I hope everyone has had a good February so far.
Well, we are well and truly into 2022 now and I’m not quite sure where the time has gone.
It’s been a while since I wrote on this blog and I just wanted to do an update and have a chat. The last time I posted, I was back in the UK having spent the previous three years in Australia. I was settling in and having some well-needed downtime with friends and family while trying to work out my next steps. I couldn’t have anticipated where I would be in February of this year and in a huge turn of events, that place is Melbourne.
Australia’s reopening and how I’m back
Anyone who’s read my blog over the last couple of years will know, Australia’s border closures have had a huge impact on my life during the pandemic. Like other temporary visa holders, I was essentially locked in the country in 2020/21. (Australia’s tough border rules due to Covid-19 meant that if I left, I could not return.)
Eventually, I made the tough call to leave my life in Melbourne and return to the UK in September. It was an incredibly difficult decision to leave the life I had made here and my friends. However, I decided for the sake of my mental health, I couldn’t stay any longer.
Against all odds, ‘Fortress Australia’ as it has come to be known, started to open up at the end of last year. In December, eligible visa holders like me (I’m on the Covid visa- you can read all about that here), were able to return to Australia. In fact, the government has just announced that as of February 2022, tourists will also be able to return to the country too. The border openings have marked an end to an incredibly difficult period for those residing in Australia (and hopefully it means that the beginning of the end of the pandemic is in sight.)
When I left Melbourne last year, I didn’t think I would be able to return for a long time. I was surprised to realise that my visa was still valid and exempt- but I didn’t believe I would be allowed into Australia until I had actually stepped out of the airport.
Now that I am back, the novelty hasn’t worn off. I couldn’t be grateful enough to be back with my friends and enjoying a restriction-free Melbourne summer! I count my blessings every day and for the first time in a while, I am savouring the moment and not thinking too much about what lies ahead.
Freelancing and the benefits of remote work
At the end of last year, I was lucky enough to secure a freelance job. This has been amazing as it has meant that I’ve been able to move between Australia and the UK while still maintaining an income. After having spent most of my time previously in Australia working in speciality coffee, I’m loving the freedom that freelancing gives me. I now have lots more time to spend with friends and exploring the city that I love so much due to my fully flexible schedule.
I first arrived in Australia with a friend over three years ago and backpacked the East Coast. I now have until July on my visa and I plan to travel as much of the country as I can- and maybe even explore New Zealand if the country opens up in the coming months.
The only negative parts of freelancing are surviving on less income ( I’m working fewer hours and making less money than I did when working full-time in hospitality.) Also, an 11 hour time difference with the UK means that some days I have to work until the early hours of the morning if I have meetings etc.
(I’ll write a post soon about securing freelance work and how I balance living abroad with remote working.)
All in all, I am loving freelancing and can’t imagine transitioning back to a full-time job anytime soon. I am feeling incredibly grateful for all of the opportunities that have presented themselves over the last few months. I guess it goes to show that some things in life come down to timing and jumping at any opportunities that pass your way can reap huge rewards in the long run.
What are your goals for 2022? Or are you simply planning to go with the flow this year too?