The life of a backpacker

Trip Start Nov 21, 2008
Trip End Mar 31, 2010

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Where I stayed
Couchsurfed & Base Hostel

Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Friday, May 15, 2009

I've been in Sydney for about 2 weeks now. At first it was nice to be back in a big city after the small town charm of New Zealand, but it's already worn thin. In the age old debate of Melbourne vs. Sydney I pick Melbourne. I suppose if I was to stay and plant roots here I'd see things a bit differently. Also it's not nearly as big as you'd think considering it's one of the internationally recognized big cities of the world. I just looked it up and Sydney's 4.34 million people live in a 4,689 sq mi area. It makes me think they expand the city borders just so they can have higher population numbers!
My plan was to stay in Sydney for about a week or so and then move on up the coast to Byron Bay, which is a really chill laid back beach town that lots of travellers flock to. I was told and listened maybe a bit too much when someone suggested it would be harder for me to find a job up the coast rather than in Sydney. So I set out looking for a job here and applied all over the place. I was offered a few but in the end I still haven't worked and made any money. I think I should have just listened to my own plans and moved on sooner but now I'm waiting to see if I will get a job at this cafe. If I do then I'll probably stay for a month or maybe two to save up money I really need to complete the rest of my travels.
Other than all of that, which I realize may sound a bit negative, I have had a nice time here. I couchsurfed with 5 different people which was really cool because it gave me the chance to see neighborhoods and meet people I wouldn't have otherwise.

This entry is called "The life of a backpacker" so here's some facts about what that's like for anyone who's never been kept awake in a hostel because Wednesday night is some theme party at the hostel bar.
-If you can't find something you own in 15 minutes you can pretty much count on it being gone.
-The more groceries and alcohol (even if you feel you must buy it from duty free when you get off the plane because it's cheap) the more you have to carry when you move.
-Couchsurfing is amazing, so many positives. The main negative- moving your stuff every couple of days.
-Asian internet cafes are always the cheapest.
-Doing laundry means one load with everything mixed together.
-Meeting people from all over the world is pretty cool, except most of the people I've met (in order) are from England, Germany, Ireland, France, Australia, and Canada.
-I'm not sure if I mentioned this before but whenever I meet someone from America, no matter how far from Michigan, there's an instant kind of bond (also a bit so with Canadians). I guess distance is relative and when you're on the other side of the world there's a sense of comraderie that comes with being from the same country.
-You learn all about the popular backpacker travel destinations/ countries, what to avoid, what to see, and it is motivation to keep on traveling.
-Feeling old mid-20's because most people are around 18 years old.
-Sharing a hostel room with 7 other people isn't all that glamourous (especially when you've got the top bunk) but it's better if someone has a computer so you can watch movies.
-No matter how much fun you've having there's always a little sense of 'what the hell am I going to do when I get home?' or 'will I ever be able to have a good job/ nice clothes/ etc'.

My tentative travel plans:
I'm not sure how long I will stay in Sydney. Like I mentioned it depends if I start working at this cafe in which case I may stay a month or two.
Find a group of people traveling up the coast, hang out in Byron Bay and Nimbin for a month, or more if I leave Sydney earlier. Probably try to work since unfortunately I can't just spend and not make money.
Maybe have to find a new group but keep on moving up the coast stopping at all the sights/ attractions along the way.
By October I want to start my South East Asia leg of the trip. I hadn't initially planned on this but while in this part of the world it's almost compulsory. Plus it will be really nice to see how a non-westernized part of the world lives, it's cheap, and will be an amazing ending to the year or traveling. I want to travel to Bali (Indonesia), maybe island hop/ Singapore/ Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) where I've got a friend from Chicago/ Thailand/ Laos/ Cambodia/ Vietnam/ and I'd really love to travel to India as well. It should be do-able in 3 months. While it was easy to travel in Australia and New Zealand alone I'd really like someone to travel with in Asia. Many of these places are very touristy (although I'd like to get off the tourist track once in a while) so it is easy enough to get around, and I've actually had several people tell me that Bangkok is the perfect place to meet travel companions because there's so many people doing the same thing.
I'd like to be home for Christmas because I miss my family and Christmas in Asia would just be weird.
Okay time to upload some pictures of Sydney. Check them out!

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