Australia, beautiful Australia — it’s a country that I always dreamed of visiting for as long as I knew it existed. Gorgeous beaches on the Travel Channel, incredible wildlife and desert life on the Discovery Channel, and tanned surfers on magazine centerfolds excited me in my younger years; Wellness and sustainability-focused, laid back, nature-oriented Instagram accounts inspired me leading up to my decision to make a move.
With college graduation approaching, I still hadn’t a clue what path I wanted to pursue. I’d studied Art, English, and Environmental Science, and dabbled in editorial, marketing, and publishing fields for internships, and I had a few options for post graduate work. The problem was that I wasn’t ready for a career yet, and still am not. Throughout university, I’d spent a month teaching science in India, a week working on a farm in Costa Rica, and a whole semester studying in Italy; I wasn’t ready to stop exploring the world yet.
Two of my best friends that I traveled with throughout Italy and Europe had secured jobs in the fashion industry in New York City. They’d been working all through their senior year and had saved (and would be making) enough money for “one last hoorah,” a holiday before they began their careers. The three of us had talked about traveling Australia together, and they begged me to join them on a two week tour. Unfortunately, it wasn’t realistic for me. I did not have a good-paying job lined up after graduation, and I hadn’t had the time in my senior year to work and save up for a trip like that. More importantly I’d realized that as much as I’d have loved to travel with two of my favorite people, I wanted a different experience out of Australia. I didn’t want to travel as a tourist, I wanted to travel as a local. As with my other travel experiences, they were quite immersive, which is exactly what I was looking for with Australia. To me, the appeal of Australia wasn’t just about the well known, touristy sights to see, but about the lifestyle. So I thought I’ll just move there. Well, at first, this was much easier said than done.
I’d looked at loads of job posts that would advance my CV, thinking I could satisfy the unrealistic American expectation of having a career-oriented job straight out of college, while also feeding my craving for travel. I sent out a few applications from which I never heard back. When I looked up the logistics and probability (very low) of some of these companies hiring me while only on a work/holiday visa, I became very discouraged. Throw on top of that having to find a place to live and being able to pay for rent and groceries and living life in general— it was exhausting and way too much to think about and attempt to organize when I was busy trying to finish school.
I mentioned Australia to a friend from school and received a text message from her one day with a link to The Stir Experience website. I realized it couldn’t be more perfect. I hadn’t even thought about taking advantage of all of the babysitting and nannying experience I had. I have been babysitting since I was 13 years old for my younger cousins and neighbors. As I got older I was given more responsibilities with the children (younger in age, more children at once, etc.). In addition to many random babysitting gigs over the last nine or so years, I have become part of a few different families as a full-time babysitter/nanny. While I had never lived with any of the families, I often worked full days. I have always been grateful for the opportunity to be welcomed into a family and trusted with helping to raise, nurture, and love the children as if they were my own.
Nannying has always been a great way to earn money, but staying in New York, in my parents’ house, living a life similar to how I lived in high school, did not appeal to me. Au pairing in Australia would provide me with everything I was looking for: food and shelter; a way to make money; a long term experience in a country I’ve always dreamt of visiting; and an organization to help me get here and keep me safe and happy during my stay.
Overall, I hoped that this experience would bring new opportunities to meet new people and experience a new way of life. I don’t have a plan for my future career-wise or location-wise. All I know is that I want to live a life that is full of sunshine, love, nature, knowledge, and happiness. And let me tell you, my time in Australia so far has been doing EXACTLY that :)