It’s amazing how many tourists visit Australia believing that it’s always summer here, though in most parts of the country we actually experience all four seasons. And trust me when I say that winter gets incredibly cold. Scraping ice off the windshield of your car kind of cold. Even if you’re spending time in the Outback, temperatures drop quite substantially overnight.
Though don’t let that turn you off from visiting at this time of year; there are some fabulous places to visit in Australia during winter. Just understand that it’s necessary to travel with a set of warm clothes. Though perhaps this is a well-placed myth to boost retail sales among travelers visiting here!
Don’t be alarmed when your packing checklist for Australia includes a rubber thong. We’re not talking about skimpy, sexy underwear. We’re talking about summer footwear for the beach. You might call them sandals, flip-flops or jandals. We call them thongs.
Australians wear thongs just about everywhere, whether they’re heading to the beach, to the local shops, or to a mate’s place for a barbecue. Though do note that if you’re headed out for a formal dinner or to a nightclub you may not get in without enclosed shoes.
Smoking may be a cultural pastime in many countries, but Australia has passed several federal laws which make smoking a lot harder. We’ve banned smoking in government buildings, airports, and on any kind of public transport. All Australian states and territories have banned smoking in vehicles with children, and in most enclosed public spaces. You cannot smoke in enclosed restaurants, and unless you book a room with a balcony, most hotels have done away with their smoking rooms.
On top of that, cigarettes carry ridiculously high taxes. A packet of 25 cigarettes in Australia will cost you between $25-$30 AUD; more than $1 a piece.
It doesn’t matter which industry you’re in, the price here includes service. If you try to leave extra cash we’re trained to refuse.
Australians are paid an incredibly high minimum wage compared to the rest of the world, and regardless of whether we’re working drive thru at McDonalds, or waiting tables at the Hyatt, pay here is between $20-$25 per hour. Much of the time when you leave a tip, it goes in a jar toward the end-of-year staff Christmas party, though many companies claim the tips for the till and not individual employees.
Also, all taxes are included in the advertised price of everything. If something is advertised as $4.99, that’s exactly what you’ll pay.
Kangaroos may well be the reason you’re visiting Australia. I get the exotic wildlife draw. But here, they’re viewed as a pest. They rip up gardens and farmland, and make nighttime driving a nightmare.
Please be realistic about the fact that you’re likely to see more as roadkill than you are alive. If you do happen to encounter one on the streets or in a park, remember that they are wild animals who have an incredibly strong kick and very large claws. Keep your distance and photograph with a zoom.
Sure, we speak our mind and don’t necessarily care about being politically correct. We laugh at ourselves a lot more than other nations, and we have a tendency to shorten our words. (Say ‘Straya instead of Australia while you’re here). And let’s be honest, the popularity of Crocodile Dundee didn’t exactly help dispel the “uncivilized Australian” typecast.
However the majority of Australians are highly educated, very well read, and high achievers on the international stage. We’re hardly “uncouth.” If anything, call us bogan.
As you saw from Wednesday’s post, the OECD has found Australia the best country in the world to live in. But that is not an opinion shared by everybody.
For some time I have been working on a post called ’10 Reasons Why NOT to Move to Australia’. When I say “working on”, what I mean is I have had the idea, created a notepad with the title and every now and then, when I think of a reason, I add it to the list.
In three years, this is as far as I have got…..
1. Your favourite hobby is history/archaeology.
2. You are allergic to golden sandy beaches.
But where I have struggled with this, a guy called Fred has had no problems in compiling his list. Fred contacted me recently via my YouTube channel with a request for me to allow his video as a “video response” to one of my videos.
I emailed Fred back and told him what I would really like to do is a feature post about his blog, even though I did not agree with a single thing on his website. I also explained I would very likely be taking the Mickey out of what he has said and asked if he was okay with that. I also mentioned that I could not work out whether his website was serious or a complete joke.
Fred replied he was happy for me to go ahead and also said “My website is just a tool to make prospective migrants know some facts before making their mind. I am just trying to do good here. Don’t forget that I mentioned that I have met some good people in Oz as well. To me the main problem was nature, not people. So the only fix was to leave. Wish you a good life in Oz.”
So, he is up for it and, apparently, his website is serious. So let us get stuck in.
On occasions I have been accused of looking at Australia with rose tinted glasses. I have never really understood that idiom, but I do know it means I only (apparently) see the best side of this country.
Well, here is Fred with his view which is surely the worst side.
You all know by now how I am one of those people who quit the 9-to-5 grind in exchange for a life of travel… (Quit your job)
Now please don’t get me wrong, and please don’t start thinking that I’m dissing those who are still working as employees or whatnot, because I DON’T think that at all. I wholly understand the fact that some people are perfectly happy with their office job since it is their passion in life — but unfortunately, such wasn’t the case for me. It turned out to be the kind of career that didn’t fit me, and I even realized that it wasn’t my passion at all.
So when I was 21, I did leave my corporate job to go after my real passion in life: traveling the world while working remotely instead for myself.
I’m 23 now as of this year (2015), which means that it has already been two years that I’ve been leading this nomadic life. Since then, I’ve flown around the French Alps as a paraglider, played around with elephants in Thailand, enjoyed my first winter in Europe, and so much more! The icing to the cake: I have even managed to set up an online business during my travels in order to live a more sustainable traveling lifestyle from here on out.
It has really been a ‘dream come true’ situation for me and I’m immensely thankful that all those months of hard work have paid off, and that all those risky steps I took were worth it!
True enough, creating this way of living can be truly amazing and for those of you who have the SAME aspiration, I bet that you have also been inspired by the stories of other people who have done the same thing as me! (Somehow, this ‘quit your job’ thing is turning into some sort of trend haha.)
Before you start following MY advice as well as other people’s helpful tips, guides, and hacks to starting a travel lifestyle, there are actually some very important things that you should consider FIRST before deciding to take the BIG leap!
You see, I am a big ‘advocate’ of making informed decisions so hopefully this article would cover that aspect perfectly especially since this will be such a big life change for you… (Actually, I have already discussed this topic briefly in my ‘How to Start a Life of Travel‘ article, but for this post, I will expound on it a lot more by grouping them into 5 points.)
Know if this is really the kind of life that you want. ASSESS yourself and your situation carefully.
Ask yourself these vital questions: “What exactly am I looking for? What makes me happy? Do I really love to travel? Is this my real passion? Is this what I really want?”
Take time to think about this as I cannot stress this enough! Going by experience and going by the stories that I’ve encountered, it’s absolutely important that you rethink this over (and over and over again…) since you HAVE to make sure that a traveling lifestyle is what you truly want or are passionate about.
Don’t you ever quit your job to travel the world as a way of ‘escaping’. Don’t you ever do this for someone else nor for appearances. Don’t you ever let the allure of this ‘seemingly’ glamorous lifestyle blind you into thinking that it’s your real ambition when… it could be not.
You see, it’s quite common for some people to think of this ‘quit your job to travel‘ thing when they are extremely stressed, and the desire burns even more when they start to see and hear the stories of people who are traveling the world for a living. It’s a GOOD thing for sure, but it’s important to NOT let this sway you too quickly… because the basic truth could be that what you might actually just need is a different kind of job, field, boss, or company!
Therefore, before you decide to flip your life around, experiment first so that you can see what fits you best. You can do this by doing the two actions below:
Manage your expectations. Know the REALITY of a traveling lifestyle.
Though a traveling nomad’s life is exciting and fulfilling, it’s NOT as glamorous as most of you would think because the start can be really arduous and tricky! (It’s not like everyone instantly goes to 5-star hotels once they become a traveling nomad — even if they do, the adventures, experiences, and stories are the real golden treasures that NO money or 5-star whatever will ever compare.)
That’s why as early as now, I highly recommend that you lower down any expectations that might be overly-romanticized.
To name a few of the top ‘realities’ that you will experience and that you should know of:
There will be ups and downs, but sometimes, more on the ‘down’. Locals might not be too friendly to you, money might start to be an issue, your flights could get delayed or canceled, and a whole lot more of regrettable scenarios can happen! But then again, this doesn’t come with traveling only because much like life, sh*t just really happens… And when it does, you need to learn as early as now to NOT let it hit you too hard. I’ve had my brand new laptop stolen once while I was on a road trip in France and it really made me sad in a way that I never imagined that I would! But then the good thing about these bad experiences is that it makes you learn valuable lessons and it helps you avoid making the same mistakes again. For this particular experience for example, I have learned the great life skill of detaching one’s self from material possessions — I learned how to let things go, and it really helps to see your physical belongings for what they really are: temporary and replaceable. .
If you want to learn more realities in order to debunk any ‘myths’ of long-term travel that you perceive, one of the things that you can do is to research and study the way that other traveling nomads live. (If you ever need more information, feel free to ask questions from me or from any other travel blogger that you know of).
Fundamentally, just always remember that there are VARIOUS types of us nomads out there and depending on the kind of path that you choose (a digital nomad, a backpacker, a TEFL teacher, etc.) you can either end up leading an easier traveling lifestyle or a tougher one.
Your plans might NOT work out.
Getting around Australia is probably the biggest challenge all travellers face when touring the country.
To cover long distances, flying is the most cost-effective. However, domestic flights are not cheap and you must book ahead of time. If you have enough time, train travel can also be a great way to see the country.
While you can travel safely anywhere and with a wide range of transportation, the best way to explore the country is by going on a road trip, either with a car or a campervan.
Most remote areas are only accessible by limited public transportation, so there are two main options for the solo traveller: either joining a tour or self-driving.
For a solo woman, driving around the country on her own may sound daunting. Yes, it can be quite challenging. It took me a while to get familiar with self-driving and I can tell you that itвЂ™s easier than I thought. You will not need to hire a 4WD car. The majority of road trips are on sealed roads. Certainly any road trip requires good preparation and the awareness that you will be alone on the road for a long time. I always recommend you combine as many ways of transportation as possible.