April - June
The situation before the journey
I had a solid, usual life in Germany. With 29 years I finished an apprenticeship, worked, studied successful process engineering, had a girlfriend and lived in an apartment. But I wasn't happy at all and got the feeling about missing something in my life. So I quit my job, the apartment and got separated from my girlfriend.
I heard about the special visa for Australia (Work and Travel) in the radio. I decided to go there, especially because to improve my English language skills. My spoken English was really bad as well as my marks in school. Even now I have problems in pronunciation and grammar.
Because of my lack in traveling I decided to pay the Travelworks agency to get help with all the preparation. It was a mistake, the company isn't that good and you can easily do all the stuff by yourself.
I create this blog mostly with my smartphone and a simple text editor on it. I miss my PC so hard...
End of April 17
I arrived in Cairns (northeast Australia) and waited for my agency booked bus which should me shuttle to the YHA hostel. I waited three hours till some other bus driver drove me to the right bus station. It wasn't my fault, the description was wrong. And they didn't answer my calls to the office in Australia. I lost my good shoes in one of the busses and saw them never again. Fuck off Travelworks.de! An adventure should never start so bad!
There were many other Germans in this hostel. The Germans in this country are different to the Germans at home. Easier... I got good entertainment and free alcohol, but no English skills... My four bed room was mostly used only by me. I got slowly a feeling how Australia works. I opened a bank account and got a SIM card.
I met a guy called V. in the hostel. I was really impressed by him, because he spoke three languages, could drive easily a car on the left site and knew many useful things. We visited the Crystal Cascades waterfall near Cairns. I left my camera in the car, so no pictures were taken. But I got cool refreshment in the water.
May 17: Buying my own car
I knew I would need a car to get more freedom and to save money. Because hostel-life can be expensive and annoying with loud mates or air conditioning in your room.
I bought a Ford Station Wagon for 1700 AUD from other backpackers. I wasn't happy first, because the car had more problems than I expected. I recognized too late that the backlights weren't working. I bought one red bicycle light and used also my headlamp to replace them till a mechanic fixed them.
Living in a car is a really nice experience but not always easy. You have to check out where public toilets are, where you can get a shower, where you can get drinking water, where you can clean your laundry, where you can sleep overnight and where you can meet people to talk to. It gets even harder if it's raining for a long time. And you have to pay more attention that your mobile data isn't running out too fast... But I never regret the purchase.
In comparison to other backpackers cars mine is endowed with less things. I threw many away. You don't need much at all. It feels like home for me now, I really enjoying being in my car and waiting to get asleep every night.
June 17: First road trips
I met a local girl over Tinder. By the way: I got much more matches in Australia (AU) in comparison to Germany. We drove with her car to Port Douglas. But my English was so bad this time I couldn't keep a longer conversation. But practicing was the best way to improve it :).
I met also the German girl N. over this app. With N. I drove down the east coast till Townsville. I learned many things about preparing a road trip. She had experience in traveling and showed me also how I can easily cook meals with fresh food. A little bit embarrassing that I wasn't able to do that at this time. But things changed ;).
We started in Cairns and rested for the first night on the camp spot at Murray Falls. While continuing the trip down I got used to camping and met other interesting backpackers on the way. The next big destination was Magnetic Island. We got there with the ferry and stayed two nights. I liked the YHA hostel (small cottages) and enjoyed the Fort Walk (military protection against Japan during Second World War). The small bays were also incredible. We finished the evening with two jugs of good beer :).
Thank you N. for the time you spent together with me. I hope you enjoyed your next travels in Asia.
The next two days I rested on a free camp spot. I met a really nice and good entertaining German couple there. These two were young but have already experienced many things while traveling. Both showed me how to make popcorn by myself. With this new skill I made many other backpackers lucky which I have met in the future. Thanks for that and much success in Germany :).
June 17: Wwoofing in AU
After N. left me I decided to try Wwoofing (Willing workers on organic farms) to improve my English. You usually work 4-6h each day for free accommodation and food. I found a lettuce farm in Mission Beach where I worked for 10 days.
The work includes tree cutting, weed removing and fencing. It was hard for me, a guy who was used to sitting the most of the day. And I never liked working at all... But there are many people in this world who do this their whole life. And more than five hours each day...
I never ate such good meals. Perfect combination of meat and vegetables. I ate more meat than the last six month... Further P. and L. corrected a lot of my bad speaking grammar. Thanks for all the service you have done for me!
June/July 17: Back in Cairns
After the work on the farm I got back to Cairns cause of the better weather there. I liked the idea to work for some accommodation but I didn't want to do Wwoofing again, because it was just too hard... There is a network called Helpx. Normal people search there for housekeepers and more. You don't need to work that much and hard, but you have to look more about yourself like making food by your own etc.
I found a nice offer at Holloways Beach. My female host A. maintained an Airbnb beach house which she herself also lived in. The work was much more diversified: I cleaned the rooms and the pool, helped to get a sailboot ready, cut some trees in the garden, fixed some electrical wiring, painted a wall and the boat trailer, drove her around and many did many more things... I also met her son and sister. She included me in many things. Thank you so much for the good entertaining.
During my stay I received several guests. One of them was very special, a really beautiful and smart woman called L. It was the first time I was able to hold a longer conversation in English. She was used in learning other languages too and knew how difficult it can be. Facts not many people know which grow up with English. Thanks for the beer and sure, the next time I will knock at your wall as hard as I can ;).
Continue: July - August