After a year in Australia, it was finally time to leave. My visa was up on April 3rd, and that meant I needed to leave my adopted country or else I faced some serious fines. It’s hard to believe that my Great Escape is almost over! I should have spent my final day in Australia exploring the highlights of Sydney, like the Opera House or the infamous Bondi to Congee Walk. Instead, I opted to see the new Beauty and the Beast movie finally. It was 100% worth it!
On April 2nd, I took a short flight over the Tasman Sea to my 32nd country – New Zealand. For three weeks I explored the North Island with Stray New Zealand. Despite the fact we had to dodge several cyclones, I had a fantastic time. I’m already counting down the days when I can return again. This time to travel the adrenaline crazed South Island!
April marked the beginning of my Asia travels. I eased gently into the new culture with a few days in Kuala Lumpur, the metropolitan city in Malaysia. I’ll be honest, Asia has been a bit of a culture shock, especially coming from the western world of Australia and New Zealand. I’m slowly adapting, but I’ve struggled a bit with homesickness this month.
Great Escape Monthly Review: April 2017
Where I’ve Been
- 1 Day in Sydney
- 20 Days in New Zealand (North Island)
- 3 Days in Kuala Lumpur
- 2 Days in the Cameroon Highlands
- 4 Days in Georgetown
- Visiting Blue Duck Station – Since I only had a short time in New Zealand, I chose to use the Stray bus to get around. Similar to Loka in Australia, Stray is a guided hop on-hop off bus. Unlike the Kiwi Experience, Stray goes off the beaten path. One of their main stops is the remote Blue Duck Station. Blue Duck Station is a large sheep station located in Ruapehu District. While they are still very much a working farm, Blue Duck is a leader in conservation and eco-tourism. We spent two days here, and I could easily spend months here.
- Finished my massive client project – From late February through the beginning of April I was working on a big two-month contract project for a trucking and logistics client. It was a lot of work with often very last minute deadlines as the client wasn’t the best communicator. Unfortunately, in the freelance world, that happens more often than not. I had three big white papers to write in a span of a few days. While I am certainly sad to see the income go away in May, I’m glad I don’t have to be constantly stressed working on this project.
- Feeling homesick again – Chalk it up to leaving Australia, but I struggled more times than not with homesickness throughout the month of April. As much as I was excited to travel to New Zealand and Asia, I was beginning to feel burnt out and exhausted. I definitely can’t handle the constant movement. I hate being bored, but slow travel is the way for me now. There were several times I just wanted to skip my flight to Malaysia and just book a flight home to Maine.
April was a fantastic month for income because of my client project. I’m looking forward to having a bit more free time to work on my blog, but I’m going to miss those paychecks! In April, I grossed $3,085 USD. Of course, a large chunk of that will go to Uncle Sam. I predict my monthly income will drop in the coming months, so I plan on enjoying this money now and stocking most of it away for living expenses for when I return home.
Thanks to the rainy weather in New Zealand, I didn’t spend as much money as I had budgeted for since many of the activities were canceled. Instead, I decided to spend it on diving in Indonesia in May and June. Because, why not?
- Transportation: $89.22 USD
- Accommodation: $568.69 USD
- Food and Drinks: $506.04 USD
- Activities, Tours & Fun: $392.98
- Other (i.e., doctors, cell phone, general living expenses): $105.73
- Business Expenses: $0
During the month of April, I spent a total of $1,689.96 or $56.33 USD per day. That doesn’t include my Stray pass, which I paid for back in early March. I plan on doing an entire post on the costs of traveling the North Island of New Zealand in the future so stay tuned for that post. I was surprised how cheap it was, but then again, I didn’t get to go rafting or skydiving, so that saved me a ton of money.
Georgetown, Malaysia is famous for its street art. It can be found in every corner, back alley, and hidden cafe so keep your eyes peeled!
Books I Read During April
- The Night the Lights Went Out by Karen White – Karen White is one of my favorite authors and she didn’t disappoint in her new book. It kept me guessing the whole time and I loved the theme. It’s a great summer beach read.
- The Blood Detective: A Genealogy Serial Killer Thriller by Dan Waddell – I’m in love with this genre on Amazon Kindle. I’ve read several books in this category and just can’t get enough. This book was well written and kept me on my toes the entire time. Again, another great beach or vacation read.
- Write a ton of new blog posts
- Yoga and dive in Indonesia
- Pitch new clients
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” ~ Mark Twain