[If you’re not familiar with the Partner Visa in Australia, here’s some info: very expensive (~$7000), takes a long time to process (~24 month waiting times), very invasive (government need ALL of your info: texts, emails, travel over the last 10 years, parents details), and very very mentally taxing. ]
Guys, let talk. I have moved every 12-18 months for the last 5 years and, let me tell you, that is a hard streak to break.
These moves aren’t just because I have a timer on my phone that says RING RING TIME TO MOVE! I am compelled. it’s not my choice. My body cant stay still, but here I am, about to hit 15 months in Australia and I haven’t bought a runaway flight yet.
Here is a list of some things I have tried and am going to try to help me keep this travel bug at bay (at least until I get my PR). Enjoy!
Take Advantage of Your Location
This is my go-to for every place that I travel. Every country, city and town has something that is unique to it. Even if you have moved to a place that you don’t like, if you look hard enough, you can find something worth seeing.
A quick google search will give you some ideas: “Best places to visit in Bangkok”, “Things you must see in Nashville”, “Don’t miss these attractions in Singapore!”. Find someone who is writing about a place they love and it will help you see it through their eyes.
I don’t know about you, but when someone is passionate about something, that energy almost always get me a little excited about what they are talking about.
After my initial horrible first year in Australia, I started asking people (who LOVE Australia) what they find particularly awesome about living here and what I should see. I received some amazing feedback. They love the cafe culture, the healthcare, work-life balance, vacation time, laid-back attitude (Except Sydney and Melbourne), and the focus on family.
That was all right and good, but as a healthy, childless, millennial, all of those practical things didn’t really pull me in. I needed something more exciting.
So, WHERE should I go, WHAT should I see and WHY??
Everyone loved something different about Aus, but the number one response was to go out and see every natural wonder.
googles Australian natural wonders…
The Great Barrier Reef, Uluru, The great ocean road, swimming with whale sharks in Perth..
The list goes on and on. When you hear why others love living and travelling in that country, you can gain some of their passion and that can definitely help stave off the jet-setting jitters.
Gather intel, make a list and then..
Making a list of awesome places in Australia is cool and all, but if don’t actually go and see these places, then I have wasted paper and my time.
This is the most important step and the one, that if I had nothing else, could keep me sane-enough to ride out this wild ride.
Make some dang plans! Get a calendar, calculate how many days vacation you have and can use and start filling that baby in. Do you only have enough money to go on weekend trips? Great! Camping is a great way to see a lot of the natural wonders around us and equipment can be found cheap online or even borrowed if you know people in the area.
These plans can even be to save money and buy one piece of equipment at a time. This makes things like camping even more enjoyable, because the grind to gather all the materials kept you engaged in the activity for weeks to months ahead of time.
Maybe a weekend trip is a bit much and too far away. Look up funky cafes, restaurants and bars in the area and go try their signature cocktail or coffee. Matt and I even make plans to drive out of town to eat at Taco Bell to keep things interesting.
Plans dont need to be expensive, time intensive or grand. They just need to be something that you know you will enjoy.
So, get out there, explore and maybe, find a buddy.
Life is easier with a partner. I dont necessarily even mean a romantic partner. Sure, that would be dope, because they can (usually) easily be dragged to everything you love, but girl/guy friends are just as important.
There are facebook meetup groups for every walk of life and every age. Get on them. Join.
I am not going to sit on here and say that I chat up eery person on the ‘Girls Sydney Meetup” Facebook page. But, when I first arrived I did meet up with some girls that ended up being really cool and kept me busy.
We would schedule coffee dates, go out for drinks, and plan coastal walk trip we have been eyeing. Meeting them gave me something to do amidst my unemployment (see: here) and it gave Matt and I some alone time. This alone time benefited us greatly, because we were starting to lose our individual identity and that isn’t good for anyone.
Girl time also gave me time to complain endlessly to someone that was going through a similar situation. It also gave me a chance to hear someone else’s struggles and see how they were coping with this new life they were dropped into. Matt doesn’t like to hear any Australia bashing and I get that, because I can (sometimes) take things too far. So I took my complaining elsewhere.
This ties in well with connecting. Once you start talking to some people in your area, this is the perfect time to let off a little steam. Complaining to your partner, coworker or family can feel good, but can cause some tension after a while.
I recommend finding a like-minded friend, someone that is going through the same situation as you and LET.IT.OUT.
I felt so confined when I got here, because I couldn’t complain to Matt, because I could see it was hurting him. He felt guilty that I felt so bad and that wasn’t my intention. I know that coming here was my choice and I am willing to tough it out, but that doesn’t mean that I love everything about this place.
Some people will telly you to keep a positive attitude and “look on the bright side” and thats great, but that isn’t something that I can maintain. I cant just keep smiling and act like everything is peachy. So, I bitch.
And let me tell you, It HELPED. I would meet with some girlfriends once a week and we would start by venting about what happened that week, how horrible this visa process is, what they are doing to cope and then we would actually end up talking about things that we liked and were looking forward to doing.
I would come home to Matt feeling lighter and much more clear-headed simply because I was able to get everything off my chest.
Find some peeps and get to complaining. Trust me, it’ll help 🙂
At the end of the day, this is all we have. If nothing else works, acceptance is what I fall back on. It was the hardest thing for me to accomplish, but made the most difference.
I committed to coming to Australia and going through this crazy stressful Partner Visa. Why? Because I wanted to be with Matt. That hasn’t changed, our circumstances haven’t changed, nothing has changed. I still want that more than anything. Our relationship is what is most important to me.
To accomplish this, I have to accept that Australia is where we are living right now, like it or not. I can be upset, complain and cry about it or I can accept it.
Accepting isn’t giving up or settling. It is acknowledging that there are things that must be done to have what you want or be where you want to be in your life.
I often hear my parents voices saying, “sometimes you gotta do things you dont like, thats life”. They were right. There are things in life that we dont always like, but the payoff is so great that it keeps you going.
That is what keeps me looking for jobs, learning new skills, accepting a new culture, giving the government alllllll of our money and gathering “evidence” when all I want to do is spend time with Matt.
It’s worth it in the end, but damn does it suck now.
If you are currently trying to get a visa to stay with your partner, know that you are not alone. There are people all over the world crying with you! We are all just waiting on our golden ticket.
How is everyone coping with the quarantine situation? I have broken out the watercolours and just bought an embroidery kit. This apartment is about ti become a homestead!
Thanks for reading! Stay safe 🙂