the majectic form of a cockatoo heading out toward the ocean, to suddenly realize what an absolute wonder it was that I was there right then to witness this bird. Moments where I'd come out of a moss-covered forest to crest a pass, and see the sun illuminate a valley of stunning colors before me.
And above all, there was looking back upon my trip, and realizing that I passed through it all without a single major problem. 2+ years on the road, something which would've been impossible to ever truly plan or prepare for, something which should've seemed daunting beyond belief - and I just let it all come at me, and experienced it one day at a time. For me, that trip gave me self-confidence, a true appreciation of the beauty in the world, a vast number of vague internet acquaintances turned into (slightly less vague to outright good) friends, and the knowledge of how easy it is to be independent and run my own company. Before the trip, I would neurotically triple-check everything which was going to happen to me, and try to be prepared for it all; now I pack my bags half an hour before I leave to the airport, and know that I can figure out the things I'm not prepared for.

Will the same happen to you? Certainly not the exact same thing. But if you're capable of taking the time to slowly let the world seep into you and truly explore what your reaction to that world is, unfiltered by expectations and preconceptions, I'd give you good odds of it turning out to be a similarly meaningful experience.

2) Am really strong and independant enough to go alone for a year....ideally two if i can get some seasonal work under my belt?

I never thought I was. It took me over a year before I stopped expecting homesickness to strike any day now. But I just kept looking back month by month and discovering I was having far too grand a time to miss much of anything (sure, I'd long for hanging out with good friends, and had occasional crappy days, but nothing serious), and it kept feeling as if I'd barely started. (I think the key to this was that I took my time for everything, creating spaces and times where I felt at home, regardless of where I was. At any hostel I could sit at the lounge with a cup of tea and a good book, and just allow myself to unwind; there never was a need to go out and see the touristy things, as I could just do that tomorrow as well.)

am i going for the wrong reasons?

Doesn't sound like it to me. Do be prepared though for the possibility of discovering that travel is nothing for you, and be willing to accept that, should it occur.

I am also caught in 2 minds whether to use a company like OzIntro? I understand and have read so many comments with regards to being able to set everything up yourself....but its more of the social side - meeting people quickly thing. Is this the right thing to do? Ive read that its so easy to meet people out there but travelling alone for 1-2 years on your own is very daunting, and in my opinion an experience is much better when you have someone to share with?

I'm one of those who advocates just doing everything yourself, as that's the way I did it, and I found it supremely easy (also being a complete travel newbie before that time). I think the risk in starting out with a company like ozintro when you're intending to go on something of a 'soul searching trip' is that the current you will immediately form all of these bonds with other people in that group, and they'll then have expectations of who you are, based on the you way at the start of your trip. (But then, maybe you'll never see these other ozintro people again, so it's not necessarily that bad.) And of course, it's hard to not meet people at hostels, so ozintro isn't really necessary for that.
Shared experiences are great, and can be really meaningful when shared with good friends. I think you'd need to be really lucky to have any of the group of random strangers at ozintro become such a good friend, though. And when the choice is between a personal experience, or an experience shared with a group of strangers you don't really care for, I'll opt for the personal experience. (But of course, the one doesn't necessarily exclude the other, so if you'd feel happier going with ozintro, do that. I doubt it'd actually be a bad choice.)

Hope this helps a bit. Good luck with the planning, remember to accept that you can't plan everything in detail (and that if you could, those plans would change within weeks when actually over there) :) and enjoy your trip when you finally set out!

3. Posted by a.v.99 (Budding Member 83 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

mate it seems like your in the same boat as a lot of us that have decided to do the same thing. will you find yourself? well only you can find that out but i reckon there are loads of people that go travelling to find themselves.

4. Posted by timtravels (Respected Member 350 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

The only drama you'll have is once you've been travelling once you'll want to go again, and again, and again... It's an addiction.

Sometimes I wish I'd never started, then I think maybe if I just go on one more trip I'll have had enough, and the cycle continues.

5. Posted by Steve79 (Respected Member 339 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

There mere fact that you are even thinking about it indicates to me that you should go. Don't over think it, don't make excuses, don't put it off - you get out there and do it - it'll be the best thing you ever did. Well it has been for me in so many ways.

For me for the past year every day has been a new horizon, you wake up not knowing anyone one morning and by the time you go to bed that night you have made lifelong friends. The people I have met, the places I have seen, the things I have experienced since I left England last September will stay with me forever.

Anyway here is some advice from my experiences over the past year (of course this is all purely subjective and I am sure other people have different views!):

1) Are you looking to spend the entire year in Australia? Of all the places I went Australia was probably my least favourite. Thats not to say I didn't like it and I've wound up back here working now - but for me it pales into insignificance compared to places in South-East Asia, and New Zealand and Fiji, where there is far more to see. Also Australia is very, very expensive! Especially if you are travelling!

2) I would definitely spend some time in New Zealand - just a beautiful country and so much to see and do. Fiji is pure paradise too - my favourite country ever.

3) If you go to Australia than South-East Asia isn't far away. South-East Asia is so cheap, and the culture, food, people and places make it an amazing part of the world.

4) Whichever way you chose to travel, whether you go with OzIntro or not, you will meet fantastic people and have a great time!

Remember the World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page!

6. Posted by emilyemily (Budding Member 82 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

I just want to agree with timtravels... travel is the only thing I've ever become truly addicted to! You will feel it too, kev86. Solo travel is absolutely the only way to go, as well. It's absolute freedom and responsibility to nobody but yourself. You will have an amazing time.. but definitely branch out from Australia a bit! It's an awesome country but quite tame and not wildly different from any other post-industrial, wealthy, English-speaking country. You're doing the best possible thing by not making any concrete itineraries, because the best thing you can do to enjoy your liberating travels is to just let yourself float on the wind and end up wherever life takes you!

Best of luck!

7. Posted by Kimi88 (Budding Member 35 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!


I'm in the same boat here!!

I'm also looking to go to Sydney Oct - Nov next year and want to stay there for a year!

I havent got a plan as of yet as i think it'll be better to see what happens when im there! I dont want to tie myself to anything!

I see your from Essex? I'm from newcastle! If your going the same time we could get the same flight if u fancy, then 1.) We're not scared and alone haha 2.) The 24hrs of flights wont be so boring! Oh and 3.) There'll be somebody else to help take pictures! Haha!

I'm starting saving now and will probably have about 6 or more grand if i can save extra i will be!!

Kimi x

8. Posted by wanderer82 (Full Member 111 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!


I found myself in a similar situation to you at the same age in 2005. I had a degree and a job (that's a lot to have five years later mind!) but was unhappy with my life.

I travelled to australia and had an awesome time, met some amazing friends and gained a new perspective on life in general.

My answers to your questions are as follows:

1) This is hard to say. All I can do is relate my own experiences to yours. I, like you, felt I had to do a lot of 'growing up' before my travels and while I don't remember any one moment of divine enlightenment about myself and the world, looking back I certainly 'grew' as a person (more confident, less shy, more adventurous etc).

My advice would be treat everything like an adventure and learn from every experience (good and bad) don't doubt yourself and your reasons for travelling, just go with the flow and learn to cope (this is in my opnion about personal development). I was offered free accommodation in sydney and when I got there I find out why, it was above a run down pub in not a very nice area, the kitchen and toilets were disgusting (cockroaches everywhere etc) no a/c (it was summer), I had a bed but no other furniture and my neighbours consisted of six unemployed alcoholics, who would yell and scream into the night. My first reaction was to jump on the plane and fly straight back home. but I decided that I would stick it out for a few weeks (the drunks were actually quite nice blokes) and eventually I met some fellow travellers and moved in with them.

The point is don't expect everything to go like a dream, you'll have wild and amazing times but if you're like me you'll also have moments where you'll have a few second thoughts and think about returning home. Don't do this. If you want to really grow up and gain an appreciation for life don't turn and run as soon as the going gets tough (ie you run out of money, places/people aren't what you expect, you can't find work etc) just accept it as part of your learning experience and move on.

2) That's really up to you, like I said travelling is more than about just seeing places, a lot of it is about personal development. I don't see it as being strong or independant, just open-minded enough to put yourself out of your comfort zone and learning to get by. I didn't know anyone when I left for australia and was terrified I would not meet any like-minded people, but literally a few weeks into it I had made some amazing friends who I still keep in touch with.

People go travelling for all kinds of reasons, and I think yours are about as common as they go for it!

Personally I think companies like ozintro are a rip-off and defeat a lot of what you are trying to achieve (grow-up, learn to do things for yourself, meet people under your own steam etc). I suppose if you are 18 and totally naive then it's an OK idea but for someone in their 20s it's a bit much to charge people for things that should be either free or very cheap to do anyway (SIM card, Tax File Number, internet access, bank account etc), most of those can be done after a few minutes of research and a little patience.

I'd also object at paying someone for the privilege of meeting other travellers for example, when you can walk into most popular hostels and bars in Sydney (scruffy murphy's etc) and meet people straight away, so why would you pay for it, it seems crazy.

Do what I'd call a 'traditional traveller' would do. Explore the place for yourself, take a look around, sign up for some activities, go to the pub, go clubbing, stay in a hostel, go to the beach, join a pool/darts/rugby/football/touch footy/AFL/Poker/pub quiz team or whatever team, just get yourself out there.

It's really not that hard to meet like-minded people, it just depends on how you approach it. It's difficult to describe but you'll find that most travellers are all kind of on the same wavelength (young, chilled out looking for fun) and the climate and the lifestyle out there just makes it easier to meet people somehow.

It sounds like you'll have plenty of cash so when you arrive, just relax and have fun for a few weeks, don't worry about meeting friends, if your're having a good time, that'll happen anyway.

Don't worry about planning too much, you seem like you'll have plenty of financial independance just make a list of things you'd like to see and leave the planning until later.

Sorry for the lengthy post, it's sounds wierd but you sound a lot like I was before I went to Australia, that's why it struck a chord with me!


Have an amazing time!



9. Posted by clm89 (Budding Member 2 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

I think anyone thinking about travelling and travelling on your own go for it dont think

twice lifes too short and you will have the rest of your life to look forward to !

Dont think about the scary stuff, i am at a point in my life where i want to go now ! but i

simply cannot afford too !

I know i can save easily but thats not good enough haha wouldnt it be nice to just pack up

and go whenever you want and figure out the rest later !

i woulnt rely on friends or strangers saying they would travel with you as i have had

severel people say the same thing and then change their mind quickly so i wouldnt get my

hopes up after all your dream may not be the same as anyone elses !

Good luck x

10. Posted by tomtvl (Budding Member 26 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

Hey there mate,

The human brain can always learn and unlearn of what you desire to do. Whatever you it is you want to do - follow your instincts and don't forget to keep safe. You'll do just fine. Wishing you the best of luck.

Cheers :)