Expat Focus Interview

This is my interview from Expat Focus  

Tuesday June 27, 2017

Katee Blizzard Expat Solopreneur Virtual Assistant

Who are you?

Hello! My name is Katee Blizzard and I am an American who is in the process of moving abroad to Australia.

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

I came to Australia back in August 2016 to work as an Au Pair in Burleigh Heads, QLD Australia for what was supposed to be just 4 months.

During that time I accidentally fell in love with not only the country but an Aussie. Since then, I have moved down to the Tweed Coast to live with my boyfriend where we are in the process of applying for the Partner Visa.

What challenges did you face during the move?

Since moving to Australia I have found it hard to make friends that weren’t transient. The people I met at first were from all over the world and only here on Work/Holiday Visas which meant many goodbyes unfortunately. (Luckily I have places to stay all over Europe now)

Are there many other expats in your area?

I have only met a handful of expats so far but I am hoping that I can meet some more using the Expat Focus Forums.

What do you like about life where you are?

I love the attitude of everyone in Australia. No one takes things too seriously which makes life here a lot more easy going compared to back in the US.

What do you dislike about your expat life?

I definitely miss my friends and family from back “home”. Although, I don’t miss being there, I just wish they were here with me.

What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?

I love that the people here are paid a living wage and tipping isn’t needed because of this. I feel like everyone has a good work ethic and enjoy what they do for the most part making all of the people I have encountered extremely happy and easy going.

What do you think of the food and drink in your new country? What are your particular likes or dislikes?

I still can’t quite get into having beets on burgers or vegemite but I have started to love Chicken Salt and Pavlova! I’ve noticed most places in Australia are way healthier and smaller portioned than the US which has definitely made me have a healthier lifestyle.

What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?

Follow your heart. For me, it was pretty spur of the moment and my life changed in what seems like the blink of an eye. I truly have never been so happy in my life which makes the hard times easier knowing that once all of the paperwork and waiting is done, I can relax and enjoy this gorgeous country.

What are your plans for the future?

I am headed back to the US in August for a bit for my best friend’s wedding and to see my family again but when I return, I will be submitting the paperwork for my partnership visa meaning I will be waiting at least 12 months before returning. My plan is to continue working as a Virtual Assistant so that I can travel to see my family as often as possible since they miss me so much. I am also hoping to grow my blog to help Travelers and Au Pairs make the most of their time in Australia by providing them with the best deals for each destination!

Would you like to share your experience of life abroad with other readers?

Answer the questions here to be featured in an interview!

Australia Visa Resources to Get You To Oz

Australia Visa Resources to Get You To Oz

Get the Australia Visa that is Right for You!

So, you are looking to come visit Australia! Let me help you decide what Visa looks right for you. As an American coming to work as an Au Pair I utilized the Work and Holiday Visa ( Subclass 462). I am now in the process of submitting a Partnership Visa request and will post about that process shortly. Feel free to send me any questions you may have. Most of these applications are pretty straightforward but please be prepared to wait a bit for a response. (Don’t apply the night before a flight!)

eVisitor Visa – This visa lets you visit Australia:

  • to visit or for business visitor purposes
  • for up to three months at a time within a 12-month period.
  • This is a free visa.

You might be able to get an eVisitor if you are:

  • outside Australia
  • passport holder of a certain country (Sadly not America)

Visitor Visa – This visa lets you visit Australia:

  • to visit or for business visitor purposes
  • for up to three, six or 12 months.

The base application charge for this visa ranges from AUD135 to AUD1000.


You might be able to get this visa if you are traveling to Australia:

  • as a visitor
  • for business visitor activities
  • to visit family
  • on a tour with a registered travel agent from the People’s Republic of China.

Work and Holiday Visa (462)– This visa lets you work and travel Australia:

 This visa is for young people who want to holiday and work in Australia for up to a year.

You might be able to get this visa if you:

  • are at least 18 but not yet 31 years of age
  • do not have a dependent child accompanying you at any time during your stay in Australia
  • have a passport from an eligible country.

You might be able to get this visa if you:

  • are at least 18 but not yet 31 years of age
  • don’t have a dependent child with you at any time during your stay in Australia
  • have a passport from:
    • Argentina, Bangladesh, Chile, China, People’s Republic of, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, USA, Uruguay, Vietnam

Working Holiday Visa (417)– This visa lets you work and travel Australia:

This visa is for young people who want to holiday and work in Australia for up to a year.



You might be able to get this visa if you:

  • are at least 18 but not yet 31 years of age
  • do not have a dependent child accompanying you at any time during your stay in Australia
  • have a passport from an eligible country. (listed here)

I hope this list of resources has helped you decide which is right for your trip to Oz.

Keep in mind that for each of these visas, it is crucial to have Travel Insurance for unexpected cancellations and incidents. Thank goodness for Allianz because I fell down the steps while I was working as an Au Pair and landed in the hospital with a sprained ankle. All fees were completely covered!



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It Wasn’t My Plan to Fall in Love

It Wasn’t My Plan to Fall in Love

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


“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


5 Sites for Cheap Flights to Australia and Beyond

5 Sites for Cheap Flights to Australia and Beyond

Cheap flights are available and I know where to find them.

You know the rumor that getting to Australia is too expensive? Clearly, people didn’t do their research because, with a little help from Google, I found some incredibly cheap flights that have helped make it possible to live my dream of coming to Oz.

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a bit of compensation to help keep my site running! 

Below is a list of sites I have used to get cheap flights to Australia.

1. StudentUniverse.com – This site literally got me to Australia! Nowhere else have I found a cheaper way to travel from Newark, NJ to Brisbane for under $900 thanks to a great promo code that was offered at the time. StudentUniverse also offers Youth fares in addition to student fares. To qualify for Youth fares, you do not need to be in school. You just need to be between the ages of 16 to 25. Since they have more fares available for students, if you are both a youth and a student, register yourself as a student to get the best fares. In addition to flights, they also offer deals on hotels, tours, and travel insurance!

2. SkyScanner.comSkyscanner is great because it offers you an opportunity to see all of the cheapest flights for each day of the month that you are looking to travel. This was perfect for me because I didn’t have a date that I needed to be here by so I was looking for the cheapest deal. It is definitely a top stop to make when searching for your best flight. I just found a round trip flight for $900!

This App Saves my Wallet! Get updates sent to your phone with the Skyscanner App.


3. Jetradar.com– Jetradar is one of the largest online search engines for flights all over the world and it truly faster than any other that I have seen before. Within seconds you will see hundreds of the cheapest flights all over the internet. One of my favorite features is at the bottom of the home page where it shows you the top locations from your location including the prices!

4. Google.com/flights– I have only recently found out about this site thanks to the Girls Love Travel Facebook group but it is pretty amazing! On this site, you can search for flights all over the world while using a map to show all possible flight routes. If you are looking to fly but have no clue of where you’d like to go, this would be a great spot to check out.

5. Skiplagged.com– To me, this is the best site to use if you are not a student and you do not mind traveling light. The developer of this site truly found a way to cheat the system by providing consumers with “hidden city” flights. Just take a look for yourself and you will see how unbelievable the savings can be. Just be sure to read the fine print on everything because some flights do have certain baggage rules.

  1. Planning trips can take a lot of time and effort if you are looking for the right price. Hopefully, my tips will heTravel Protectionlp you get up in the air sooner so you can visit your next travel destination!

  2. Cheers, Katee

P.S. Never forget to purchase Travel Insurance for those unexpected cancellations and incidents. Thank goodness for Allianz because I fell down the steps while I was working as an Au Pair and landed in the hospital with a sprained ankle. All fees were completely covered!


Linking at The Weekly Postcard, Weekend Wanderlust, Travel Photo Thursday, and more!

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Returning Down Under to the Land of Oz

Well, everyone, I am back in the land down under!

I apologize for the hiatus, however, due to unforeseen circumstances, I went home for the holidays to be with my family and regroup.

Short story: I moved into a new families house at the beginning of November and was told after 3 weeks that they no longer needed an Au Pair because they were sending back one of their 2 foster kids… (Yes, I am serious), leaving me stranded with nowhere to go. So instead of worrying about where to be for the holidays, my awesome aunt bought a ticket for me to come home and be with family while I figured out what was next.

Fast forward two months and now I am back in Australia living in Pottsville, New South Wales with my boyfriend Billy! It is a beautiful area right across from the creek and beach. Honestly, I do not know how I got so lucky to be living down under with my best friend. The beauty of this country continues to WOW me every day.  I am still on the hunt for a new (Non-Au Pair) job but I am hopeful that something will come up soon. I’ll try to stay more up to date with my blog now that I have a bit more free time, so stay tuned.

Right now, I am still on the hunt for a new (Non-Au Pair) job but I am hopeful that something will come up soon. Since I have more free time, I’ll try to stay more up to date with my blog, so stay tuned.

Also, if you haven’t already check out my Instagram accounts to keep up with my day to day life in Oz!

Day to Day- https://www.instagram.com/blizzardofoztravels/ @BlizzardofOzTravels

High-Quality Photos- https://www.instagram.com/kateebphotos/ @Kateebphotos

COFFEE!!!- https://www.instagram.com/coffeeofoz/ @CoffeeofOz


5 Days in the Whitsundays for $500

5 Days in the Whitsundays for $500

I found Nemo in the Whitsundays and you can too!

Hamilton Island

(This post contains affiliate links to help you find the best deals for traveling Australia! By clicking on any of the links, you help The Blizzard of Oz to be able to provide content and deals at no added cost to you)

From October 23-27, 2016 I went on an adventure to see one of the most stunning parts of this amazing country. The Whitsunday Islands are something not to be missed by anyone traveling to Oz. It was truly the experience of a lifetime and I highly recommend it to anyone coming to Australia.

It was here that I officially checked off swimming in the Great Barrier Reef and I even found Nemo!!! Even though I traveled there as a solo traveler, I left after making so many incredible friends from all over the world. Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, and Austria just to name a few!

Sailing throughout the Whitsunday Islands has by far been the highlight of my time in Australia so far. It was nerve racking at first knowing that I was traveling all alone, however, once I got there, I knew I would be having the time of my life finally doing what I came to Australia to do.

$500 TOTAL! That is all it took for 5 days in paradise.(This was thanks to an awesome deal with Backpackers World Travel during the slow season!) 

$350: Backpackers World Travel -Whitsundays Sailing Adventures/ Wings 2 (3d/2n) + 2 FREE NIGHTS AT BACKPACKERS HOSTEL!!!! (All meals included on the boat)

$120: Round-Trip Flight: JetRadar  Flight from Brisbane to Proserpine (Airlie Beach)

$30: Alcohol and Hostel Meals!

I’m telling you, whether you are traveling up/down the east coast or an Au Pair looking to take a few days for a quick getaway from the kiddos, this trip is well worth the money! To this day I dream about being back on the boat.

Just look at these photos! Nothing compares to the views of crystal blue oceans and untouched islands surrounding you when you sail through the Whitsundays. Never in my life had I seen so many stars in the sky.



Happy to share with these fabulous blogger communities!

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