MOVING TO AUS?!
Last year I was working away in my digital marketing role, the 9-5, living for the weekend kind of life. I decided I was done with it, I wanted something new and exciting. I’d always planned to go travelling but my Uni friends had been talking about moving to Australia and I thought, why the hell not join them; the cliché Brit dream – live by the beach in the beautiful sunshine. I vaguely decided I’d combine the two, live in Australia for a while and then travel around. I had no idea what to expect and honestly it was probably the most unplanned thing I’ve ever done. We knew we were going to live in Sydney but apart from that we had nothing planned whatsoever. We’d done no research into anything, I didn’t even know what kind of job I wanted or where in Sydney I wanted to live! I actually think doing it this way leaves you way more open to anything and I’d do it again!
The first month essentially consisted of rain (it was November), Bali blues (I’d come straight from a month in Bali), admin, jumpers and travelling back and forth to Bondi, Coogee, Bronte in search of a flat near the beach – not an easy/quick journey either. The weather was awful, and there was a lot of admin to do. Not knowing where we’d be living also put on hold on getting a job as I wanted to avoid commuting whilst here. So the reality of that first month is that it was actually not the best. I didn’t fall in love with Australia straight away. I missed Bali, my boyfriend, the weather was not what I’d expected and I had nowhere to live and no job; I was burning through my savings faster than if I set them alight. I was so happy and excited to be in Australia but as with any big change, it takes a while to settle in and get used to things.
Working in digital marketing back home, I initially wanted to get a job in the marketing sector however having a working holiday visa pretty much puts a big cross through your name and dwindles any chance you might have had with office jobs. So I made the decision to work in hospitality. I wanted this to be my year out from responsibilities, commutes, Monday- Friday 9-5 grind, and so despite feeling like I was taking 10 steps back to when I was 20 working in a bar, it was actually the best decision to give me the lifestyle I wanted. A new restaurant happened to be opening in Bondi at the time we were moving there. It was a Merivale owned restaurant which I didn’t know at the time is one of the biggest hospitality groups in Sydney. If you are in need of a hospitality job I couldn’t recommend the company more – they employ all the time, employ travellers, have a great social side to work with lots of staffy’s and are a great name to put on your CV if you want to continue working in hospo. I started working here the same week we moved into a flat a 10 minute walk to Bondi beach. My commute was a short walk away, I made so many friends and started living out my early 20’s again; spontaneous nights out, days out, saying yes to everything because I had zero responsibilities. Beach days, coastal walks and brunches in the sun became my standard days off. It was pretty much the dream life for me and potentially the best 6 months to date. Bondi will now always be my second home and I can’t really put into words how much love I have for those 6 months of my life! So if you’re thinking about doing it but aren’t sure, honestly all I can say is, do it, jump into it head first and soak up every minute of it!
LET’S TALK MONEY
I went to Bali on the way to Australia and we did it with a big budget (as Bali budget’s go – it’s all relevant). And so I knew I would arrive in Australia with just a couple of grand (GBP) left. It had always been my plan to get a job straight away and I did start earning within a month of arriving. But I’ll be real, I could have done with another thousand pounds to begin with. Rent is A LOT here. It’s similar to London but you also have to consider the bond, deposit and first months rent up front. All in all you need about £2000 to secure a flat. This includes your deposit (usually 3 weeks rent), the bond (usually the equivalent of around 3 weeks rent aswell) and then the first weeks rent up front. You also need to be able to prove you already have an income and can afford the rent. Or else have enough savings to cover the whole cost of rent for the time you intend to be there. Therefore it’s best to find a hostel to stay in whilst you secure your job and before you start looking for a place to live as it’s unlikely you’ll be accepted without a job. Most flats out here come unfurnished too which means you’ll need some spare money initially to buy a mattress at the very least! – You can find plenty of second hand mattresses on Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace for very cheap!
There are other options for example sharing a room, renting a room from people who have already leased a place and therefore avoiding the bond cost. Also, if you know already where you want to rent you can often organise a room before you arrive over skype or similar. There are rooms advertised on Facebook groups (for example ‘Bondi Local Loop’ is the Bondi one), flatmate.com.au, gumtree etc.
Then comes the cost of living which is absolutely not cheap here! You do get paid more for the same job than over in the UK which is why the cost of living is more but bare this in mind whilst you aren’t earning!
A little bit more real talk because as with anything there is always sacrifices. Inevitably my ex-boyfriend and I broke up; FYI long distance is hard. My Instagram has taken a massive hit, time zones and the algorithm have caused a LOT of fun and games but it’s just been something I’ve had to relax on and accept as a temporary sacrifice of the lifestyle I’m currently living/loving. Being 26 now the other concern I had with leaving for a year was the inevitable pressures of what society deems you should be doing in your mid-twenties. i.e. Be saving to buy a house with a boyfriend you plan to marry and climbing up that career ladder. I was in a bit of an internal debate between fear of falling behind and #YOLO. I’ve never been massively conventional, the idea of having kids couldn’t interest me less right now and marriage – I could take it or leave it. But I’ve always been so driven. I could never settle with not being successful but the longer I’ve been here the more I realise that success comes in so many different forms. Why is it seen as a success to have a good title at a good company on a good salary if your whole life revolves around work, your life experiences are tied to weekends and occasional weeks away when work leave allows it? Is life success not living it to the fullest and being truly happy? That’s what travel brings for me. It’s something I’m slowly getting my head around, a house and a career can never beat experiences in my book. I will never stop travelling, it’s something that’s ingrained in me, my favourite thing to do in the world. I have had so many DM’s about Australia life and ‘falling behind’ is by far been the biggest factor people are worried about when toying with the idea of up and leaving it all. People always say ‘one day’ or ‘when I’ve done this’ or ‘achieved that’. But, you’re never going to feel like it’s the perfect time. Ever. All I can say is, if you don’t go, you won’t ever know. If something excites you just a little more than it terrifies you, do it and I promise you won’t regret it.
Let’s get into the boring but hopefully helpful stuff. There’s a lot of admin to do once you arrive. If you’re thinking of coming over to Australia, hopefully this will help you get yourself up and running. Things you need to do (in order!):
- Get an Australian sim. Almost all the admin you will do requires a phone number. So unless you have a UK plan which allows for international calls and texts I’d advise getting an Telstra/Vodaphone pay monthly sim. You can simply buy one at one of their stores. (Telstra is the best network for getting signal everywhere.)
- Get a bank account. You will also of course need a bank account pretty much straight away. I chose Commonwealth bank (most people do) and all you do is apply online and then you have to go into the bank with your passport and phone to verify yourself.
- Apply for a TFN – you can do this online and it will take a week or so to arrive so you will want to do it straight away so you can earn money ASAP. You just need a bank account before you can apply.
- If you are self employed or plan to work freelance you will need to apply for a ABN. You can do this online once you have your TFN.
- Get a Medicare card! If you ever need to go to the doctors or hospital this will REALLY help with costs – often covers the full cost of the appointment. Simply search your nearest medicare centre and take along your ID, address, proof of address and all your details as you will need to fill out some forms.
- Get yourself an Opal card – this is essentially an Oyster card equivalent and allows you to tap on and off for almost all buses and trains.
- Find an apartment! There are plenty of decent hostels you can stay in for a bit whilst you sort this out. You can search for a flat/house/room on sites such as https://flatmates.com.au/ , https://www.gumtree.com.au/ , https://www.domain.com.au/ etc.
THE DREAM AND THE REALITY
Home is where the heart is and whilst half of mine is in the U.K the other half is firmly stuck in Bondi; this place I have been so lucky to call my home for the past 6 months. I can’t explain how much I have loved life these last 6 months, I’ve never felt so at home, away from home. I got so lucky meeting the people I did at work, I’ve made friends for life. I’ve been living in an flat a 10 minute walk from the beach, sitting on the balcony every night watching the world (and stars) go by with some of my best friends. In Sydney, much like London, you have everything at your fingertips and add to that the sunshine, sea and sand and you pretty much have Sydney, AKA the dream. So no, I didn’t fall in love at first sight or even in the first couple of weeks but my advice to anyone thinking of moving – do it, give it a few weeks and it’ll be the best thing you did.