It was July 2012, I’d just graduated from university and I was terrified about the prospect of real life. So I did the only thing I could think off - I booked a one way flight to Perth, Australia.
There was only one problem: I had the typical student bank balance. Now, I’m impatient, which meant hanging around at home and working in Tesco for six months was not an option, so my next task was finding a job before I left.
After two months of exhausting every contact I had, I finally managed to land a job as a nanny. I can’t say this was my ideal job, but I didn’t care, the 9th of September was looming and I was going to AUSTRALIA. Nothing had ever been so exciting.
I’m not going to lie, there was twenty minutes when I was sitting on that plane alone, in the middle of the night, and the idea that I was about to start a brand new life was absolutely terrifying, but on reflection, I can honestly say that going to Australia was best decision I’ve ever made.
Now, in my two years in Aus I visited the east, the south, the north, and everything in between, but nowhere stole my heart like the west.
Why Western Australia is not a must-do on the typical backpacker itinerary is a mystery to me. All I can say is that the four hour flight from Sydney to Perth is the most worthwhile flight you’ll ever take.
Throughout Australia’s tourism boom Western Australia has managed to hold on to something innately special, an indescribable honesty and a truly Australian spirit. Not only do the beaches of Perth, Broome, Exmouth and Coral Bay rival the beaches of Fiji (trust me, I’ve been to them all), but WA’s winters rival English summers, and its backpacker culture (although not often acknowledged) rivals that of Melbourne and Sydney.
Living in Western Aus has left me with memories, quite honestly, I’m afraid I’ll never be able to top. I’ve climbed mount Bruce at 2am to get to the top for sunrise, I’ve sand boarded in Lancelin, partied in Broome and Fremantle, camped on hidden beaches in Coral Bay, trekked down gorges and up canyons in Karijini National Park, gone off road driving in Kalbarri, swam in Serpentine Falls (well, floated about in a ring - I can’t actually swim), biked around Rottnest Island, fed dolphins in Monkey Mia, and drank copious amounts of wine in Margret River.
Sorry, let’s backtrack a bit – I tend to get carried away with how much I love WA, but surprisingly enough (she writes with sarcasm), I didn’t do all that stuff in my first month; I actually had to work first.
I was pretty lucky when it came to work in Aus. After nannying for 4 months I decided to move on, and managed to get a job for a sales and marketing company pretty damn quickly. My life was now complete.
I was living in Fremantle at the time, in Pirates Backpackers hostel, whose motto was ‘your home away from home’, and I can honestly say it was my home away from home. My typical day consisted of getting up, brushing my teeth - you know, the normal stuff - grabbing a coffee on my way to work, and then getting to stand outside in the sun all day talking to random strangers about awesome charities. This may sound odd, but I loved it. I worked with amazing people, every evening we’d go for drinks after work (we went to one bar so much the bar owner hugged me when I left), and then every weekend I’d go on adventures with friends from my hostel, some of whom I count as my best friends to this day. My life was the definition of happiness.
I don’t think working in Australia is about the big cities, the massive night clubs, or the high flying careers. That’s what England’s for. It’s about doing jobs you’d never think to do in the UK, making friends for life, sitting round bon fires on beaches in the middle of the night, and enjoying (or forcing yourself to enjoy) the odd box of goon in your hostel courtyard.
I’d urge everyone to jump on that plane and spend at least a few months living it up in Broome, Perth, Lancelin, or any of the other hidden backpacker gems of WA. After all, our greatest memories are forged when we jump into the unknown.
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