Deep down, it’s probably something we’ve all fantasized about, either in fleeting moments or seriously considered. But how many of us have ever actually followed through with the dream of moving overseas?

Well this lady did – meet Janette Aracely. After experiencing something close to an epiphany moment whilst travelling across China with Contiki, Janette decided to make travel and adventure her next big move. What did she do next? She packed her bags, hopped across the ocean and settled down to a new life in Sydney. Here’s how she did it…


How did you decide to make the move abroad and actually live in another country?

Moving to Australia involved a wanderlust attitude, planning, & most of all, research. I knew absolutely nothing about moving abroad, so I did what I always do when I have unanswered questions – I googled it.

The hardest part was deciding what path to take. After that, the rest simply became a series of checklists. After arriving back into LA (where I was living) from a Contiki trip to China, I knew I wanted to change the course of my life to one that was based around travel. I decided there were two possible ways of doing this:

  1. I could be a “Professional Traveler”: a person who travels for a living, like a travel blogger


  1. A “Professional Who Travels”: a professional in “x” field who budgets time & money to fulfil their travel dreams

My heart told me to go for #1, but my instinct made me go for #2 – so I chose my path. I would have loved to become a “Professional Traveler”, but it wasn’t likely to happen in a couple of months. And as much as I love travel, I also love my career in Digital Marketing.

So I did some research on some of Australia’s top brands to see if the market wasn’t too far off what I was used to in the US. The similarities put me at ease, as well as noting there were a variety of jobs available that my experience qualified for.


What practical stuff did you have to organize?

Once I decided what I wanted, the rest was technical. I googled the different visas available and applied for the “Working Holiday Visa 417”. It was granted just a few days later.

I then ended up contacting Bunac.org, who set you up with a week of activities and accommodation upon arrival in Sydney. What I loved about this option is that I knew I would meet people with my same mindset, who like me, decided to make the move, pack their things and just go.

How did you fund your move?

To be allowed into Australia, I needed to show proof of at least $5,000 AUD in my bank account. Challenge accepted! I had savings, but not to that extent. The two upcoming flights available for the Bunac program were in early October and the next on November 7th. I knew I couldn’t save enough to make the October deadline, but I had to get there in November. I refused to wait any longer. I cut my spending drastically in every area I could and gave my landlord 30 days notice, sold everything I owned, and packed my life into the trunk of my car.

Rent had always taken a large chunk of my paycheck, so I decided instead of paying rent to my landlord, I’d offer to rent my friends’ couches for a week or two and alternate between them. Plan B was to stay at hostels until the move, but that never happened. When people found out what I was doing, the reaction was touching. Everyone was excited and intrigued that I was leaving the continent in a just a few weeks time and I received so many offers from friends and family to let me stay with them. I had planned on getting a side job like driving for Uber or Starbucks if need be, but that fortunately never became necessary.


What were your biggest fears about making the move?

A popular question I was asked was: “What if you don’t like it there?”. My response: “Simple. I come back.” The $5,000 AUD requirement is genius and gives you time to sort out necessities and is also a great back-up option if you’d like to (not that anyone would) buy a return plane ticket home right away. Another question I got from the very beginning until the day the I arrived was if I was scared or nervous. The word that I would use to describe my emotion throughout the whole process is, “giddy”. I have never felt more at peace and excited than all the days leading up to the move.

How did you make new friends?

The Bunac group was amazing, and from the very beginning we completely bonded. It had done the main thing I wanted – it allowed me to meet and become friends with other travelers who had the same views on travel as I did. The same goes for everyone I met in hostels; I don’t think I’ve ever felt such a strong sense of community. For the most part, everyone is going through similar situations and go out of their way to help each other in any way they can.

The crew #mytravelgram #me #friends #travel #traveler #travelgram #mytraveldiary #mytravelgram #australia #aussielife

A photo posted by JANETTE ARACELY TRAVEL BLOGGER (@janettearacely) on


How did you find somewhere to live?

Surprisingly this was the hardest part of the move. I moved to Sydney in the summer which is a time when apartments are in high demand. It took about a month of active searching, but finally I found a great apartment with an amazing roommate through FlatMates.com.au.

And that new job?

I slacked a bit in applying for jobs when I first arrived because I was too distracted with all the new sights of my new home/city, but I was able to get several interviews and accept a job offer within 4 days of putting up my resume on Seek.com.au. Different recruiters contacted me which led to a wide variety of companies to choose from.

Tell us about your life now

I’ve lived in Sydney for 10 months now. During this time I’ve had my fair share of adventures, met some incredible people that have made a big impact on me, and done exactly what I set out to do – become a “Professional Who Travels”. I didn’t know what the end of my year in Australia will hold, but 3 months in my job offered to sponsor me and I accepted, meaning I will be in Sydney for at least another 2 years. During the last 10 months I’ve travelled to New Zealand, Melbourne, Tasmania, LA (home), Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Malaysia, with more adventures in the pipeline.



What have you learned from the experience?

It may be different for others, but I find that doing things is easy, it’s mentally deciding to follow through that prevents most of us from going after what we want. I could have had multiple “reasons” to not go through with the move, such as “I don’t have $5,000 AUD, I don’t know the first thing about moving abroad, what if I can’t find a job, I don’t know anyone in Australia”…the list goes on.

If there’s a life changing event you want in your life, travel related or not, I urge you to create your plan and go for it. The excuses will always be there, tomorrow and even years down the track, but if not now, then when?

Have you had a similar moving abroad experience to Janette? Tell us about it in the comments – we’d love to write a story on you!


  • Barbara Bujnowski

    This was an inspiring read for me especially since I am 1 week out from my move to England from Toronto, Canada! I went on my first Contiki tour three summers ago and I was hooked. The following summer I was on another Contiki tour and since then, I haven’t been able to stop dreaming about Europe. Although, my adventure is a bit different than Janette’s – I am moving to England to attend law school, but my adventures abroad (and my first Contiki tour started in England!) helped me very easily and very quickly decide that I had to study abroad. Great read! Gave me the additional confidence I needed to get my journey started 🙂

    • Janette Martinez

      Congratulations Barbara! That’s SO exciting, you have so many fun adventures waiting for you!

    • Ginny Copestake

      Go Barbara! So happy Contiki gave you the confidence to both travel and ultimately make the move to come to England. I might be biased as it is my home, but it IS pretty great 😉

      I’m going to shoot you over an email now as I’d like to share your story with the wider six-two community.

      Chat soon!

      Ginny (six-two editor)

  • Saul Zuvic

    I’m 25, from the Falkland Islands. Being only a few hundred miles from Anarctica, it’s possibly one of the most remote inhabited places on earth. It’s quiet, peaceful, safe and comfortable…the total opposite of what a someone in their mid 20’s needs, especially me. Back in March this year, I decided to hang up my boots in the world of design, and head for the northern hemisphere in an attempt to cure my serious case of FOMO. I gathered up all my savings, sold my car and headed for the Southern Californian sun. Since March, I’ve been to over 12 countries, 21 cities/towns/islands, and in October I’m heading to Canada for the long term on the IEC Visa. My brother always used to tell me: “if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got”. So I made the change from an island close to Antarctica, with a population of around 3000, to somewhere I’d really feel like I was ‘living’. Get out there and do it.

    • Janette Martinez

      Wow that’s incredible. That’s so great that you’re getting out there and really exploring. 12 countries since March is quite a record.

      I absolutely love your brother’s quote: “if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got”.

    • Ginny Copestake

      Hi Saul,

      Wow – what an awesome story, and one I’d love to share with the wider six-two community!

      I’ll shoot you over an email and we can chat from there.

      Ginny (six-two editor)

  • Alysha Wilson

    I’m 19 when I was 18 I went on my first overseas adventure to Europe and did a contiki that changed my life, on that I met 2 Canadians that kept saying “come work in whistler, move to canada” etc… About 11 months later I moved to Canada with my boyfriend, currently living in Muskoka BEAUTIFUL location! Love waking up by the water and for winter I’ll be heading out west.
    I’ve been here for currently 4 months and I’m loving it, although it hasn’t been easy… I lost my uncle to a horrible disease a month into being here then a month ago I found out my dad has an early stage of cancer and trust me the amount of times I’ve gone to buy a plane ticket home because I can’t handle the heartache I’ve pushed through because I know they would want me too and its just proved to me how strong I am… Bring on my winter adventure now that summer is coming to an end.

    • Ginny Copestake

      Hi Alysha,

      Wow – a mix of emotions when reading your story. Such bravery to pack up and move, and even more so to stay and carry on the adventure because you know that’s what your family want you to do. You’re one brave lady!

      I’d really love to write up a story on your experience, if you’re comfortable in sharing it with the six-two community? I’ll pop you an email and we can chat from there.

      Thank you again for sharing,

      Ginny (six-two editor)

  • Simon Unrau

    I’ve wanted to move to South America since elementary school. I have visited Mexico, Costa Rica, Brasil, and Paraguay. Now my stuff is all sold and In 3 weeks I fly out of Canada to start a new life in Colombia where there is beach, reef, surf, and jungle, and no winter!!! Pura Vida Amigos!!!

  • Gemma Southgate

    This was such a great read for me as I too am moving to Sydney this year!! I have my one way ticket booked for September and I am currently saving. I am lucky enough to have someone living in Sydney who I met whilst travelling the East coast on a Contiki tour as well. It changed my life that tour and will most definitely be changing it for the better this year.
    I too am like you and feel ‘giddy’ at the minute, feeling really nervous to leave behind friends and family, but I cannot wait for my new adventure to begin and travel more and just make the most of my life which I feel I dont do here in the UK.
    I am going to be turning 30 next year and it was a ‘now or never’ decision, as its always something ive wanted to do but let other things get in my way before.

    Watch out Sydney….6 months until I’m there!!

  • Sam Tidy

    After taking a pretty extensive Contiki across the states (Grand Southern) in 2012 I decided to abandon the career path that I’d just spent 3 years at university studying for and try a career in the travel industry in the hope it would satisfy the wanderlust that had inevitably taken over my life! Unfortunately working as first a travel consultant, and then travel agent wasn’t enough and I’m now 2.5 years into my Canadian working holiday and couldn’t be happier! You can see my adventures so far on my Instagram at ‘modestmouseadventures’

  • Zoe Winks

    I lived in Canada for just over a year! Went completely on my own and had a job lined up in the rockies before I left home. Such an amazing experience! Ive now been home for about a year and it was definitely the best decision I made 😀