Call Yourself a Traveller? Why I’m Still in Australia

By on December 14, 2015 in AUSTRALIA, Musings with 39 Comments

Me Looking Out

It’s funny thinking of yourself as a traveller when you’re not really moving.

I guess it only goes to highlight the stupidity of this obtuse term.

I mean I am moving – I’m getting out of bed, going to work and exercising, I’m moving my fingers and arms to type these very words right now.

What I’m not doing however, is moving in a global sense, a sense we might link with the notion of travel – I’m not moving country or between countries or really, at the moment, even moving around one country.

Call yourself a traveller?

What is going on?


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What’s Going on is Australia!

Me and the Marbles

Oh Australia, the giant land of surf and sunshine.

I arrived here on a 1 Year Working Holiday Visa back in September 2013 and was immediately sucked in.

The problem is, I’ve not been spat back out yet and now, 2 and a bit years later, find myself still here!

I guess in some sense I am still a traveller – I mean I’m living in a foreign country half way round the world from the tiny island of Jersey in the English Channel where I was born.

I’m also living in a foreign country that is essentially the size of a continent and therefore would take anyone at least a few years to really travel and explore well.

And I’m living in an expensive country, one which if you do really want to travel and explore well either involves you having access to a ton of money or having to stop in one place for a while and work.

And there’s nothing “untravely” about travellers having to stop in one place and work for a while.

In fact most do; whether it’s at home or abroad, most serial wanderers have to stop moving and earn some cash for the next adventure at some point.

 

Which is Just What I’ve Been Doing

Me Love Noosa

Here, in the lovely spot of Noosa on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, Australia, I’ve put done my bags and have been working for a while.

It’s just that’s it’s been a long while.

Almost 18 months worth of a long while and that’s a long, LONG, while for me.

Sure there have been little trips here and there, weeks in Melbourne and on the Great Ocean Road, road trips to Central Australia and Uluru, national park camping adventures in Queensland and home visits back to Europe – but it feels like a very long while since the last time I was travelling and exploring more than I was working.

And that’s a bit of a problem if you call yourself a traveller in my books!

 

So Now Come the Questions…

Why am I still in Australia?

Why I have I been in this one place working for so long?

Why am I not really moving round, about, from or to anywhere much at the moment?

And how can I still call myself a traveller?

Well, let’s take the last question first shall we – I still call myself a traveller, because I’m still saving and planning the next big adventure.

Simples!

(More about this later…)

But the less easily explained and rather more personal reason I’ve put down my bags in Australia to work and live in Noosa specifically for almost 18 months now is ….

… love

Us at Beach Winter

Yes, that annoyingly predictable, vomit-inducing clichéd reason that’s made many a good independent woman put down her travel bags for a while and start nesting rather more than she is used to, has got me too!

It’s those bloody Antipodean men I tell you!

They’ve been the catalyst for change in the case of more than a few solo lady adventurers I know, and now, I’m the latest victim!

Love, and the lovely man I’m attached to, is the reason why I’m still in Australia after more than 2 years here and it’s the reason why I’ll probably still be here a while longer too.

 

So What’s the Story?

Sarong as Beach Towel

I arrived in the Land Down Under in September 2013 and flew straight to Cairns. I wanted to dive the Great Barrier Reef while I still had some money!

From here I hitched and rideshared, camped and couchsurfed my way down the east coast until I reached Noosa on the Sunshine Coast.

Here, in this little town by the sea, I quickly made friends, found work and fell in love with the beach lifestyle, gorgeous nature and stonkingly brilliant climate!

I’d planned on stopping in Noosa just a few months to enjoy all this – to work the season, save some cash and enjoy the summer – then I’d be back on the road to continue my travels. All I needed in the meantime was somewhere to stay.

I was looking for houseshares on gumtree when I found this beautiful looking place that seems to fit the bill perfectly.

Only minutes away from work, available for a short period of time and across the road from a friend’s house and the beach, it almost seemed too good to be true.

 

Little did I know it Wasn’t!

Friendship

I met the housemate, a rather handsome older man and we immediately got on like a house on fire! (pun intended) He’d travelled, he’d worked, he’d lived. He loved the beach, good books and the wild outdoors. He hated material possessions, processed food and bad coffee. We had much in common and much to teach each other.

I moved in
Into the spare room
At first
And then quickly
Into his room

The connection was strong and immediate and within weeks we both knew we wanted to spend a lot more time together.

And we did. We spent almost all our time together

Before I had to go.

Had to go and complete my farm work, which is one of the requirements for a gaining a second year Australian working holiday visa.

So I left Noosa
and the man
and continued my travel down the east coast
For 5 days
Before we couldn’t resist
And he came to visit me
In Byron Bay
(I’d only made it about 4 hours drive away)

 

And so it continued ….

I carried on moving through the country to find farm work, while he would come and visit me whenever he could get time off from work.

We enjoyed camping trips in New South Wales and 4wd road trips through Central Australia.

And I saw so much of this beautiful land with him at my side.

And after the farm work was complete, I moved back to Noosa, back to the flat where I’d planned to be for only a few months, back to live with him.

That was in June 2014 and I’ve actually been in Noosa ever since.

(Yes, I spent my whole second Australian working holiday visa year not really travelling at all, but actually staying in one place!)

As I said, there have been side holidays in these last 18 months – around the country and to meet my family back in Europe – but these have only been side holidays.

The return to work has always cut things shorter than we would have liked, has determined our travels, has carved them.

Travels have been made to fit around work and not the other way. Certainly not the way I would normally have done things!

I guess my time in Noosa has been about experiencing a different type of journey

If you would have told me when I first moved in here in late 2013 that I would still be here, typing these very words from the same place in late 2015, I would have thought you were mad.

But such is life.

Taking us on a magical tour in the ways we least expect, the ways we need to go, the ways we need to grow.

I didn’t have to stay in Noosa of course, I could have travelled, together with the man, in Australia or abroad, but I think we both needed to grow in one place for a bit and learn the hardships of staying still and coping with the mundane for a while.

To learn to wait a little longer this time for the next adventure.

And Noosa has taught me that. And thankfully it’s made a hard lesson a little easier with its white sandy beaches and gorgeous tropical atmosphere!

It’s ok going to work everyday if you can swim in the ocean beforehand!

 

And the Benefit of it All?

Us at Noosa Beach

The benefit of this staying in one place and working hard is that we’ve now been able to apply for a visa together – we’ve now been able to collect all the evidence and to collect all the money such a visa costs.

Yes, before my second year working holiday visa ended in September this year, we applied for a de facto partner visa – which, if successful, will allow me to gain residency in Australia so that we can be together.

It’s a long process this de facto visa.

I don’t expect we’ll know the outcome for at least another year. And it’s also a restrictive process this de facto visa – I can’t really leave Australia to travel much until it’s been decided.

So that’s why we’re still in Australia and that’s why I said I’ll probably be here a while longer yet!

It’s a strange thing waiting to travel (long term) again, but the longing is there and that’s why I still call myself a traveller.

Sometimes, however, there are other goals that take priority, that warrant putting down your bags for a while.

That doesn’t stop me being a traveller.. As long as it’s not for too long!

For we have some pretty exciting plans for next year you see, ones that I’ll be talking about very soon.

In the meantime however, I wanted to tell you a bit of our story, give you a small window into our lives, explain why I still call myself a traveller and why I’m still in Australia!

 

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About the Author

About the Author: Creator of Big World Small Pockets, Stephanie Parker is a budget travel addict! Originally from Jersey in the Channel Islands, Stephanie backpacks the world collecting tips, advice and stories, to share with a smile .

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There Are 39 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Toni says:

    I LOVE this!!!! This is my ideal story…except the man comes with a Canadian or American accent! So lovely to read about your journey!

  2. Sarah S says:

    I’m experiencing the same phenomenon right now! My two-year+ trip became a 14-month trip, which then became a 7-month trip, all because of falling in love. What rotten luck 😉 Transitioning from a permanent nomad to someone who cuts trips short to return to her man, well…its been a process. But there’s no denying it’s an adventure in and of itself! Congrats to you for following your heart, even when your heart needs to stay in one place for awhile!

    • Steph says:

      Thanks Sarah and congrats to you too! I follow the photographic love story of you and your man around the world with a big smile on my face! I think what I’m getting from all the feedback on this post is that “being a traveller” is more a state of mind that a physical embodiment: Anything can become a journey, a chance to learn and grow in a new direction if we let it 🙂

  3. Great story! Actually, we share the same situation and view. We call ourselves travelers, but we haven’t been outside our home country. We travel all around the Philippines because there are just so many beautiful places and interesting activities here. We want to discover more of our country before going abroad.

  4. Melanie says:

    Hey Steph! Loved your personal post. My boyfriend and I got together a while before we flew off for our RTW trip. But, the months we spent together (5 months prior to the trip) were an amazing experience. Not because of the great things we did. We had to cut down our expenses, we barely went out for dinner anymore, etc. which is hard in a relationship the great thing is we still had fun together. We did free stuff like hiking, swimming, being in nature, etc. We had to be more creative. I am happy you found a wonderful man and it’s good for a relationship to be with the person for a while somewhere where both feel comfortable to get to know each other truly. The visa you applied for sounds wonderful and you seem to be so happy. Can’t wait to hear what’s up for next year. Hugs from Thailand now 😉
    Melanie

    • Steph says:

      Thanks so much Melanie – really is lovely to get such nice feedback from eveyone here. Sounds like lots of people can relate! Your RTW adventure together sounds great too – we’ll be following in your tracks as soon as we hear on the visa! (ssshhhh!)

  5. Liz says:

    Love this post!!! I’m a fellow woman-in-love so I am such a sucker for stories like these. It’s great how you stayed optimistic all throughout — love does that, I guess. 🙂

  6. Laura says:

    Love this! I still refer to myself as a traveler even though I’ve been in Korea for the past two years and haven’t traveled too extensively outside of the country. I’m heading to New Zealand on a WHV next summer (er…winter?) with my boyfriend and will finally be traveling SE Asia before that. I love the story of you and your love. Too sweet!

  7. Shona Ringsdore says:

    I am so so proud of you Steph,
    and wish you so much love and luck in your adventure at ‘home’
    and when you and your man travel again, together. Good luck darling xx xx
    All our love from the Ringsdores et al!

  8. Chris says:

    And you staying here has enriched our lives too Steph!
    Speaking as a pretty much retired wanderer (33 years on the road ain’t bad) it was great to meet a kindred spirit.
    Until you guys hit the road on your next adventure remember to travel out to us on the farm on your days off…. We miss you both 🙂

  9. Love this. I’m from Canada originally and started my “I quit my job to have a crazy long adventure” in Cairns, made it to Sydney and haven’t really left yet…it’s been nearly 5 years…oops! Well, I guess I *have* left for trips, mostly around Asia, North America and Australia. But I work full-time and these are just my holidays several times a year. Still, I consider myself a traveller – for me, being a traveller is almost a state of mind, a passion. It’s all about experiences – and these experiences definitely don’t have to be in another country to be good! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  10. Cathy says:

    Of course you are still a traveller- it is in the heart not the constant trips. Very sweet story:) I don’t get to travel as much as I’d like- my kids still need me at home. One day I’ll be a full time traveller. For now I have travel in my heart and adventure as often as possible.

  11. Kirstie says:

    I too came to Australia on a WHV in September 2013 and am still here! Work is the primary reason I stayed, but love has factored into it quite a bit too. I get antsy, but I have no regrets staying longer than planned!

  12. Shelly says:

    Awesome story! You were able to find what you weren’t looking for!

  13. Alyson says:

    I married one too! It’s OK, the rest of the world isn’t going anywhere while you sort it out. ( mine is 11 yrs younger and I found him in Egypt, he came with a British passport too, so it was simpler!)

  14. Alison Keogh says:

    Steph I have so enjoyed reading all about your adventures – keep posting I look forward to the next one xxxx

  15. Juliet says:

    Such a beautiful story! I wish you two all the best! And I am sure, you will find time to travel soon 😉

    x, Juliet

  16. Michele says:

    Once a traveler always a traveler, whether in one place and taking small trips or on a long journey….stay happy and don;t feel you have to explain your choices to anyone

  17. Emily says:

    I love this! I moved to Paris on a whim to be an au pair after graduating from university. My plan afterwards was actually to go back home, work for awhile, and do a working holiday visa to Australia, but as fate would have it, a Frenchman walked into my life and now I’m still in Paris. We’re dealing with many of the same issues of getting visas so I can stay with him (it’s actually pretty tough for Americans to stay long-term in France) so I wish you all the luck in the world with the de facto visa! We’ll always be travelers, even if the travel has to get put on hold, but finding love like this is definitely worth staying put for awhile. 🙂

    • Steph says:

      Glad you enjoyed the post Emily and couldn’t agree more with your final sentiments! Best of luck with your visa stuff too – I know it always surprises people how hard this stuff all is – i think the general public’s perception of immigration within or between countries is quite different from the complex and difficult reality 🙂

  18. Kim-Ling says:

    A great story! And there is nothing wrong with staying in the one place. As you said, you can still travel and approach life like every day is a holiday. Sometimes the greatest travel experiences are the ones you have at ‘home’, and more often than not, require a lot of planning, saving and sacrifice. And what better place to be hanging around in than Australia (I might be biased). Good luck with the visa and enjoy all of the new travel/living experiences along the way!

  19. I’m a traveler and I know I’m not the first to say it, but there is nothing wrong with staying in one place. I traveled full time for 4 years before settling in Melbourne (I’m originally from the UK) and have now been here for 3. I go on one big international trip per year and a couple of shorter trips to closer destinations when I can. I work to fund my wanderlust and blog to satisfy my lust for the world whilst I’m at home. So yeah, to answer your question – I call myself a traveler 🙂
    I’m on a defacto visa also (found my Aussie in France!) – so understand the process/pain there (document collection was time consuming – and lets not talk about getting statements from friends and family!) – but I have my fingers crossed for you that it all happens quickly.
    Happy Travels/Staying in one place 🙂

  20. Katie says:

    It has been an American that has captured my heart but rather than our love putting my travel on hold, it has extended it. I was on a one year trip that was due to finish in June this year but after meeting my (also handsome, older) man travelling, I am now living on the road, mostly in the US, housesitting and slowly gaining more online work.

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