I made it to Sydney on a perfect November day and I still remember the feeling of excitement as the plane arrived in the land down under. I had always dreamed about visiting this mysterious country on the other side of the globe. Like any other hardcore planner I had done my research, but none of the articles had fully prepared me for some of the subtle differences until I experienced it first hand.
- Relax – No one is in as big of a hurry as you are. While waiting for the bus I found the mood to be a lot less tense than in the states. Overall life is slower paced and there is generally less complaining. I’m sure the amazing weather, high minimum wages, and dry sense of humor from the locals will help you adjust but if you’re not used to this kind of laid-back lifestyle, make sure you pack your patience!
- Expensive – I was warned but nothing can soften the sticker shock you feel when entering your first supermarket. With a part-time job and a tight travel budget, shopping for food and drinks (especially alcohol) was an interesting adventure for me. On the plus side, the tax is factored into the sales price and that can help ease your mind a bit.
- Beautiful – The people, the beaches, the views, and gardens are all next level. As I traveled from city to city, I quickly learned this applied to most areas of the colorful country. I had never been anywhere with such a diverse landscape and always felt warm and welcome everywhere I went. To that point, I would allocate enough time to go to multiple cities, as there is so much to see and experience!
- Green – I was happy to learn how environmentally friendly the country is. Overall they are less frivolous when it comes to water and energy. For example, clothes are air-dried and showers are kept short. As a culture, you can tell that they are passionate about preserving their home and expect their visitors to as well. I would encourage you to be mindful of your consumption while you’re there.
- Animals – The critters you will meet in Australia are plenty and sometimes poisonous. I did a three-day excursion to Fraser Island, which is home to one of the most dangerous beaches in the world. If the sharks and jellyfish don’t get you, the snakes, spiders, and wild dingo just might. However, it’s not all scary, the kangaroos and koalas alone make the trip worth it.
- Opposite – Everyone knows by now that we drive on opposite sides of the road in the states. What you might not be prepared for is adjusting the way you look when crossing the street and what side of the car to get into as a passenger. Lifelong habits are really hard to break, just ask a few of my Uber drivers. Please be extra careful and look both ways!
All in all, Australia is a magical place and one of my favorite countries I visited during my time abroad. Although the flight from the states is long, I recommend it to everyone at least once. Like America, there is a lot to see so be sure to make time for a longer visit. On my next trip to Australia, I hope to explore more of the west coast and the outback.