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…
Blue on blue on blue ☀️☁️? One thing LA & Australia have in common for sure, the love of beaches. Oz fact! "More than 80 percent of Australians live within 100 kilometres of the coast making Australia one of the world's most urbanised coastal dwelling populations". After seeing their beaches it wasn't hard to see why ? . . . . . . . . . #igtravel #instatravel #travelling #traveltheworld #travelblog #travel #travels #travelstories #wanderlust #mytravelblog #mytraveldiary #mytravelgram #traveler #traveling #travelphotography #janettearacely #traveling #traveladdict #traveldiary #aussielife #australia #sydney #beach #bestoftheday #blue #ocean #nature #beautiful #gorgeous #throwback
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:
- I could be a “Professional Traveler”: a person who travels for a living, like a travel blogger
- 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.
Hear ye, hear ye! I'm moving out of LA for the first time in my life…to another continent. I can easily say, this has been the best year of my life and didn't think it could get any better until I finalized everything for this crazy move to Australia ??. I've always dreamt of starting a whole new life in a foreign country – and this year I finally was able to ask myself "What's stopping you?" And the answer, "Absolutely nothing." So here I am. So excited for the adventures awaiting me in OZ. #me #passport #australia #aussie #travel #travelgram #wanderlust #sohappy #excited #traveler #traveltheworld #travelbugger
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.
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.
#ComeWithMe @Contiki Tour – Day 9: Latergram of our trip to the waterfalls. ?? #contiki #contikiasia . . . . . . . . . . . . #traveltheworld #worldtraveler#travellife #girl #beautifulplace #travelingtheworld #igtravel #instatravel #travelling #brunette #laos #travel #travels #wanderlust #traveler #janettearacely #traveling #traveladdict #traveldiary #globetrotter #explore #exploreeverything #bestoftheday #asia #lifeofadventure #traveller
Love this shot of our happy/nervous group. My first night in New Zealand I went to a pub and won a free rafting trip to Rotorua! Got to go on the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world, Kaituna. Definitely a fun experience! ?#me #rafting #nz #newzealand #mytravelgram #mytraveldiary #janettearacely #travel #traveling #travelgram
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!