Travel: Saying Farewell to Australia – Part 1

Type ‘travel’ into Google and you will be accosted by entire blogs,
websites, online communities, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter
accounts dedicated to the experience of travelling. You will find
journals written by students taking a gap year abroad or a path-weary
explorer sharing tips and destinations, photographs cover every
location from Mexico to Malaysia, Russia to Uluru and beyond into
villages or tribes you never knew existed.While the thrill of venturing out into the world and
visiting this place or that is enough for some, other people find
themselves wanting more and decide to stay, permanently.

With immigration out of Australia so high its begs the question, why
are so many Australians choosing to live abroad? It seems as though
everywhere we look Australia is welcoming new citizens and exchange
students, It is home to such cultural diversity. We are aware
of traditions, beliefs and ethnicities from across the globe but
evidently, we are lacking something. While many of us toy with the
fantasy of running away to some faraway places and starting all over
again, absorbing new cultures, meeting new people and seeing new and
exciting places, is it really as wonderful or as easy as it seems?

A study by the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship
found that between 2010 and 2011 88,461 Australians left the country
permanently. Of this number 45.6 % of Australian born travellers left
for the United Kingdom, United States of America or New Zealand. 9.4%
departed for Singapore, 5.8% for Hong Kong and 5.2% towards the United
Arab Emirates. Working and studying abroad is more achievable now than
ever before. The Commonwealth Youth Mobility Scheme is an initiative
set up between Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Monaco, the UK,
Taiwan and Korea where adults aged 18 to 30 can apply for a two year
working visa in one of the participating countries, although there is
a limited amount of allocated spaces each year.

Travelling has become a right of passage into adulthood, a journey of
discovery and spiritual awakening; something once described as a
recreational activity has now grown into a culture all of its own.
Trekking to new continents and witnessing the beauty of faraway
countries was once limited to those with fat wallets. Time has
produced budget travel and opportunities for those of us less
financially endowed. Websites such as sky scanner.com or webjet.com
are designed especially to find flights for you, scanning sales and
offers from airlines the world over. It isn’t surprising
that six million Australians are travelling overseas a year, almost
30% of the population are holidaying away from home. While the
strength of the Australian dollar and the dropping price tag of
travelling is a plausible argument, it certainly isn’t the whole
explanation.

Bianca moved from Australia to Georgia, USA in January 2010 and found
living out of a suitcase was the least of her woes. “It was hard moving
away as I had never moved away from home before. It was hard living
out of a suitcase not having a lot of things, having to buy everything
that I needed. Without a job I ran out of money pretty fast.” Bianca
moved to the United States [of America] for love, she met her
now-husband in Australia while he was travelling but he had to return
home for university, so six months later when Bianca graduated she
moved. She says that while Georgia is a college town mostly populated
with students, it has afforded her opportunities she would otherwise
been unable to find at home in Australia. “After a while, I was
offered a job as assistant manager of a restaurant and have now
progressed to become the general manager. We have also had the
opportunity to buy a house and renovate it at a price that at home
wouldn’t be possible.”

Bianca describes Athens, Georgia as primarily based around the
University of Georgia (UGA), a town very focused around arts, music,
football and most of all, partying. “(Georgia) recently just lost its
number one position as the biggest party town in the USA.” Interesting
considering the town is roughly the size of Launceston, Tasmania.
“There are good things about the US like how cheap things are and the
larger variety in products, but I much prefer the sights and culture
of Australia.” During her time abroad Bianca says most of the talkback
radio she has heard leads her to believe the general population don’t
like the US government, or where the country is headed. “it’s a
lifestyle based around convenience, food and stores and its very hard
to get a job in this country, it’s made me realise how important it is
to work hard to keep my job.” While she says living in Georgia has
provided her with a home and a great job doing something new and
different, she still misses her friends and family, something many
people forget while country-hopping.

Stay tuned for the second instalment, next Tuesday

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