Posted on 18 Jun • 9 min read
Hi! I’m Shelley and I am so excited to tell you about my Australian journey so far!
I arrived in Sydney in February 2019, and sometimes it still doesn’t feel real! I know so many people who have come to Australia because they are unhappy at home and looking for a better life and a big adventure, but it wasn’t like that at all for me. I was so happy at home; I had just finished my Masters in Marketing and was running a successful business and to be honest I was TERRIFIED of leaving. I had never been away for a prolonged period of time before, I was in a very on-off relationship which I didn’t think was going to last and I was going to be leaving behind everything familiar and life as I knew it to move to the other side of the world where I had nothing and knew hardly anyone.
To be honest, I thought about not going so many times, and in the end, I made a promise to myself that I would give it six months and if I didn’t like it, I would go home after that, the only regret I would have would be if I didn’t get up and go and take this opportunity. I realised that there would probably never be a right time to go, so if not now, when?!
I remember being on the plane on the way to Hong Kong and thinking I had probably made a horrible mistake, I was heartbroken leaving my family and friends and not knowing when I was going to see them again, flying scares me, and I was with my then boyfriend knowing it was never going to work but still trying to keep an open mind and talk myself up for being brave and taking a leap of faith. Everything at home had been wrapped up and packed into just a suitcase, a hold-all, and a handbag, and this was my new life now for at least six months. I had a stopover in Hong Kong for five days, and I was so happy I had chosen to do this as I got to explore a new city (major bonus for me having never left Europe before) and reduce the jet lag massively!
Landing in Sydney I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was, but my next new experience was staying in a hostel. Bear in mind I hadn’t heard many good things before about hostel life and I was so shocked when I got there and had to try and lug my suitcase up the stairs because they didn’t have a lift. But... what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger and at this stage I was really enjoying the adventure, the beaches, and the sun! I’m really an advocate for EasyRent here because I wish I had my accommodation sorted before leaving home, as well as knowing that I would be staying in a clean and safe space rather than having my whole life packed away in bags just lying around the hostel. The kitchen also scared me so much, I hated cooking there because it was never clean.
Fast forward a few weeks and I find myself in Mildura, in the most unhygienic, dirty, and disgusting hostel I have ever laid eyes on. There was no farm work available, so I ended up working in a car wash for a month, and then getting bed bugs to top it all off. I met two amazing English girls called Alex and Lucy (we’re still friends now) when they moved into our room before swiftly fleeing Mildura a few days later because of the bed bugs situation. After a month I decided Mildura was definitely not for me (think of a small sleepy desert town) and flew to Melbourne for a quick break before heading back to Sydney to look for a job.
My boyfriend at the time was still adamant about getting the farm work done first so I then ended up working in Central Coast (north of Sydney) at a stud farm for twelve weeks before finding out that the postcode was no longer valid and didn’t count towards farm work. By this point I was kind of freaking out because I was six months in and hadn’t really done any travelling in Australia as I had spent all my time at the farm, and still no closer to getting a second-year visa. I didn’t love Australia at this time, but I didn’t dislike it so much that I wanted to go home and I felt like I hadn’t really given it a fair chance. So, I decided the only way forward is back to another farm and let’s hope that it’s third time lucky because I was running out of time at this stage. I quickly found a great job at another stud farm in the Southern Highlands (dreamy weekend trip from Sydney btw!) and this time it was amazing! I made the best friends and we had so much fun together that I ended up staying for over six months (you only have to do three months to get a second-year visa) and they even offered to sponsor me to stay in Australia! By this time, I was really enjoying it, my last relationship had ended, and I met Adam (my current partner). We were starting to spend a lot more time together and I decided I wanted to move back to Sydney so we could move in together and I also wanted to try having a more glamourous job and test out city life.
We moved into in a gorgeous little apartment next to Maroubra Beach for a few months and had the best time there. I would really recommend living beside the beach in Sydney, I promise you will have so much fun, and we were able to go to the beach every day after work and on lots of coastal walks. Shortly after moving, I ended up landing my DREAM job as a PR/ Communications Manager in an events company (all I can say is trust the process because I really believe some of the business development work I did at the stud farm helped me get this job). However, I do work from home now, so it is definitely not as glam as I imagined...
Fast forward six months and we had a whole six-week trip of the East Coast planned. So many people we know that come to Australia don’t do any travelling and just end up staying in Sydney or Melbourne the whole time. There are so many beautiful parts of Australia to see and so many amazing activities to do that it would be a shame to stay stuck in one place and miss out on all of this. I completely understand why people do this, they get comfortable with friends and jobs and living arrangements but no matter if you are coming to Australia for two weeks or two years you should get out and explore, get comfortable being uncomfortable and grab your opportunity and run with it because the time goes by SO fast.
This was the trip that really made Adam and I love Australia and potentially see us living here full time if that was a possibility. We lived in a camper van for six weeks (if you want to test your relationship to see how strong it is, try this one) and went from Cairns down to Brisbane, exploring Cape Tribulation, The Whitsundays, Noosa, and everything in between. Adam really wanted to do a skydive, and I was terrified, so we compromised and did the skydive. We jumped out over The Whitsunday Islands. I hate planes and I hate heights but if you want to feel AMAZING and on top of the world and unbeatable, I recommend facing your fears and doing this. It was spectacular. Every single day of our trip, there was a surprise waiting for us and something even more beautiful than we had seen before.
Sadly, all good things come to an end (bear in mind we had adjusted our itinerary slightly and decided to skip Fraser Island and a couple of other things so we could stay longer in The Whitsundays), but we decided that we would settle in Brisbane for a few more months so we could tick everything off the list. Again, I wish I knew about EasyRent then because it was back to hostel life for us until we found somewhere more permanent to live.
We loved Brisbane, Noosa, and the Gold Coast so much that we ended up staying for nearly two years altogether before moving back to Sydney recently. We want to do another Sydney summer before deciding where to settle down. The good news is that we got a sponsorship offer from my company so we will hopefully be staying in Australia for the foreseeable. We have had so many more amazing adventures as well including Uluru, Melbourne, Darwin, Cairns & Port Douglas (for a second time), two road trips around South Australia, swimming with sharks & learning to scuba dive!
At this stage I have probably moved house at least ten times since coming to Australia three years ago and I just wish I knew about EasyRent sooner because in between the moving and viewings and signing a lease we have ended up living out of hostels and hotels so many times. When we moved back to Sydney this autumn, we moved into our first EasyRent at Bondi Beach and it was a dream from start to finish. Luckily, I had heard about EasyRent through a guy I worked with, and we decided to give it a go. Everything was just so easy, we viewed the apartment and moved in on the same day and lived with a lovely Irish couple who were also EasyRenters. We had an apartment in the best location (you could even see the beach) and Toby and Jack were so lovely, they even dropped us over some delicious Irish goodies! Since then, we have also been on a night out with them and invited for coffee at Bondi and I can see the EasyRent community expanding by the day!
We are currently planning a trip home after 3.5 years and so excited to catch up with family and friends again. We will be back for sure and excited to become EasyRenters again when we are!