Dear girls of the world: Come and find yourself in Australia!

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Dear girls of the world,

13 months ago I came to Australia alone and heartbroken, and my experiences in this country have empowered and strengthened me beyond belief. It is not just Australia’s great wages and breath taking beauty (and wonderful people!) that have won my heart, but it is the enchanting experiences and adventures I have had too. Experiences that have liberated, inspired and changed me forever.

I have journeyed solo around this great country since November 2013, and learnt that I can turn my hand to just about anything. I have worked as a cow girl mustering 20,000 cattle in the bush, I have driven across the outback alone, I have learnt to kite surf, I have learnt how to milk goats and make organic cheese, I have made hundreds of friends, I have tended bar on tropical paradise islands and in dusty mining towns, I have become reconnected to the earth, and I have completely changed my diet and outlook on health. I now live a life tied to the ocean and to being outdoors, and I have never been so happy, or so healthy, in my life.

But Australia is too generic and expensive, right?

When deciding where to travel and how to budget it can be very daunting. Perhaps you want to ‘find yourself’ (who doesn’t?) and believe that this needs to happen somewhere way off the beaten track, or perhaps you believe countries like Australia will be far too expensive and largely generic. But I want to encourage you that your first / next destination does not need to be somewhere wildly non-western, remote, un-developed or culturally different from your homeland. I also want to encourage you that you should never listen to stereotypes and just assume a country will be out of your price range or lacking cultural depth, simply because it is wealthy and developed.

Originally from the UK, I have been travelling and working abroad for almost four years now, and Australia (the sixth country I have lived and worked in) is the one that has captured my heart so very powerfully. It has changed me beyond belief, and I have managed to save an incredible amount of money through very simple work here. I, a little English girl from the sprawling greyness of London’s extensive suburbs, have found myself in the most beautiful of situations and surrounded by the most enchanting of people; and yet 13 months ago I came here alone, heartbroken, and with only 1000 to my name.

So allow me to tell you 3 reasons why I think Australia is the ideal travel destination for the solo female traveller…

The Money

Once you have worked 20,000 cattle in the bush for 2 months, you'll be tough enough for anything

If you work, you will have the capacity to save a lot of money, and your wages will far exceed the cost of living. This year, on the Working Holiday Visa, I have worked a huge variety of jobs (mostly hospitality and farming), which were very easy to come by, and I managed to save around $7000 in just a few months to fund my next adventure. I bought my first ever car after only a month of bar work- a 4wd which I filled with free spirits and drove across the outback- and I have had so much left over after paying my rent and bills that I have been able to take up several new sports, enjoy a very nice lifestyle, and save like a mad-woman. With a little savy-ness, and a lot of hard work, you can do VERY well in Australia, and you can absolutely fund your next adventure far easier than any other country I have worked in- especially the UK.

Of course, not all countries will qualify for the Working Holiday Visa, but do not be deterred. If you are unable to work, you can volunteer in exchange for your food and board, and essentially just WWOOF (stands for Willing Workers on Organic Farms) your way around Australia. There is an extensive volunteer network over here, enabling those that cannot utilise the Working Holiday Visa to still experience Australia at a fraction of the cost. There are great resources available for home-stays, work-aways, labour exchanges etc, and these experiences will show you the REAL Australia.

You may find yourself out in the bush helping an Australian family run their goat dairy (this was one of my most rewarding experiences), or you may find yourself processing coconuts on a remote tropical island (I lived here for 2.5 months completely for free).The options really are limitless, and such opportunities can easily be found in the cities too if that’s more your thing.

The Beauty

Appreciating the beauty of life in Tasmania

From the mountains, to the bush, to the beach, to the rainforest, to the dessert, to the lakes, to the rolling hills, to the baked red wastelands, and everything in between, Australia really does have it all. She is breathtakingly beautiful, and once out of the citites, this beauty is mostly all yours.

For me, this year has been a very powerful, almost spiritual experience, as I have reconnected with the earth and embraced the raw beauty of mother nature. I live a life tied to the ocean now, tied to being outdoors and appreciating the simple pleasure of sand between my toes and sun on my face.

For large swathes of this year I relied on nothing except my 4wd and my sense of adventure. Bikini clad and empowered, I accelerated off into the intoxicating freedom of the open road. I switched off my phone, I left the city lights behind, and I swam with dolphins as the sunset, after off-roading through remote sand-dunes to deserted beaches. To experience life this way, in all its simple beauty, changes you forever. Indeed, this land is sacred, it is ancient, and it has a very powerful energy about it… come and let it empower you, girls. Come and find yourself in the bush, in the ocean, up a mountain, under the stars. You CAN do these things.

The Adventure

Paradise can be free... I volunteered on tropical Cocos Island's for 2.5 months

Socially, Australia’s culture is completely geared to getting outside, to embracing that leisure time, and for me this has been utterly life changing- physically, emotionally, and yes, even spiritually. How else can I say it- there are some seriously good vibes over here! It is an adventurers dreams come true!

Not only have I lost an incredible amount of weight- I am the fittest and healthiest I have ever been — but I am surrounded by beautiful people pursuing similar interests too, and this is incredibly uplifting.

I hike, I surf, I kite, I run, I camp in the bush, I climb mountains, I cycle the coast, I swim in lakes and gorges and rivers, and I have spent endless nights around campfires looking up at the most beautiful of starry nights. Where once I was unfit and uncomfortable in my own skin, I now live in my bikini; a picture of healthy tanned contentment, a girl of the beach. A girl ready for any challenge.Having the space and financial freedom to peruse new hobbies is about more than just playtime though; it is about challenging yourself to improve, about pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and never giving up. Learning to kite surf has been one of the hardest challenges of my life, and I relish it for that very reason. I now know I can achieve just about anything if I work hard enough, put the hours in and surround myself with positive energy.So girls, do not write Australia off as too expensive and too ‘normal’… it could just change your life the way it has mine! The wages, the beauty, and the adventure make this a destination that should be on every girl’s list.

Love,
Mel
who is currently couch-surfing and kite-surfing her way up Australia’s Gold Coast

A thrill seeker and marketing graduate originally from the UK, Melissa Elderfield has been a full-time digital nomad since 2011: she works abroad, she travels and then she shares her adventures online to inspire others to do the same. Mustering cattle in the outback, tending bar on tropical islands, ski seasons in the French Alps, a summer season in Croatia, yacht work in Turkey, summer camps in the USA, festival work in the UK and volunteer work all over the world… Mel can turn her hand to just about anything to stay on the road. When not planning her next adventure, she can probably be found surfing the waves, hiking a mountain, dancing till sunrise or face-planting from her kite-board. Follow her blog: ifyouwannagojustgo.com

Comments

  • September 30, 2015

    I LOVE this series. And Mel, you are a rockstar. I loved getting to know you and I hope we can have some adventures together sometime.

    reply

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P.S. I'm On My Way is a blog by Trisha Velarmino. She didn't
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