I received this today…

Now I know I have been adding ‘ My Australian Journey’ posts every day and will continue to do until I leave, however I received this in an email recently.

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It really is hitting home now that I am only here for a few more days, and that I should probably get my sh*t together. But saying that I don’t have much to do. I keep being asked ‘Are you ready? Have you packed?’ and as a backpacker a lot of my things were never unpacked! Certainly a benefit to this style of travel.

The hostel I am in is currently having lots of renovations, and everything around me is being carried somewhere. The tables, the chairs, and I can see them currently eyeing me up wanting to take the chair I am sitting on too. This is further getting me into the mindset of moving out. I will give it to them as I am about to shoot out the door anyway to have leaving drinks with work friends. But I wanted to post again today to you all instead of leaving this day blank. It feels strange if I don’t post once a day.

But I like that, because it keeps me posting. And I have been lucky to have so much to post about, I won’t always be travelling and finding content to write about is sometimes hard. And with that in mind I do have a little dilemma.

I had an interview for a job near London Bridge at midnight (it is 4.30pm now) that I think it wen’t pretty well. However this would require a start date pretty much straight away when I land in London. Great as I will be getting paid straight away, bad that I will be straight back into full time work after a long haul flight when I could take a couple weeks off. Shortly after the interview I Skyped with my mum that reminded me that it would be better to maybe take a couple weeks out. I have a funeral that I need to attend at the beginning of September and of course my Muse gig in Berlin on the 10th September.

So maybe it would make much more sense to take a couple weeks rest and head back up north. This would also help me look for more jobs and maybe one that is better for me. Not to mention I will have so much time to plan posts!

Even as I type this the second option is sounding more desirable. I might not even get this job and if I don’t, I will certainly travel back up north. However if I am successful I may still tell them that this is what I am going to do instead. It is hard to plan life and sadly my step-gran passed away the other day. She was the last of my grandparents and it is sad to know she is no longer with us. So taking a break to attend the funeral and spend the precious time seeing my family and friends actually sounds like a no brainer.

So I guess I will upload my first UK blog posts from the north east of England, a beautiful part of the world so I don’t mind at all. And now I need to run out the door to have my leaving drinks.

Just a little life update, and I will see you all soon!

Travel Diary: So long America, it was fun :(

I wanted to find an image that represents the USA in differing ways for this post, I decided on this picture taken in Austin, TX.

The famous yellow taxi. Glass highrises dwarfing the one storey eateries lining the grid traffic systems. Right lane driving. These all stand out to me as a British traveller.

My home city of Durham bans building over two storeys high in some areas to prevent obscuring any views of the cathedral, or so I was taught on a geography trip back in school. Grid systems would be ideal, sadly this is impossible when our city was built when horses were the main mode of transport. It was also important to build in an area that was difficult to conquer, common throughout Europe. It is a city that has always taken my breath away, not just because of the views but the effort needed to walk up to the market place. You can see why the centre is pedestrianised, and how this spot was perfect for the building of a castle and cathedral.

Credit: Van Rhijn Aerial Photography

But this post is about the New World. Today, I received notification that my US visa expired. It isn’t something that I have looked to renew as I have spent the years since 2010 in Malaysia, Brazil and short breaks in Europe. A lot happens in this space of time. I lost my father and uncle in recent years which of course took the wind out of my sails. I had no ambition to travel at all but thanks to great friends and amazing family, I got back on my feet. I would love to have went back the States and it feels weird that I haven’t, I made great friends and still keep in touch.

Sometimes we don’t get upset that something is over until it is over. I haven’t thought much about the visa still being valid but now I see it isn’t, I slumped a bit. If anything it is a reminder that I need to visit this great nation once again, one so vast that one image alone cannot portray the United States of America accurately. I miss the food, the friendly people, the numbered streets and alphabetised avenues and people thinking I’m Irish or Australian.

My visa expiring has inspired me to visit again one day!

Destination: Sydney

Time: 00.00

Check online banking. Payday is finally here.

Time: 00.05

I head to the Australian government website and apply for the Working Holiday visa.

Time: 00.35

Online form completed, I eagerly await it being authorised and sent to my inbox.

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In fact, as I wake up this morning it seems to have already been granted. Can that really be the case so soon? Not that I am complaining, I remember how long it took to get my J1 Visa in the United States.

A bunch of forms printed, filled in and sent back, an arranged interview at the embassy down in London, train tickets purchased, a day in the embassy, security checks and all belongings taken away from me and finally, a stamp in the passport. Not that I am complaining here either. It was worth it in the end. This wasn’t so straight forward for a friend as he lost one page of his documents on route. He had to wait outside for us and come down another day. Immigration have no time for that.

Their visa was a little different. I had to work for one company for 12 months. With my Aussie visa I can work wherever the work is, as long as it is no longer than 6 months with any employer. Sounds like a good deal to fuel my years holiday. Of course if any company decides to sponsor me I can extend my stay. If I do farm work for three months I will be able to extend for another year. What I find exciting on this trip is that I have no idea where I will be heading in the next few years. Will I head back to Europe? What if I find that special someone and build a family in Australia? Being a single guy in his late twenties is a little strange like that.

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I feel everyone has some kind of advantage. If you are in a relationship, awesome. I assume the relationship is one in which both people have similar interests and can feed off each other in terms of inspiration and funds to travel. If you are single you have a free pass to do what you want , when you want with little impact to anyone. Take a week or a year out, it’s up to you. If you are reliant or have someone rely on you, blog about it, tell your story and build a following, your unique perspective of what it is like to travel will be picked up by curious ears I am sure.

This may be the last year I blog from the UK. Thankfully I have a couple of years left of my twenties to blog with as much content as I can, I will make the most of it.

It is amazing that we have the option to follow people as they travel and document their lives through blogs, vlogs and social media. I am sitting here reading about lives in lands that historical populations did not even know existed, wishing I was there as this summers day is so dark I need my standing light on despite being early afternoon. If that doesn’t motivate me to get up and go I don’t know what will.

I will see you all on the other side, I will be here until then if you want me.

First image: Liam Pozz– Unsplash

Second image: Josh Wip– Unsplash