The Down Under edition comes to an end

The Down Under edition comes to an end

Nothing in Australia went how I meant it to go. But, then again, I suppose it’s worked out better than I could have imagined. Either way, everyone said it would “change my life” (whatever that’s supposed to mean–doesn’t every day change your life?) and I suppose it has.

View of Luna Park from my apartment in St Kilda, Melbourne, Australia

First, I didn’t plan on staying in any one city for too long (see bucket list item #14). And then I fell hopelessly in love with Melbourne.

I arrived in St Kilda on Friday morning, had a waitressing gig lined up by Friday afternoon and the perfect flat with a beachview balcony by Sunday night. I found a flatmate who I got along with famously: we had not one bout of passive aggressiveness cleaning seshes and our kitchen was always stocked with beer, Vegemite and Milo.

Christine Amorose & Uncle Max at Great Dane, Saturday in Design 2011

Then, I didn’t plan on getting a “real job.” But a friend mentioned that her brother’s awesome Scandinavian furniture company was looking for someone with exactly my experience in marketing and PR, I wanted to be BFFs with my bosses from the minute I walked in the door and, suddenly, I had signed a contract to be back in an office from 9 to 5.

I’m probably the only American in Australia to turn down an offer of sponsorship—and it was a decision that I agonized over for months—but I knew that if I stayed now, I would never leave. That was the hold that Melbourne (and the promise of four weeks vacation a year) had on me.

I was going to work all winter and travel all summer. And then I figured out that Australia’s summer is also its wet season…meaning any hiking trip to the Kimberleys (bucket list item #12 and one of three I wasn’t able to check off) would have been literally rained out.

I thought I would be in Sydney for an epic New Year’s Eve and celebrating Australia Day on St Kilda Beach. I planned on using every single day of my Working Holiday to explore Australia, to not leave until Immigration kicked me out on February 15.

Instead, I’m flying out of Perth on December 31 and waking up to 2012 in Bali (!). I’ll have visited every Australian state (although none of its territories). I got bangs and filled up a closet with Australian-designed goodness and then squeezed my life back into a 15-kilo bag. I maxed out and subsequently emptied an Australian bank account. I haven’t checked everything off my Australia bucket list, but I’ve had adventures I never could have imagined and I’ve given myself a few good reasons to come back.

I have skydived and scuba dived and and surfed and swam in the whitest of white sand beaches. I have sipped champagne at a horse racechugged countless Aussie beers and sampled every Australian dessert I could.

All you need is love, street art in Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia

My address book is now full of Australia postcodes, my photo drive stocked with street art photos and my heart full of memories of cider-soaked Sunday sessions, bundled-up gray days at the MCG, early mornings with a latte and a newspaper.

So, Australia, I suppose this is thank you and good-bye. You’ve managed to feel like the best vacation ever and the sweetest comfort of home at the same time, and that’s no easy feat. I’ll manage to carry myself, but only because I know I’ll be back someday.

Note: There are still plenty of Australia adventures yet to share! 

  • Sad we won’t get a tweet-up for Oz Day or even during our time there in February. But excited and can’t wait to see what’s next for you! Best of luck and safe travels. 

  • So excited to see where your travels will take you in 2012 – but also sad that we now cannot meet for a coffee in St Kilda now I live here 🙂 Have a fabulous time on Bali, I am sure you will love it!!

  • Kudos to you for doing such marvelous things! I enjoy reading about your adventures (and living vicariously through you). I’m not sure I would have been able to turn down a sponsorship offer in a place I love, but I get it. Now I can’t wait to hear about your time in Bali. Have fun!!

  • OMG I didn’t realize you were leaving already! Where are you headed to now?

  • Great post! Can’t wait to read about your next adventures!

  • Bye Christine! We will miss you Down Under. Thanks for being such a good friend to our beautiful country and good luck on your new adventures.

  • Looking forward to hearing about your adventures in Bali..it’s high on my list of places to visit.

  • I really enjoyed reading your Australian adventures and whereabouts. Can’t wait to see what life has on hold for you 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Thank you! Happy to help with any Melbourne tips that I can–will be there in spirit, even if not in person! 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Awww have a latte at Cafe Racer in St Kilda for me–miss that place like crazy!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks so much for all of your comments and support over the past year–hope that I’ll be able to have just as much fun in Bali 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Off to Bali for a month and then perhaps a bit of Thailand? Not much is set in stone yet–would love any SE Asia tips if you have them!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks! i’m looking forward to it 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Thank you–I absolutely LOVED Australia and am already scheming to come back to Sydney for NYE 2013. We’ll see how I go. Glad we got to meet once, if only briefly 🙂

  • Anonymous

    It’s been high on my list for years, so I’m pretty stoked about it! We’ll see how I go 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it–much different from Europe, although I’m def keen to get back 🙂

  • Nice! Good luck! I lived in Hong Kong for two years and travelled most of SE Asia, so if need any tips let me know!

  • Wow, I can’t believe it’s at an end already! I remembered you got a job and flat quickly, and I loved how in love you were with Melbs. Bring on 2012!

  • Anonymous

    exciting!! bali will be great. make sure to attend a funeral while you’re there. sounds crazy, but they are such elaborate, colorful, musical, and firefilled events, that they actually are quite fun to watch/participate in.  like everyone else, of course i cant wait to see whats next!!

  • Anonymous

    Wow! I imagine that must have been on hell of a decision to turn down working papers in Australia but who knows, maybe the offer will still stand should you change your mind in a few months? How long will you be in Bali? 

  • Raquel

    I have really enjoyed following along in all your adventures. Sad to see Australia come to an end, but I know the next chapter will be just as exciting! Still on the edge of my seat! So proud of you. Really.

  • craig

    Well Christine,  Its  been fun! was great to be a part of your adventures and to travel the great wide Nullarbor with you.. i don’t know what id have done with out you up front for those  days 😉  the constant chatter during the day.. the life stories… the hills and mountains rivers and creeks..  it was not only an adventure along the roads of Australia but the lives of each other. and i loved it!  will  follow your blogs as they pop up.. while i cross the country yet again in my travels..  you where part of my 20th Crossing of the Nullarbor and all i can say is… you’ll be back…  back to SA.. back to WA..   and when ya do..  ill happily buy  a coffee and chat for a few hours 😉

    now im off to read all your French exploits..  to get ready for my own French adventures.. right after i finish cleaning up my tour gear.. getting ready for my next trip wednesday!

    Travel safe and have fun!

  • Anonymous

    Would love some tips–I’m going in with an open mind and pretty much nothing else!

  • Anonymous

    Who knows, totally hoping that I might be able to swing a visit back to Melbs in 2012 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Will definitely keep my eyes open for any funerals…in Bali now and loving it already!

  • Anonymous

    I’m actually staying with my boss’s family in Bali, and we’ve been chatting about the possibility of me coming back–it’s much easier to leave and travel knowing that I can sort things out in Australia if I want to. I’m heading to Thailand on the 27th, so a few more weeks of sun and yoga and surf!

  • Anonymous

    Awww thanks Raquel! I might be making a stop in California this spring, and if so, I’m dying to meet Trent–we’re both on pretty crazy adventures at the moment 🙂

  • Anonymous

    I totally owe you an email of books to read and things to look up–promise I’ll send that today! Great memories up in the front seat and I learned so much about the subtle differences between mountains and hills (have you watched that movie yet?!). I’ll be back in WA and SA someday…and when I do, I’m totally going to drive back across with you but spend a week in Cape Le Grande!!! Keep on driving friend–living the dream!

  • I know what you mean! During my yearlong stint in Australia, nothing seemed to work out the way it was supposed to. But, in the end, it worked out. And that’s the important bit. Melbourne is comfy, it reminded me of home, and I was sad to see it go. But now, from other places, am I happy I left when I did. Because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be where I am now! Good luck to ya!

  • craig

    i have the list.. and im working on it slowly… as with my dutch.. and the instructions for my new camera.. lol  catch  you on the road!!!!

  • Working holidays never turn out the way you plan, I love that!

    I too turned down the opportunity to stay in New Zealand longer then my (already extended) current visa (long story, but in hindsight, I should have taken it but oh well!) but I wanted to get moving onto my next adventure.

    Can’t wait to read where you head next!!!

  • Anonymous

    Exactly–everything brings us to where we are today! Surely our paths will cross at some point–enjoy NZ 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Haha you will have no shortage of things to do!!!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks! Certainly hoping to make it to NZ for a working holiday at some point as well 🙂

  • I just returned from Australia after touring the country for 4 weeks, and my it was hard to leave. Everything’s so beautiful and fun. I DO love Milo, too! I hope there is a way to find it States side, but I highly doubt it 🙁 It was the perfect breakfast and dessert!

  • camorose

    I’m definitely going to be keeping my eyes open for Milo in the US–will let you know if I get lucky and find some 🙂