Our First Week in Sydney, Australia

After a year of planning, saving, and waiting, we have finally arrived in Australia!  While this week has not gone “according to plan” (a silly concept in general), it has been full of incredible experiences and lessons to be learned. We are so happy to be here!

Our first look at Australia!

We quickly learned that Sydney is a very diverse city with travelers, students, and workers from all over the world. The employees in the establishments we enter often represent different nationalities. No matter where you are from in the world, it’s easy to find your own local cuisine, making Sydney feel like home down under. Besides Australians, the city has a large Asian community that represents countries such as China, Korea, and Vietnam to name a few. Additionally, we are surrounded by travelers from all over gathering from the UK, Netherlands, France, Germany, Canada, and Finland. Surprisingly, we haven’t come across many other Americans in traveling in Australia so far. It is near impossible to predict the accents that come from the people we interact with as we are surrounded with the music of languages from all over the world and are soaking up this exposure everyday.

A "large" Domino's pizza in Sydney

Our first hostel experience was at Mad Monkey Backpackers in a private room for two days. Located just outside of Sydney CBD (Central Business District) in Chippendale, this location was bustling and vibrant enough for us to start to get a feel of the city. Over the weekend, we traveled out to Parramatta for the Ultra Australia music festival to kick off our working holiday with a party! We stayed in another private room in the Rosehill Hotel which was very similar to a hostel in that the guests shared bathrooms. Upon our return into the downtown region of Sydney, we moved into Rooftop Travellers Lodge hostel located in Glebe. This neighborhood is a little quieter and low key, perfect for more long term hostel residents. We transitioned into a more traditional hostel experience in a shared room with two roommates that were total strangers to us at first. We are extremely fortunate and ended up with some of the nicest, laid back, most accommodating roommates that either of us have ever lived with! One is a local Aussie, the other is a British gal who has been in the country on her working holiday visa for 14 months. Both have tons of valuable advice and wonderful stories to share with us to help us along our journey.

Ultra Australia music festival in Parramatta, Sydney

In addition to some exploring of the city, we have had to take care of a few logistics to help us get settled into our new life abroad. All the fun of filing for an Australian tax number, setting up a new bank account, transferring our savings from America, and filling out job applications has mostly consumed a large part of our first week. While being in a new country is exciting and full of limitless opportunities, it has also shown us how important it is to build your foundation to grow from, rather than dive headfirst into everything at once.

It is eye opening to look back and reflect on how much has changed for us in one week. We have made so many new, unexpected friends in such a short amount of time. These connections have helped us, encouraged us, and slowed us down a little. At first, we were determined to get out of Sydney due to the expense of living and our eagerness to meet up with some of Will’s friends from New Zealand who are arriving in Brisbane (north of Sydney) soon. The reality of our situation is that carrying all of your possessions on your back and moving frequently is exhausting. Try combining that with figuring your way around a strange, new city while establishing residency and scrambling to buy a van with no income to replenish your hard earned savings. As you can probably guess, this left us very frustrated, discouraged, and very insecure with what the heck we are doing.

The view from the top of Rooftop Traveller's Hostel

Now that the end of the week has approached and some tears have been shed, we have decided to slooooow down and take things one step at a time. One year is a long time. Two years is even longer. We have the time, so we need to find patience and get grounded. Now that we feel good in our hostel with better roommates than we could ever ask for, we are taking the time to establish new routines and redefine our expectations of living in Sydney. Now we are in the process of finding jobs and trying to get a better grasp on what this incredible country truly has to offer us over the coming months and years. Stay tuned for what all comes next, we are excited to share this journey with each and every one of you!

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