How I Discovered Travelling
Back in May 2014 I finished college in England, after studying Psychology, Maths, Biology and PE for 2 years I knew I had to do something different. I am told I tend to ‘overthink’ things, so the thought of committing to a course at university that would hopefully lead to a life long career was something I didn’t feel able to do. That is how travelling came about, I guess I hoped it would open my mind and eyes to help me find the right direction to steer my life in.
The first step was meeting with STA, a fabulous travelling company I had heard so much about. From that moment on I was set on Australia being the first adventure. Why not start at the other side of the world, right?
How everyone around me felt
My parents had always offered my brother and I a ’round the world ticket’ as long as they could come and carry the bags, so naturally they were very active in helping my plan and organise the logistics of everything. I couldn’t have asked for more support from them to be honest.
Other reactions were mixed from friends and family. Mostly positive, “you’ll have an amazing time”, “wow that’s incredible, make the most of it”. Some had a more negative underlay, “you’re just going to leave? What about uni? What about your career?”. Of course the typical, “I wish I had that opportunity at your age” from the older relatives! The one thing I couldn’t wrap my head around was the friends that said they were jealous or wish they could do it with me but had no legitimate reasons why they couldn’t. Each to their own right?!
Summer of 2014: the weeks before I left for Australia
My first summer as a legal adult was spent working full time as I had to fund this trip somehow, not the most ideal few months but I knew I had a good reason for it. Even if not all my friends understood. Getting my grades back from college really cemented travelling in my mind because they were not what I hoped for, or felt I deserved. Some may call it a blessing in disguise because look where I am now!
With my Working Holiday Visa accepted, flights booked for October and Ultimate OZ tour starting on the 25th of October I really had so much to do! At times I felt I had made a mistake but after a good talk with a friend or family member I was motivated to keep going again!
A few days before I was off my parents organised a surprise party for me in a local cafe. Filled with friends and family wishing me well and buying my drinks, I am so thankful for that night, it really shows you haw much people care and will miss you.
My leaving experience
The part that was hardest. Or was it?
To me, leaving my family at the gates and boarding my 23 hour Emirates flight to Sydney wasn’t that hard. Not to sound cold-hearted but I expected it to be different. I am not saying I don’t miss them but I have definitely faced bigger challenges and heartaches while being away that made me want to hop on the next flight home and sleep in my own bed! More on that another time..
Touch down in Sydney
Finally in Sydney! Apart from getting a tiny bit lost looking for my transfer, which will surprise no one that knows me, it went pretty smoothly. I had booked into Wake Up before leaving and they arranged my journey from the airport to the hostel front doors!
Wake Up is a hostel I would recommend to anyone staying in Sydney. It certainly isn’t the cheapest but it has the perfect backpackers atmosphere and cheap bar underneath the hostel itself.
I arrived at approximately 10 am local time and was checked straight in. Within the next hour I had met a group of backpackers and they gave me a tour of the harbours and Chinatown before dragging me along to Bondi beach with them. Apart from the jetlag it was the perfect first day for an 18 year old backpacker on her first day alone!
To be perfectly honest it didn’t even sink in that this was my life for the next year at least! It took me a while to realise it and even now I sometimes forget this is me now, this is where I am and I am so happy to be doing it.
My first 10 days was packed full of greatness with the Ultimate OZ tour which I will speak about more in an upcoming post as it deserves one all of its own because of how great a starting point it was. You can check it out by following the link above and I am even pictured on the first picture on the webpage (the one with the harbour, green bikini top! Hey!)
I hope you enjoyed reading about how I got from a small town in Surrey to starting my adventure in Australia. Just remember if you are thinking of travelling on your own, there is a difference between being alone and being lonely. I for one, despite my first doubts, am so glad I started on my own because of how much I have grown as a person (yeah, yeah it is cliché I know). Even when I had days feeling a bit lonely, my friends I made, no matter how long we had known each other, would rally round and show me that I really wasn’t! There are ups and downs no matter where you are and what you are doing but never let that deter you from what you want.