Welcome to my Travel Blog
One year ago on a very cold Sunday night, I met an Australian exchange student named Jake Herington while working at Micky’s Irish Pub in Iowa City. I never dreamed that one year later my whole life would change and I would be the one on exchange to his country! During my year living abroad in Australia with my boyfriend Jake, I hope to post all about my adventures on this blog. Based on my first two weeks in Newcastle “Newy,” I know 2017 is going to be my best year yet!
On New Year’s Eve I flew into Sydney where Jake picked me up & drove us back to Newcastle (about 1.5 hours North of Sydney.) It took me awhile to adjust to the 15 hour time change, but I guess that makes sense when you’re 8,977 Miles (14,447 km) from home! After two weeks I’ve finally kicked my jet lag and settled in with Jake in Lambton, a suburb of Newcastle. It is very hot here if you ask me, but then again it’s summertime down here in the Southern hemisphere AND I did come from very snowy Iowa. I will just have to get used to the heat! However there are a lot of perks to living Down Unda: it’s usually sunny, you can always dry your clothes on the clothesline outside, and you can bronze your skin outside in under an hour! That being said, forgetting sunscreen is a grave mistake for anyone. Even those of us with black hair and olive skin who don’t think they need sunscreen!
***Did you know Australia is the Skin Cancer capital of the world? And you’re 10x more likely to get skin cancer due to the ozone hole above Australia!
While Jake is working full time for a few more weeks, his friends, his sister (Brianna) & his mother (Libby) have shown me around our lovely Lambton. There is a whole lot to do around here, especially because it is summertime: countless beaches, walking/biking trails, numerous parks & swimming pools, Blackbutt Wildlife Reserve, Lake Macquarie (saltwater lagoon), a huge local music scene, and HEAPS of fresh fish & chips for me to try!
Before I arrived, I applied for a Working Holiday Visa for Americans under 30 years old. The Visa cost $420 AUD, which equates to about $315 USD with the exchange rate. This Visa allows me to travel and work (full or part time) for one year anywhere in Australia. It also allows me to exit & enter Australia whenever I would like during the year. Since Australia is so large (about the same size as America) I’ll be spending my time on the East coast. While I’m here I hope to visit: Cairns (Great Barrier Reef), Brisbane/Byron Bay (Gold Coast), Sydney, Canberra, & Melbourne. In a couple of weeks Jake and I have a trip planned to Sydney & Melbourne to see some concerts and to celebrate my 23rd birthday/Jake going back to school! I also have trips in the works with friends to New Zealand and Thailand later on this year!
I am absolutely thrilled to see what “Newy” has to offer during this year. So far it’s a refreshing change from the hustle & bustle of America. People here spend most of their time outside, so it mustn’t be a coincidence that they seem so happy!! 🙂 To be honest, I probably wouldn’t come home if my visa didn’t expire–sorry mom!
Special thank you to my Mom, Pa & little brother Kevin for making this trip possible. Thanks for letting me move back home with you so I could save all of my wages for this awesome experience. I love you guys! ❤️