Why did you decide to move abroad?
I have always been fascinated by travel and spent every month in between studying at University backpacking around Europe. So when I finally finished study moving abroad was the one thing I wanted to do. I was finally free to live somewhere else and immerse myself in a different country. Backpacking and moving abroad is different. I wanted to see what it was like to live within a different environment, a different culture and be surrounded by new experiences that I couldn't get at home.
How did you spend your First Month Abroad?
I spent my first month abroad in Sydney, Australia. It was Christmas and New year so it was a big time in Sydney. I spent the month exploring all the sights, living in hostels, and celebrating the holidays with new friends. I had already been to a lot of hostels in Europe so making friends came naturally and I loved spending Christmas on Bondi beach. It was a whole new experience compared to back home.
What has surprised you most about living in a foreign country?
At first I was surprised every day by the differences, things like food, language, way of living. Little things like slang words used, or the very relaxed way of living over in Australia. I also knew it would be amazing weather over here, but was very surprised that Melbourne also gets a very cold winter.
Any cultural/language barrier funny moments?
It's funny to say that the language is different in Australia compared to the UK, but it kind of is. Australians have this amazing way of shortening everything, that even to this day makes me laugh. Afternoon is arvo, avocado is avo, a smoke break is smoko. You see what I mean. There has been countless moments of living here where I have had to stop and be like 'sorry what?' when an Australian has spoken to me.
What are your favorite activities in your new town?
Moving from Wales to Australia I of course had to move next to a beach. It may not be Bondi beach, but I live right by St Kilda beach. In the summer after work I walk down to the beach with a few beers and my book, have a swim and relax in the afternoon sun. I also love to take day trips, there is so much to see just outside the city, hikes, incredible beaches, hot springs. A personal favourite is the Great Ocean Road. Finally, if you love art, Melbourne is the place for you. There are countless art exhibitions every month, streets filled with street art, pop up exhibitions. If I have a rainy day off that is where you will find me, in particular The National Gallery of Victoria.
What advice would you give to tourists visiting your new home town?
The thing with Melbourne is there isn't the wow factor that Sydney has, there isn't the opera house, or the harbour bridge. The advice I would give about Melbourne is just enjoy it. If you can stay a while and live here, do. It hasn't been named the world's most liveable city for nothing. But if you only have chance for a fleeting visit, go and explore. Wander the street art covered lane ways in the city, indulge in an outstanding cup of Melbourne coffee, eat and have a few beers whilst relaxing by the beach. Melbourne has a lot to offer, there is always something going on. Look up what's on when you visit, the summer is filled with free festivals, live music, food markets. My main advice, keep it relaxed and see where Melbourne takes you.
What is the one MUST SEE?
A must see is a St Kilda sunset. In the summer especially head down to St Kilda pier to watch the famous fairy penguins make their way home. Make a picnic, grab a bottle of wine and get ready to experience one of the best sunsets you can see, in my opinion.
What do you miss most about home?
Family, friends and food.
Next I will be buying a car to live in and road tripping from Melbourne to South Australia, up to the West coast and then to the Northern territory.
Space of infinite possibilities
People think moving abroad is scary or impossible. Friends back home often say they couldn't do it or don't know how I do it. But the truth is the hardest part is booking that one way ticket. Once it's done it's done. That has always been my mentality. You should be nervous, excited, maybe a little scared, because that is the fun in it. Moving abroad is the best thing I have ever done. Now my two years in Australia are nearly up, and next I plan to move to New Zealand. I love living in a new country and urge everyone to try it, at least once. It's always amazing to me how I have moved to the other side of the world and have created a new little home for myself and I can't wait to create more little homes in many more countries.