As you may have read on my home page, earlier this year I decided to give up a well-paid-good-perks job I loved, in order to travel as much as I could over the next year or two. I figured it was a good time to go; the longer I left it, the more difficult it would be to leave. The classic quarter-life crisis! My reasoning was that there will always be jobs, I’ll have to work for the next 40 years anyway and you’re only young once right?! So that was that, and off I went in March on my first adventure of the year; a three month trip to Australia and parts of SE Asia that I haven’t visited yet.
Planning a solo travelling trip was the strangest feeling. On my two previous trips, I had travelled with a friend, meaning there was someone to share the pre-trip excitement and nerves (if any). Any onwards solo travel I did on those previous trips, was planned in the moment, when already out there. This time, to book flights and plan everything for myself just noone share the excitement with, was quite strange but also very liberating. However I think my mum’s worrying ways have rubbed off on me and I was much more nervous than I had been for any other; I think it was just the fear of the unknown. What if I don’t meet anyone I like? What if I hate it? What if I never find a job as good as the one I left? What if something bad happens?
Luckily, the trip could not have been better! Everything was super easy, travelling solo was amazing and here I am ready to tell the tale(s)!
This trip began early on a Saturday morning in March. Having spent much of the last few weeks having some very emotional goodbyes (you wouldn’t have thought I was just going for three months!) I was on my way to the airport with my parents. I think I found leaving difficult because I wasn’t running away from anything, I was really enjoying my life at home. I loved my job, well actually both jobs- I also worked at a pub- and my colleagues, had lots of groups of friends, lived at home, was part of a nice hockey team. So to give it all up was quite a deal for me, but I knew this was exactly what I wanted- basically what I had been waiting for and working towards since May 2015 when I got home from my last trip. That’s the travel bug for you!!
However, boarding my first flight at Heathrow, all the nerves left me and I was BUZZING. Hours later after a stopover in Dubai, I boarded my connecting flight to Perth and after a full 24 hours travelling (more if you count being stuck in traffic on the drive to Heathrow), I finally landed in Australia! My auntie picked me up from the airport and took me to her house in Dawesville where I was to spend the next week or so; a small town about an hour south of Perth, near the coastal city of Mandurah. Over the next week I was introduced to the dreamy Australian lifestyle; walking on beautiful beaches, watching the sunset over the sea, spotting wild kangaroos in neighbour gardens and spotting dolphins in the river estuary.
I took the train up to Perth city itself twice (the public transport in WA was a DREAM!) and found it nice and friendly. I actually found it quite quiet for a city considering it is the biggest city in AND capital of Western Australia and the fastest growing in population but that could be down to my not staying central. One definite highlight was catching a bus up a hill to Kings Park, the biggest city park in the world, for an amazing view of the city from above (I love a good view, me).
Overall I spent a total of 11 days in Western Australia, taking in all of Dawesville, Mandurah, Bunbury, Perth, Rottnest Island, Fremantle, Penguin Island. I think Fremantle, just 30 mins south of Perth, was my favourite; it has a lot of character being a historical (and still working) port city. There is a lovely mix of 19th century colonial style buildings and also modern quirky cafes and bars playing live music, it had a very cool vibe. I went for drinks here with a South African friend I met in Vietnam two years ago- proof that goodbye is not forever when travelling!! The beaches in WA were gorgeous- Rottnest Island and Penguin Island in particular- as were the dolphins, sealions and little fairy penguins that inhabit them, if you’re lucky enough to spot them! The cities were also lovely, but staying with family in a quiet area meant that I was a bit out of the main buzz, a sacrifice I was willing to make as it would be the last time for a while! I was sad to leave my family in WA- and in turn the last bit of luxury before the proper backpacking began- but maaaan was I excited about the next part- a flight to Melbourne to begin a 5 week trip up the East Coast. Eeeeeeeeeeek!