[im]g Kings Canyon Australia

Great Escape Monthly Review: August 2016

In Expat Life, Great Escape by KatelynLeave a Comment

[img] Kangaroo Sanctuary Great Escape Monthly ReviewAugust was a whirlwind month that just flew by way too soon. After being in one place for a few months, I welcomed movement and travel back into my world. I packed up my socks and t-shirts and hit the road. Over the course of 31 days, I flew over 22,000 miles and sat in a bus and car for another several thousand miles. I spent time in California, Seattle, Maine, Sydney, Alice Springs, and Darwin and just about everywhere in between.

I hate when people ask me what my favorite place in Australia is because I don’t have an answer. I’ve spent the past four months working on horse farms in the Greater Sydney area. I haven’t seen Australia yet! But, after months of living on Australian soil, I can finally say that I have seen parts of it other than Sydney, which I like, but there is much more to Australia than Sydney.

July 31st was the start of my nomadic life over the next few months. I’m back to living out of my backpack in hostels, campsites, and wherever else my bags might land. While I’m excited for my upcoming adventures (spoiler: I’m going to Fiji!!), August has been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster for me. My trip back to Maine left me with mixed feelings about my future abroad. I love to travel, and I am very lucky that my passport and current lifestyle allow me to travel as I do, but a large part of my heart is being drawn back to Maine – my home.

[img] eating raw oysters

Lindsay popped my raw oyster cherry in Seattle!

Where I’ve Been

  • 1.5 days in Southern California
  • 4 days in Seattle
  • 13 days in Maine
  • 2 days in Sydney
  • 3 days in Alice Springs
  • 5 days on tour with Mulgas Adventures to Uluru, Kings Canyon, and up to Darwin
  • 1 day in Darwin

Note: I lost a day in August. I left LAX on August 19th and landed in Sydney on the 21st. August 20, 2016, never existed for me. Weird, huh?

The Highlights
  • I spent four days visiting one of my besties in Seattle! I hadn’t seen Lindsay since our adventures in Belize and Guatemala back in 2013 when I got bit by the travel bug hardcore. I met Lindsay back in 2008 when I did a research fellowship at Montana State University in Bozeman. I’ve visited her multiple times in Montana, and she recently moved to Seattle. It was awesome to catch up with her and also see a new city and state! Seattle has been on my list to visit for awhile as it is a city I can see myself living in at some point in my life. After my four days exploring a bit of the city, the mountains, and the water, I can say with confidence that I could totally live there!
  • I went HOME! Maine is and always will be home. It’s where I’m from. It’s where my friends and family live. It’s where my precious little furball is at the moment. Maine is in my blood. I might go far and wide, but Maine will always be the place I come back to in life. I spent my first week in a jet lag daze, transferring files from my old laptop to my new one, and catching up on American television shows and work. I was a bit antisocial, and I was totally cool with that. My second week was much more social with getting professional headshots done, happy hour and lunches with friends, and even a few dates. Yes, you read that right! Perhaps I won’t be the crazy cat lady after all. Unfortunately, meeting a really awesome guy right before you go back to Oz for another eight months really sucks. #worsttimingever
  • I’m going to Fiji! Fiji is the ultimate dream beach vacation for many Americans, and I’m excited to go. I mean, it’s only a four-hour flight from Australia, so I’d be silly not to go! I’ll be spending nine days in late October island hopping my way away around Fiji. I can’t wait to scuba dive, lay out on the beach and work on my pathetic tan, and snorkeling with the Manta Rays (crossing my fingers!).
  • I went to Uluru! Uluru, or Ayer’s Rock to some, is one of Australia’s most iconic features. I’ve been dying to visit Alice Springs and the Red Center after reading A Town Like Alice. The Northern Territory was my first stop over the next few months of traveling around Australia. I will have loads of photos and posts coming up on my recent adventures in the NT, but, in short, sunrise at Uluru is one of the most incredible sights I have seen in my life.

[img] sea kayaking Puget SoundThe Lowlights

  • The jet lag is horrible! I thought the jet lag from my three weeks in Europe last Spring was rough, but the jet lag coming home from Australia was about ten times worst. I was wide awake at 1 am and sleeping at lunchtime. The first ten days I was back in the States were spent in a bit of a fog. Thankfully, coming back to Australia hasn’t been too bad.
  • I spent way too much money at home! I knew I was going to drop about $1,500 on a new laptop, so I was prepared for that, but I wasn’t quite prepared for the other little expenses like food, gas, other necessities that popped up while I was Stateside.
  • I’m homesick. I had a feeling that going home midway between my travels would leave me a bit nostalgic, but I wasn’t expecting to feel this intensely about missing home. Going home felt right, but it just wasn’t my time yet to stay. I have too much to see and do in Australia and Oceania. I need a little more time to explore and discover the world around me and how I fit into it. After a lot of reflection, though, I have decided to return to Maine in May to figure out my next step in life. I’m not sure what the future holds, but I know that I need a little dose of Maine to figure it all out.

Monthly Income

August was an okay month as far as income goes, especially with being constantly on the move. I grossed $720 in August. Not amazing, but it helps pay the bills. I’m digging into my travel savings account to pay for my October Fiji trip, so I need to buckle down in September to actually start pitching some websites and magazine. A few days ago I got an email from a relatively new client saying they are bringing their blog in-house so they won’t be needing freelance writers. It was a bit of blow as I loved writing for them and the money was good.

[im]g Kings Canyon AustraliaMonthly Expenses

Urgh! I don’t even want to share my expenses this month! It’s way too much for my liking. Can I live in denial forever? August was an incredibly expensive month with a trip home and a purchase of a new laptop. I knew it was all coming, but I hate seeing my bank account drop so much. I am starting to miss the 9-5 regular paycheck lifestyle.

  • Transportation: $129.29
  • Accommodation: $124.56
  • Food and Drinks: $522.16
  • Activities, Tours, & Fun: $1,117.47
  • Other (i.e., doctors, cell phone, general living expenses): $865.14
  • Business Expenses: $1,693.85

* All expenses have been converted to USD.

Yikes! I spent a total of $4,452.47. Holy shit! August is probably my worst month ever as far as my expenses go, but I will be able to write off my business expenses. Time to start working my ass off!

A large chunk of my August expenses were my new laptop, flights, tours, and other like things like a 6-month supply of contacts and my medication. And, of course, my food budget was unnaturally high due to my travels, especially Seattle. Lindsay is a foodie, and we certainly indulged ourselves! #Noregrets

Favorite Photo of the Month

This one was tough, so I’m going to pick two.

[img] Kangaroo Sanctuary Great Escape Monthly Review

[img] Uluru sunrise Great Escape Monthly ReviewGoals for September

  • Pitch websites and apply for new freelance writing gigs
  • Workout at minimum 3x a week
  • Start job searching for November

Books I Read in August

  • The Girl on the Train – My former coworker told me about this book months ago, and I forgot about it until I saw the movie trailer recently. The movie looked good, so I thought I should read the book beforehand. It took me awhile to get into the book, but overall I enjoyed it. The ending surprised me a bit too!

Favorite Quote of the Month

“Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.


Until next time, safe travels my friends!

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