Sometimes the best way to travel for long periods of time is to pack up your bags and take your job beyond the borders of your home country.
In 2017, I applied for an Australian Working Holiday Visa, packed my bags and travelled 10,000 miles to experience a new lease of life in 40 degree heat. With experience in Customer Service, hospitality and writing but no academic qualifications to start a career, I knew my options would be limited.
About a fortnight before I left, I started applying for jobs around the Central Coast, NSW, just to give enough time to schedule interviews and be in the country to attend them. After a rigorous application process, I landed an interview with Sunnylife Australia just a few days after arriving in NSW and had secured a Christmas temp job a week later.
Working for Sunnylife:
Sunnylife Australia promotes an endless summer, selling inflatables and accessories to compliment the heat and opens up pop-up stores around NSW from September to January each year.
I found myself working with four other lovely girls: all with a similar bubbly outlooks. Every day held a new challenge, be it sales, merchandising or stock: with equal responsibilities for the store, it means that there was something new and exciting to work through each shift.
Not only was the role fulfilling but I loved working with a small group of individuals, you have to work together but it also means that you get to know each other well. Since the Central Coast was my first location in Australia, I was a total stranger to the country: it was lovely to get some inside tips from locals and grasp an understanding of Aussie culture. I learnt so much more than how to smash sales or stock take, but I found out where the best beaches were in the area, cut-throughs to take on the highway and what growing up on the other side of the world is really like.
But Christmas temp jobs only last so long though and although I was able to work as many hours as I needed in the lead up to the festive period, post-boxing day sales, I found myself with few hours and coming to the end of my contract.
The truth is, nobody tells you how difficult it is to work in the less touristy areas of Australia, there are no travel guides that mention if you don’t work in Sydney, you’ll struggle. Though I was fortunate enough to work four different jobs during my time in Australia, admittedly, this was only a 1% turnaround of job applications.
It took 400 applications to get 10 interviews, 4 of which were successful.
I was truly naive to the lack of work for those on Working Holiday Visas, since an employer can only have you for a maximum 6 months and whilst they can’t explicitly say that that’s why, it certainly was implied at many of my interviews.
Settling on the Central Coast seemed the most economically viable option at the time: with cheaper food, petrol and rent, but it did turn out to be the most insecure for work. The location is absolutely beautiful, with breathtaking views and so many beaches!
Australia does have thousands of jobs available for backpackers, but you really do need to either be in a major city or looking for work peak seasons. It is also certainly possible to live on the coast and work in Sydney: thousands of locals already do the hour commute on the train, long days, but it does get you the best of both worlds.
Have you had a similar backpacking experience? I would love to hear from you, leave a comment below or find me on social media!