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Goodbye New Jersey. Hello World! A record of my journey as I give up my job, my possessions, and life as I know it to go off and see the world!

Perth

AUSTRALIA | Wednesday, 27 October 2010 | Views [2130] | Comments [2]

Most Americans arrive in Australia by way of Sydney or Melbourne.  Their first sights of the country are the typical Sydney opera house and the sandy white beaches.  I’m sure that there is tons of touristy stuff there promoting Australia - the boomerangs, koalas, kangaroos, didgeridoos, etc, but that is not the welcome I received.  I entered Australia from the west.  Hong Kong to Perth.  A very different welcome awaited me, but it was a nice one nonetheless. 

I entered the country nervous I was going to be grilled over my visa.  I had been all over the place and I had heard stories about Australian customs being quite difficult with what you were allowed to bring in.  I also had no exit ticket out of Australia, and I was worried that this was going to be an issue.  Ha.  The immigration control man looked at my passport for all but one minute, stamped it, and I was on my merry way.  The lesson here is that I worry too much.  If only I would learn from this lesson just once. 

My hostel is full of Irish men and German girls.  Everyone here is either working or looking for work.  It seems like the work here is mostly manual - mining and oil rigs.  The men here definitely have a certain roughness to them.  As far as I know I am the only one who is just passing through.  I’ve been told repeatedly now that there is tons of work to find here.  Good to know if I can’t find a job in the east.  I went to a bar/club last night and listened to songs that were popular about 10 years ago - old rap music from the nineties that I used to run to in gym class.  I was told by some of my new Irish friends that Perth is about 15 years behind everyone else in Australia.  The people watching was great though - so many people from so many places.

I had a bit of a culture shock when I first got here.  Things are ridiculously expensive for someone who had just come from Asia.  Food especially.  $3 for a small cup of regular coffee.  $1 for an apple.  $25 a night for a hostel.  No free internet at the hostels anymore.  $5 for a bottle of beer (that is the real killer for me - crikey!) and the beer really is nothing great.  Perhaps I will be switching to wine from now on.   Perth is full of shopping stores.  Would you believe that I had Asian instant noodles as my first dinner here?  It was like being on the Tran Siberian all over again!  There are no more Chinese people everywhere - but I wouldn’t say it’s all Australians either.  I would like to think of Perth as a sort of melting pot - kind of as New York is.  There are people from all over the world here and it makes things rather interesting.

Even though Perth is extremely relaxing and chill I couldn’t help but find myself stressed out a bit when I got here.  How am I going to afford to travel?  Should I buy a car?  How am I going to find a job?  My stomach growls and my mouth salivates as I walk by restaurants and see people indulging in restaurant food.  I am going to miss eating out so much as I did in Asia but I think my body could use some healthier alternatives as well.  I’m trying to look at the positive side of things.  Perhaps it’s good that I will be eating and drinking alcohol less.  Watching my finances will perhaps be better for me in the end - I don’t know.  Maybe I will stop getting depressed when I look at future photos and see how heavy I have become!  (ugh - I don’t even want to think about what I am going to look like in a bathing suit!) I really haven’t put on too much but I always was so slender and healthy at home that I am a bit disappointed in myself for the lifestyle changes that have come about from traveling.

Today I went to the beach using the subway.  The ocean was so blue and clear, and the sand was so soft and white.  The palm trees swayed in the breeze. There was hardly anyone there.  Until today I thought Hawaii and the Caribbean had the nicest beaches. I think I was wrong.  Me and a German girlfriend I met at the hostel sat by the ocean for a  few hours and just took it all in.  It was one of the nicest beaches I have been to - and something tells me there are many more nice beaches to come.  It finally hit me today that I am in Australia.  All this stressing is not worth it.  It feels good to be here - right to be here.  There is a high school right at the beach.  I watched some of the teens swim in the ocean with their uniforms on.  Others just relaxed with their friends and played ball or sat on towels.  I wonder if they do this every day after school?  This is a very different childhood compared to the one of my own.  I wonder - do these kids realize how good they have it?  I think about the kids in China I saw, playing in the slums of their homes.  And then I see these teenagers in the ocean without a care in the world. Oh to be in their shoes!  I wonder - what would my life had been like if I had grown up here? And what would it be like to teach in a school like this?  Hmmm perhaps I should become certified to teach in Western Australia and find out?

I leave in 2 days to go to Alice Springs, and a part of me wishes I could stay here longer.  Western Australia is massive with so many natural sights to check out.  Perhaps I will come back after I am finished with my time in Melbourne. Australia itself is so large with so much to see - I hope a year will be enough to fit it all in. I think the change in lifestyle here will be good for me.  I’ve been on the road for almost 4 months now and it will be nice to relax for a bit.  I’m very glad that Perth was my first taste of Australia.  I can’t wait to see what the rest of it is like.  

Tags: australia, perth

Comments

1

The aussies don't really realise how good they've got it until they go to other countries. They frequently have 3 of their cites as the most liveable in the world and don't really get it till they have to live elsewhere - they love a moan....more so that the english. You'll meet lots more germans and irish whilst you're there so get used to them as everyone is most likely using their woking holiday visas.

  Kem Oct 29, 2010 6:04 AM

2

I don't think Australians realise to the full extent how lucky we are or how laid back the country is. I used to think, "Pretty sure we're not laid back, we're just normal, no more or less than others." That was back before I'd been travelling properly and then I was like, "Wow, everywhere else people are so stressed, depressed or angry."

Also, Australians (and New Zealanders) seem to travel heaps. I'm in my first year of uni and all my friends have been to three other countries at the absolute least. I can't think of anyone who hasn't been overseas. But it seems to be not as much of a thing for certain other nationalities, obviously not everyone can afford it, but even many with the means to travel don't have the will to.

  Paige Jun 12, 2012 8:59 PM

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