When I signed up to be an Au Pair I kept hearing the same thing said over and over again. “Do not fall in love over there…”
Well, I can assure you that it was in no way, shape, or form the plan to fall in love abroad. However, “when it happens, it just happens” so they say right? It was a movie moment for sure. I was out dancing around in Coolangatta with my girl Rachel before she moved away. We were dancing our hearts out to “Closer” by the Chainsmokers
*FULL ON JAM SESSION *
“I know it breaks your heart
Moved to the city in a broke down car
And four years, no calls
Now you’re looking pretty in a hotel bar”
And just like that, I looked over and locked eyes with a cutie. I quickly looked at Rachel and mentioned how cute he was. Next thing I know, I look over and he came right up to me! I was like, ummmm really? This only happens in movies right? I am guessing the liquid courage had a little something to do with it but I can’t complain. We danced and danced until he had to leave, but he was sure to get my name and number before he left. Not even 5 minutes later he texted me about going to grab ice cream the next night and we have been together ever since.
I know, I know. Everyone told me “don’t fall in love over there” but I can’t help it! He was there for me when a ton of stuff happened while I was Au Pairing. And then I left. After helping me move out of host families TWICE, I vanished just like that. Headed back to the US for the holidays with no return ticket. What was supposed to be a month gone turned to two, and he honestly lost faith at one point if I’d ever make it back. I knew that I had to go back. (Not just for him, but for me) There is just something about Australia and Billy that makes me happier than I have ever been.
Even though we don’t have much money to travel with right now since we now have rent to worry about, we are enjoying what is around us. The sun, the beach, long car rides to nowhere etc. I am having an amazing time living in a beautiful place with amazing people.
The hardest part for me is being away from my family but I know that I will return soon. Right now, I am happy to be in love in a beautiful part of the world working online as a freelancer and babysitting on the side. The plan? Well, I am just going to keep going with the flow and exploring all that Australia has to offer. (Even if it’s just the Gold Coast/Northern NSW region for now.)
Catch ya later!
P.S I’d love to hear anyone else’s Found Love While Traveling Stories
Upon arriving in Australia, I knew that there were going to be some words that I didn’t quite recognize or understand the meaning to. I’ve compiled a list of some of the most used Australian Slang to help other travelers avoid the strange looks that I was so fortunate to receive.
Australia is definitely a unique place to be, but Aussies always know how to put a smile on my face. Post in the comments and tell me of any funny stories involving mixed up words/slang errors during your travels!
The news definitely came as a surprise to my parents when they first heard my idea of becoming an Au Pair in Australia. Finding out that after five long years of earning my degrees in Hospitality and Event Management, I’d be leaving my full-time job at an amazing 5 Diamond Resort in Orlando to become a “nanny” gave them a bit of a shock. There were a lot of questions for me regarding this decision and I am sure that I am not the only Au Pair out there who had to answer them over and over again before I finally took my flight to Oz.
So, why did I decide to become an au pair in Australia? I have decided to be an au pair for two simple reasons:
1. I wanted to go to Australia but had no money.
That’s right, I said it. For as long I can remember I have dreamed of visiting Australia to swim in the Great Barrier Reef. It has been on the top of every bucket list I have ever made and has always been the #1 place I wanted to visit before I die. When I came home for my graduation party I found a journal from 10th grade and even in that, I mentioned how Australia was where I would want to go to on my dream vacation.I made the decision to go to Australia now versus later because I want to take my good old time exploring all that Australia has to offer and that couldn’t be done on a two-week vacation.
So instead, I am taking six months to live with a family on the beautiful Gold Coast and experience Oz thoroughly. From kissing Koalas and Kangaroos to diving with sharks, I want to see and do it all before I leave. And believe me, I will!Working as an Au Pair you do not make a ton of money. You also do not spend a ton of money thanks to the family taking care of all housing and most food expenses (My daily $5 coffee splurge is the biggest expense currently beside my adventures).
This has been key for me in making the most out of this experience. I have created a budget for myself that will allow me to travel each month to somewhere new and exciting. This month I am going to Byron Bay for three days with my new friend Rachel from Wales. In October I am going to visit my high school friend Alexa who is an Au Pair in Melbourne currently. Before I leave I am going to also visit P. Sherman 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney and finally Cairns where I will live my dream and swim in the Great Barrier Reef!
2. I want to take time to myself
I have always been one to put others dreams, and happiness, about my own. Do not get me wrong, I have had a wonderful 23 years of my life so far however over the past five/ten/fifteen years, I have over programmed myself with countless activities. In high school it started with ice skating, band, choir, drama, Interact Club, Mock Trial and more. At UCF I had the opportunity to be a part of the LEAD Scholars program which was incredible and opened my eyes to many amazing organizations that I became a part of while studying and working internships each semester.
I do not for one minute regret being super involved in college because I truly had the time of my life and I owe it all to Chi Omega, LEAD Scholars, Late Knights, and Knight-Thon. My final semester was the busiest five months I had ever had in my life. I was working full time at the Four Seasons at Walt Disney World, finishing my final courses for graduation, and volunteering 12-20 hours a week as the Community Outreach Manager for Knight-Thon where I oversaw 12 Directors and Coordinators as part of a team that raised $1 Million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
Being busy doesn’t bother me, however, I know that it took a toll on me and my health both mentally and physically in the last few months. I was stressed and anxious constantly as I literally ran from work to school to sorority meeting to dance marathon meeting to school and back again the next day. It was insane. But I did it and I am damn proud of everything that I have accomplished.
Now, however, I have decided to hit pause. I am hitting pause because my degrees, connections, and experiences are not going anywhere; and when I get back to the US I can easily hit play and continue living out my career aspirations. For now, I am hitting pause in Australia, somewhere new and exciting that I can adventure through on my own time and at my own pace.
I basically have from 9:30a until 2:00p every day plus Monday and Tuesdays free to do whatever I want in addition to evenings that I have been spending with my new friends. So far, many of my days have been spent finding new delicious coffee spots and reading on Burleigh Hill which has become my favorite spot so far in Australia.
Overall, I am so unbelievably happy with my decision to hit pause and become an Au Pair in Australia. For me, this is a once in a lifetime experience and I am going to make the very most out of it. When my time here is finished, I can check it off my list and put a new place on my bucket list 🙂
I made it out of the house today!
Walking down the hill from the house to the beach felt like I was finally stepping out of the comfort zone that I made for myself at the Cooney’s home. I made my way straight over to a coffee shop called Nook Espresso and got a cup of Mocha that I could sip while watching the ocean for a while.
Burleigh Point is such a lovely area. I am sure that it will be my favorite spot to lay out and get my daily dose of Vitamin D. Nothing compares to laying on the grass while listening to the sound of the waves breaking on the shore.
I am absolutely in love with Burleigh. Everyone is so friendly and the coffee is delicious. The thing that has me head over heals is its’ natural beauty. I am so excited to live and breath in such a peaceful place and tranquil place.
So here I am. Sitting at gate 32 waiting for my flight to come. I am surrounded by kids screaming that I hope I won’t be sitting around for the next 6 hours as I make my way to LAX. Finding the terminal was a serious struggle for me and my dad today. Fun Fact: Newark doesn’t have a place for Virgin Australia, just Virgin America.
Anyways, I am excited right now. I am also nervous. I am also really starting to feel the weight of my decision to spend the next 6 months 15,900+ miles from everything and everyone I have ever known.
It’s still pretty surreal to me that it is actually happening. For now, I am just going to relax as much as I can, grab a bite to eat and then take off in phase one of my trip to Oz. P.S. Children’s Miracle Network and the Make-A-Wish Foundation are clearly following me since there are ads for both around my gate.