On October 21st, Belgian travel blogger, Naomi Vangestel of Naomi in Wonderland, boarded a one-way flight to Sydney, Australia to begin her new life abroad. Antwerp, Belgium and Sydney, Australia couldn’t be more different or further apart, but Naomi was ready for a change. On an Australian Working Holiday Visa, Naomi is permitted to work, live, and travel around Australia for up to two years! For anyone with a wandering soul, this opportunity is something to take into consideration! I know that we’re definitely considering it…
After almost two months of living in Australia, we thought we’d catch up with Naomi! Let’s find out about her new life in Sydney, the struggles she’s faced, and more… Shall we?
Q: What first sparked your interest in traveling?
A: I think I’ve always been sort of interested in traveling, without really realizing it. Back when I was younger I’ve always been really fascinated by other countries. I loved watching documentaries. I always dreamed of moving to another country at some point in life. I loved learning more about a different and new place.
Q: Why did you decide to move from Belgium to Australia?
A: I fell in love with Australia when I was about 10 years old. I always gave presentations about it in school. I was obsessed with the place without ever setting foot there! So when I was struggling to find a job after getting my bachelor’s degree in Belgium I just thought about going to Australia for a year. I told my mom, she was fully on board straight away, and before I knew it, I booked my one-way trip and applied for the Working Holiday Visa.
Q: What are a few of the experiences you’ve been dreaming about having while in Australia? Have you done any of them yet?
A: Well, flying into Sydney made me tear up. Seeing the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge outside my window was surreal. In all fairness, I haven’t really been traveling around here at all because I work four to five days a week, so I’m just trying to enjoy life here in Sydney before I continue my actual travels. There are quite a few things I want to do, such as diving with sharks, seeing the Ayers Rock, drive down the East Coast, and more! See Naomi’s full Australia Bucket List here.
Q: What is an Australian custom that you’ve found strange or interesting?
A: Mmmmm. Good question. Australians are very kind and relaxed people. I wouldn’t call it strange, it’s just very enjoyable to be around those type of people. They just live differently. Besides that I can’t really think of anything!
Q: Overall, how do you like Sydney? Do you plan to stay, or will you move to a new Australian city later?
A: I’m in LOVE with Sydney. I will probably stay here up until mid January/February before starting my farm work. I want to do some sort of farm work or any work that will help me get my second-year visa. So I will be moving for sure, but that has nothing to do with Sydney. I could easily live here for the rest of my life. Preferably in Surry Hills.
Q: What do you miss most about home, if anything?
A: Food. I miss Belgian fries, I miss mayonnaise, I miss decent bread (I go to a German bakery nearby where I live all the time to have some sort of real bread), I miss home-cooked meals. I currently live with four guys, great friends really, but all of our schedules are very different, so we don’t really cook “family meals.” If I would have to start making food for myself, I’d waste so much money, so I might as well just go get meals anywhere else.
Q: What advice would you give to anyone interested in moving to Australia on a Working Holiday Visa?
A: Save up. Life is god damn expensive over here. Leave without any real plans; your plans will change all the time. And stay very, very open-minded. Also, you will be living with other people, but take some time out for yourself as well. You will need it, trust me. Start applying for jobs the second you get to Australia; if you start working pretty much straight away, you will have no issues paying for rent or anything else.
Q: What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned from moving abroad?
A: I’ve learned to keep an open mind, to not get too attached to anything, to give myself some time and space to breath and relax. Sleep enough, eat well. Your body will be grateful.
Over to you! Have you ever thought about applying for an Australian Working Holiday Visa and moving down under? Have you ever, or ever wanted to, live abroad elsewhere long-term? Let us know in the comments!