Just bumped into the kid who’s currently playing the role of acting landlord of my old flat I’m squatting in… CRAP. Met on the bridge and I stopped to say hi. No point avoiding the obvious. Said he was doing well and told him I was looking to catch a flight to Melbourne. He wished me a good trip and we went our separate ways. Phew.
Everyone on the dock’s looking up right now…
A couple of nights ago I met up with R, an English lad I was supposed to hang out with before leaving home for Xmas. We had a really great night. Walked along the harbour, went to a cheap Irish pub and then ended up at a backpacker’s dive and danced it out. Really fun night. He’s sort of a male version of me (education, hobbies, interests etc.) except machine-version. Works non-stop and looks to be a social effing animal. I’d like to hang out again… we’ll see. Also… didn’t spend a dime!
3PM-ish. Sitting on a patch of grass in The Rocks. Went to watch The Hobbit this AM. I enjoyed it. I’ll stay tuned for the next installment. Young Bilbo Beggins’ sarcasm definitely made that flick. I’ve coined him my next husband. I could hack the shire nooooo problem. 🙂
Saw an awesome balloon ARTIST on my way home today on Pitt Street…
6:45PM. Went to see M and O today. M definitely remembered me… it was great. J Changed soo much in 2 months. I brought M a few shirts from home… one with a moose holding a hockey stick. Doesn’t get more Canadian than that! Went to the park for a couple of hours and had a chat with O about other uptight moms—good times. I want a chocolate chip cookie.
Bought two fresh cookies from Subway but didn’t feel like eating them. Dropped them off with a homeless beggar on Pitt Street. He shot me a smile. 🙂
A Finnish girl moved into my old bed today. She’s so nice I can’t even hate her. Parkin’ it on the couch tonight. Also decided that—for now—Thailand is a no go. No point in spending money I don’t have.
Flight was awesome. Flew from Toronto to San Francisco to Sydney. The stopover in San Fran was only 45 minutes. The hop-off-hop-on connection made it feel like I flew 18 hours straight (approx.) from home to Oz. Quick and dirty.
While flying I was thinking of a way to get to my flat without paying for a cab. Cab fare from SYD would cost me around $35. Taking the Airport Link Train would cost me $15 but would only get me to Town Hall. I wouldn’t be able to carry my 2 packs the rest of the way by foot. Decided I’d figure it out when I got there.
Turned out United Airlines left my larger pack in San Fran. Baggage claim services assured me it’d be delivered (free of charge) to my flat the following day. Worked out PERFECT! I grabbed the Airport Link into the city for $15 and walked the rest of the way. I had another pair of pants and a tee in my small pack anyway. Plus I got $100 compensation from my Capitol One Aspire MasterCard under the included baggage delay insurance. All worked out. (TIP: A lot of private companies offer shuttle services to and from the airport for the same price. Give it a Google).
Arrived back in Sydney on the bloody hottest day ever… over 43 degrees (C). Hung out with my roomies, caught up with an old flame, took a couple of melatonin tablets and went off to bed. Snoozed.
Weather cooled since yesterday. For no apparent reason whatsoever this has to be my favourite day in Sydney to record. Over Xmas I decided I’d come back here, look for farm work somewhere in southern Australia to get my second year visa, then settle again and work… EFF THAT.
At THIS moment… I feel one year in Oz will satisfy me. Things could change (UPDATE: I want to stay longer). Right now I’m living at my old flat rent-free hoping my former landlord doesn’t hop in to catch me frying eggs in my PJs: “fancy seeing you here Canadia.” Might be a tad uncomfortable considering I have yet to hand back my key (forgot to before leaving in December). Opps!
My plans now? Possibly stay in Sydney for a bit… rent-free. How? Couch surf, work in a hostel or stay with O (my old boss). Before leaving for home she mentioned I could crash at her place if I needed a bed. Sweet. Plus my friend from the Philippines is looking for a flat so maybe I could crash there. Plenty of options.
Plans for the next week are to remain in tourist-mode until I’ve had my fill. Screw finding work, screw finding a new flat, screw pricey bonds. I love travelling and my closest friends know me to be a wanderer … might as well.
Today’s weather reminds me of springtime in Niagara Falls, ON. Cool and breezy… lovely. Tonight I’ll look up a few free things to do—or things that are going on in Sydney. Right now is Sydney’s festival time so there’s loads of things to look out for. Just winging it and keepin’ it simple.
Also going to keep up with my IWTK posts. I can feel it will lead to something great in the long run… looking forward to it. 🙂
Sitting in the Westfield food court. Grabbed some Guzman Y Gomez. Beef burrito bowl with guacamole… yummmmm. Grab a loyalty card if you’re a Mexican food fiend like myself.
A man and woman are sitting to my left. They’re colleagues. Actually… she’s his boss, and she’s politely bit*hing to him about his less than mediocre sales as of late.
To my right are a group of middle-aged Asian women who just ordered gelato from the Italian café behind us. They are looooving it. Just shared a few laughs with them and took a few pics of them with their waffle cones. They just called themselves ‘ice-cream addicts.’ Enjoying life.
Boss woman to my left just gave her employee some sage advice: ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING.
Time for a post-meal read. Today’s feature: Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek. Highly recommended.
Almost 9PM. Sitting at Darling Harbour on a beautiful night. Live music playing in the background and a giant rubber duck floating by the dock. No idea why… possibly part of what’s going on with the Sydney Festival. The kids are looooving it. Really makes me want to buy a bow and arrow, shoot the rubber ducky and watch it slowly deflate as the kids wail in the background. I’m evil.
Time to head home, make some din, then off to bed.
I reeeeeeally wanted to take my MEC pack with me to Oz. I had all my clothes vacuum-packed and tried my best to stuff the bag the most efficient way possible. It turned into an extremely frustrating life-size game of tetris… but I really tried. My pack was brimming. I tried it on… I can do this! Turned out the only way to safely carry the pack was to go at it strategically: place pack on a 45 degree angle along the bed, slide my arms through, roll over to my side and stand up… mission.
I bit the bullet and went for the trusty Samsonite (Sam). My mom was also proud to see that she was right… the pack just wasn’t cutting it. So I transferred everything from the pack to Sam, sat on it, zipped it up and headed for the airport with my mom and good neighbour. We made bets on the way there to see how much Sam would weigh… it was heavy.
When I was checking-in my luggage, the United attendant informed me that it was 10 pounds overweight. He suggested I take some things out and throw them in my small backpack (my carry on). I declined… no room and too much of a hassle. The attendant said he’d see what he could do.
He looked into my flight and noticed that there were upgrades available (for first class), and that the upgrade would cost less than the price I’d have to pay for obese Sam. First class ticket holders were also allowed to check in more luggage of inflated weights meaning my luggage would clear!
So although I still had to pay a few extra bucks, it saved me from paying full price and I got bumped into first class! The deal didn’t grant me first class all the way to Sydney (that would’ve been sweet), but it did for my 2 connecting flights from Toronto to Denver, and Denver to San Fran.
And funny thing… a week ago I was thinking to myself that it would be nice to somehow catch a ride in first class! Woot! Mission accomplished.
I’m currently waiting in a nice deli in the San Francisco airport waiting for my last flight of the day to Sydney. Here we go!
Wedding was a total blast. Soo lucky to be a part of the bridal party. Here’s a pic of my brother and I hangin’ out at the head table.
I met a lot of people at the wedding… three guests just came back from Oz! The father of the bride (my cousin’s father/my uncle through marriage) was so excited to hear that I was going. Turns out… HE HAS FAMILY THERE who live right outside Sydney. He gave me their contact info and assured me that they’d love for me to go visit and stay with them for a while. Awesome, right? Now I’m thinking about when would be a good time to stay with them and for how long (possibly my 2nd week there). Don’t you just love how things work themselves out?! 🙂
Now is go time. Packing, getting my financials sorted out and saying my goodbyes.
Credit cards… make certain all banks are aware of my leaving. I don’t want to be at a till in Oz and be denied payment. CHECK!
Insurance… purchase emergency medical and travel insurance. CHECK!
Cash… head to CIBC to convert cash into AUD. I won’t be bringing much as I’ll be using my credit card for the majority of my purchases overseas. CHECK!
Cell Phone… call Fido and let them know I’m leaving. I won’t be purchasing any international/overseas packages because I’ll be getting a new phone SIM card and number when I get to Australia. I’ll have my cell phone (from Canada) on me to check a few times a week for messages. CHECK!
Skype… set up Skype account for the parents and send my username out to all my friends and fam. CHECK!
Resume… have multiple resumes ready and rarin’ to go for whatever job opportunity I may be interested in.
USB… make sure all the files I need are on my USB key (resumes, work visa, plane tickets, accommodation confirmation, insurance docs etc).
Laptop… make sure everything I need is on my laptop. My cousin’s making sure I have Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator on there. I’m also going to find a thick old sweater, cut it up and sow it back together to make a neat case for my laptop. That way it’ll be safe/protected while I’m shuffling through my bags and luggage.
Shopping… buy clothes! I need shorts, tees, the whole lot. There’s an outlet strip mall in the city (Orfus. Rd) that sells clothes for cheap. Last year I got a beautiful dress (I believe it was Ubran Behaviour) for $1 clearance! STEAL! CHECK!
Knick knacks… buy a comfortable sleep eye-mask for the flight. My friend P already bought me a travel pillow (the horseshoe-shaped ones you put around the back of your neck), easy to pack towels, and a Turbie Twist. CHECK!
Packing… buy airtight travel bags. CHECK! And just pack already!
Food… find out what the regulations are for bringing food on the plane. CHECK!
Hostel… I decided that I’ll be staying at Bounce Budget Hotel/Hostel in Sydney. Looks awesome! I need to call them to see if they provide any sort of shuttle service from the airport to the hostel. CHECK!
Wi-Fi… look for free Wi-Fi close to hostel for first week (freeWiFi.com.au). CHECK!
Transportation… figure out how I’ll be getting from the airport to the hostel before taking off. CHECK!
“There are numerous shuttles from the Airport. Sydney City Shuttle bus is one of the cheapest methods to get to the city. The service leaves approximately every half an hour from outside the Arrival Gates at both the International & Domestic Terminals. The cost is from $12 per person one way.” BounceHotel.com.au.
There’s a myth out there that preaches you need a hefty chunk of change to pursue travelling as a hobby. And after hearing from more than a few friends about their returning home in deep debt, I thought I’d take on the challenge myself.
I had 8 months to save up for my travel expenses. It cost just under $2300 for my flight and working visa, and $415 for a new laptop I’m bringing with me. I decided I want to leave with a $2000 financial cushion to cover any expenses while travelling (this may seem a tad prudent but keep in mind I’ll be working while travelling). All in all that comes out to $4715.
I paid off the $415 for my laptop by selling a crap load of stuff on Kijiji and Craigslist (guitar, exercise equipment, roller blades, food processor, skates…). Another $4300 to go!
Over the last 8 months I’ve set aside $135/wk into a separate savings account with automatically scheduled deposits (really takes the sting off making those payments myself). To cover rent, food, entertainment and any other miscellaneous expenses, I thought it more than fair to bring in a minimum of $1000/month while abroad.
I think I’ve prepared myself quite well so far… as best as I can anyway! The rest will have to depend on what happens when I get there! 🙂
If you don’t know how long you’ll be travelling, purchase a one-way ticket. Many people will tell you to buy round-trip because it’s cheaper… which is true. But if you think you’ll likely change your departure flight because you’ll want to stay longer, you’re looking at a minimum $250-$300 change fee.
If you end up needing to change your flight, compare flight change fees of the travel agency you booked with with the airline directly. I saved just under $100 CAD changing my flight through American Airlines, rather than with Flight Network.