Deciding to leave our country to start an adventure around the world is not an easy decision to make. Everyone who lives abroad shares that “fear” that gave us to buy the first ticket that took us to an unknown destination. Sofia Frigerio is from Chile and the creator of the blog “De Chile al Mundo” (From Chile to the World) and in this article, she tells us about her experience when deciding to travel to Australia for the first time. Read about her fears, initial plans, and how, after a 3-month trip to Southeast Asia, she decided to stay and live in Australia. Read about Sofia’s experience starting her journey in Australia!
Australia is a country that is far from everything. It is an immense island inhabited by around 25 million people, but the population density is low given the large territory. It is a place with quirky animals such as koalas, kangaroos, the Tasmanian devil, wombats, among others. But this magical place is not only characterised by having a beautiful flora, fauna or beautiful beaches. It is also a country where people are very friendly and warm, where you can feel safe and where you can find opportunities of all kinds.
Believe it or not, all these great characteristics didn’t make me come here. The truth is that I didn’t even get informed and I just came here just because I knew it was a very good opportunity to work and earn money in a short time. Also, my best excuse was to learn English, since at my job I needed this requirement if I wanted to grow professionally.
But making this decision was not easy. When I graduated from university in Chile, I had plans to travel for a long time and go to Southeast Asia, as everyone I knew did. I had already travelled to Europe several times and it was time for me to explore new territories. But my plans changed when I found the job I wanted, I worked for two and a half years until I decided it was time to go. It was not easy to make this decision, since I had all my friends in Chile, my boyfriend, my family, a job that I loved, a car, a house and above all, stability. But something told me that I had to look for new horizons and that I didn’t want to keep stuck in the same thing; I had it all but was not satisfied. Another thing that made my decision so hard was the constant comment of…
“Don’t waste your time travelling, this is going to impact your professional career (I Studied Business and a Master in Marketing). When you come back after 6 months, no one will want to hire you for wasting time travelling… “
In addition to the fact that I did not know how to speak the language, Australia is far from Chile and I was planning to travel alone without knowing anyone here. I have never been a “brave” person and, above all, “The Old Sofía” lived in great fear. I grew up being afraid of being mugged, robbed or feeling vulnerable.
But after thinking about it a lot, I decided to buy a ticket to Australia; this was the first step and there was no going back. Thus came the day that I set out on this adventure in 2015; without many expectations since my original plan was to come for 3 months to Australia, earn quick money, learn English and travel 3 months through Southeast Asia. What I didn’t realise at the time was that it was an extremely ambitious plan; Finding a job is easy here, but you can’t find it overnight. Sometimes it takes time, especially in winter, added to the fact that you have to find a house, open bank accounts, paperwork to work, buy a cell phone and learn English in 3 months (without an English course); Almost impossible.
I was fortunate, though, after several hours looking for a job in Australia, I found one. They didn’t pay me as well as I’d thought, but at least I had savings from Chile that I was happy to spend on travel. Those three months were magical and unforgettable. All the fears I had disappeared and it is as if I had come out of a bubble to know what the world was. I met people of all possible nationalities, very different from what I was used to, I did things that I would never have dared to do, my adventurous spirit woke up and I was ready to start being the new Sofia.
It took me a while to learn English, especially because I didn’t have a teacher or course to help me improve. I think the key was to hang out with people who speak only English, forcing me to learn. I worked in a Frozen Yoghurt shop, I had to talk to customers (poor them, I don’t think anyone understood me and for sure I served them the wrong flavour). I was living near the beach, in Surfers Paradise and went every day to enjoy nature. We went on trips to national parks, snorkelling, visiting other beaches and discovering new places, going to delicious food markets, organic cafes, constantly meeting new people and discovering what a healthy life was like; I was living in a paradise.
My time in Australia was coming to an end, and I had to go to Southeast Asia alone. I was terrified on the plane, even crying. I was stressed as I had no real plans and did not know exactly where I was heading, all my old fears began to return. The first day I arrived in Thailand, everything was unknown, I was scared of being robbed. I got on a tuc-tuc to the port without knowing where to go. But this is the magic of travelling; When I arrived at the port I met two German girls who were going to Koh Phi Phi and they asked me if I wanted to join. This simple gesture made me relax and realize that the fear was in my head. Another lesson was about to begin; to start learning about other cultures and above all to live without fear.
We don’t learn or gain anything by being scared; we do have to be cautious and responsible, but not letting the fear stop us doing the things that we want to do. This trip for 3 months was the best months of my life and they made me more open-minded and see life from a different perspective. This is the beauty of getting out of your routine and out of your comfort zone; you learn so many things and how to enjoy life more.
After having done the farm work and having the option of extending my stay in Australia, I continued my adventure towards Iceland, a place completely different from Australia. I lived in Europe for a whole year, but I always knew that I wanted to return to this beautiful country. Why? Because the weather, people, job opportunities and being able to enjoy nature every day, convinced me to settle here for a longer time than just a few months. I knew that staying here for a long term is not easy from a visa perspective, however, I truly believe that everyone has the potential of achieving great things, throughout effort and perseverance.
I’ve been living in Australia for almost 5 years now and coming here was like having awakened my real self; I learned to value things that in Chile I did not value so much. I learned the benefits of being in contact with nature, of not judging about how someone dresses or looks, trusting people and realising that they don’t want to hurt me. We are all equal, regardless of our skin colour, hair, eyes or which family we come from. I learned to value my family, friends from Chile and all the values that they taught me during my life. That I have to love and take care of my body, that I live in a country that offers opportunities for everyone and provides security; this is priceless. For me, Australia is the best country to live in the world. I invite you to start your own journey to Australia and learn things every day to become a better person. I invite you to get out of your comfort zone and live experiences that you never thought you will live.
Would you like to live the same experience as Sofía? If you are thinking of taking a course and travelling in Australia, there are a lot of possibilities to choose from. Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org for free advice on your course and visa. Also, you can send us a WhatsApp message at +61410827945.
See you in Australia mate! 🙂