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A recap of my first few years travelling written in early 2013:
It all started on 1st January 2010 when I decided I wasn’t going to spend another uneventful summer in England. I typed ‘working holidays’ into Google and working at a summer camp in America appeared.
America had always seemed so far away and having only visited places in Europe before, this seemed like an amazing destination. So that same day I applied on the Camp Leaders website and 5 months later I was flying to North Carolina to spend 3 months working at a Summer Camp teaching western horse riding followed by 4 weeks of visiting the places you see on TV- Miami, NYC and L.A.. the travel bug had bit.
After 2 slightly expensive holidays in 2011 going to Marbella and Las Vegas, I booked an around the world ticket to Thailand, Australia and finishing in San Francisco before returning home.
I flew to Bangkok in November 2011 not knowing what to expect, after all from what I can remember I only booked a flight there because i knew that everyone who was on their way to Australia went there.
Everyone at home couldn’t believe I was going on my own, except for those who had travelled before (I understand this now, going alone is the best thing you can do) I arrived at Khao San Road at 6pm and was completely amazed by the people, the lights and how narrow it was! When I look back I think how naive I was, I had a suitcase, within 2 minutes I knew I had to buy a backpack instead and so I left my nice new suitcase in a hostel room in Bangkok and left for the islands with a backpack which I loathed so many times over the following year but also thanked so many times.
I headed to the islands and did Thailand how it should be done- the random friends, buckets and of course a full moon party followed by the longest/sickest journey to Singapore for my flight to Melbourne. Thailand changed my outlook completely and even though I spent just less than 4 weeks there I fell in love with Asia.
When I got to Melbourne I was lucky enough to stay with a friend I had met at my summer camp so I got to see a Christmas and New Year Aussie style- a BBQ and days spent chilling by her pool. However this didn’t really last for the rest of the year like I thought it would do.
I got a job doing telemarketing, I got this job alongside about 40 other backpackers, god knows how I managed 10 weeks there but it got me by and I fell for Melbourne.
Another girl I had met at my summer camp in America lived in New Zealand so I booked a flight to Auckland. She and her friend picked me up at the airport which was followed by a very drunken St Patricks night in the city. We then road tripped down the North Island to Wellington which is where she had to leave to go home and I flew to Queenstown which stunned me as soon as we landed, it was the most gorgeous place I’d seen where the pictures from my camera just couldn’t do it any justice.
After New Zealand i returned to Australia and me and housemates from Melbourne headed to Cairns to start our 3 months regional work so we could get our second year working visa.
We got a jobs on banana farms and lived in a working hostel in Innisfail or Innisjail as we liked to call it. I once saw a comment on a website about regional work and it said it would be the best 3 months of your life. I remember lying in my hostel bed (which we did a lot of as the banana season wasn’t good) and thinking this is definitely not the best 3 months of my life. However the irony is when I look back I miss that we didn’t have any responsibilities, we didn’t have any stress (apart from the typical money worry as I thought we would be earning and saving a lot of money which didn’t exactly work out) and our main priority was to get a box of goon for the Friday night hostel antics. I miss those 3 months now.
After i’d endured my 3 months, I left and went to Darwin in July, I’d heard that the wages were high, there were plenty of jobs and it was very hot. 2 out of the 3 were right, unfortunately there weren’t many jobs by the time I got there and Darwin was a mass of Irish backpackers by mid-winter so I changed my plans and flew down to a (very cold in comparison) Sydney.
Everyone said that you either love Melbourne or you love Sydney.. so on arrival in Sydney I kept an open mind because I had loved Melbourne. I stayed in 2 hostels in Sydney, both had infested cockroach kitchens (they say Sydney has cockroaches and Melbourne has mice which I found to be true) however by this point didn’t bother me which was funny because if I’d seen this 8 months ago I would have freaked out! I ended up living in a hostel in Kings cross for about 10 weeks and got a job at a call centre, this was ‘means to an end ‘ job and because I could see the end before I’d even started I was happy with it. And although I had a lot of fun in Sydney I knew that Melbourne was for me!
Last on my trip was the East Coast. I’d been hearing stories about this all year so when it came to going into Peterpans to book it I knew exactly where I wanted and didn’t want to go! Although I had wanted to do the East Coast earlier on in my trip, I find everything works itself out best in the end and this is a perfect example, the weather was good by October and it was a nice end to my trip, I couldn’t imagine my last days in Australia working in a call centre.
The highlight of the trip was definitely Fraser Island, I love a bit of history and the history we got told about the Aboriginals was extremely interesting.. and unfair.
After my last stop- Bryon Bay I got the overnight coach back to Sydney. It was strange arriving back into Sydney as I realized I had never once returned anywhere apart from home.
The next day I caught my flight to LA and then onto San Francisco. I didn’t have any expectations of San Francisco but I was looking forward to going back to America for the third time in 3 years, I felt a personal sense of achievement considering on 1st January 2010 America as I said seemed so far away and only what you see on TV.
Although I loved San Francisco I was slightly disappointed about that Big American feeling I got…because I didn’t get it. From this I have come to the conclusion I can put America to rest for a few years.
After returning home for a few months and spending christmas at home, I’m excited to be heading back to Australia for my second year and hopefully travel more of South East Asia after that!
I’m Ellie Quinn!
I’m a travel addict who has been travelling on and off since 2010. In the Summer of 2018 I quit my office job in London, left my flat and I now travel and blog full time! Yes, I’m living that dream!
NOV-DEC: PROBABLY INDONESIA
If you want to join or read more about the details of the group tour.