Smaller Earth: Discovering Australia
After leaving university Jodie registered with Smaller Earth and pursued their dreams of traveling to Australia.
It was 2010 when I decided to pursue my dream of traveling 'down under', through the cities of Australia.
After I graduated from university, I registered with Smaller Earth and 4 months later, I was all set to embark on a life changing experience.
I have always had a passion to travel but never knew how to go about it, when I stumbled across the Smaller Earth website one evening, after browsing through the internet, I found something that stood out to me. It was the Australia 'work and travel'program, which to me, was perfect as I could earn money whilst seeing the places I ardently wanted to see.
I was excited but tremendously nervous at the same time, I was dabbling into the unknown world (to me, at the time) of Australia. I would be flying to a completely unfamiliar country on the opposite side of the world, where I wouldn't know a soul, have a job or a place to live! My feelings of exhilaration, were coupled with nerves and worry.
My first few weeks in Australia were spent in Brisbane, there I was welcomed with a presentation, which helped me with things such as tax codes, bank accounts and CV's... all which I hadn't even considered.
Finding a job was fairly simple, I chatted to a few of the locals from the bar, that had become my 'go-to'evening venue. After two weeks of relaxing in the sunshine (whilst it was raining back home) I got my first job in Australia, I was a waitress/barmaid at a place called 'CBD Cafe Bar'.
At first I was worried about making friends and being alone in Australia, but most people were welcoming and it made making friends really easy. As I was enthusiastic and got involved in things, I found it easy to get along with the local 'Aussies'. I even learned how to surf!
I saved the money I had earned at Brisbane and travelled to Sydney, it was a beautiful city, but so expensive. I saw all the sights I wanted to see and moved on. The rest of my year was spent going from city to city, some I stayed in for months, others only a couple of weeks. My jobs varied from working in bars to restaurants and even fruit picking!
My favourite memories are going out into Moreton Bay, surfing on Rainbow Beach, browsing the magnificent shops in Melbourne and just meeting new people, from different backgrounds and cultures.
Accommodation was more expensive than I had initially expected it to be, so most of my wages were spent on funding my living. I stayed in over 30 hostels during my time in Australia, where I met fellow travelers, each had their own amazing stories.
As you can imagine, before I left, I was feeling a fairly wide range of emotions: excitement, apprehension, and a little sadness at leaving my family and friends behind. Fast forward a year later and I had earned more than money, I earned friends, independence, memories and the greatest travel experiences I could ever ask for.