[img] Byron Bay beach sign Great Escape Monthly Review

Great Escape Monthly Review: February 2017

In Great Escape by Katelyn1 Comment

[img] Byron Bay beach sign Great Escape Monthly ReviewMy year in Australia is quickly coming to an end. During February, I finished up my 15 weeks working on the horse farm and began my travels up the East Coast of Australia. It was a bittersweet month as I was truly sad to leave the horse farm but excited to return to my nomadic life on the road.

Even though February is a short month, it was jam-packed and left me screaming for more time. I had planned to finish up work on the farm on February 10th but ended up staying on until the 19th because the farm was short staffed with the early departure of the French Girl and another farmhand taking her holiday. I ended up working 20.5 days in a row without a day off in some of the highest temperatures ever recorded in the Upper Hunter Valley. The money was just too good to turn down. Plus, I enjoyed the work.

Where I’ve Been

  • 5 Days in Scone
  • 5 Days in Sydney
  • 1 Day in Barrington Tops National Park
  • 2 Days at Spot X and River Retreat
  • 5 Days in Byron Bay

The Highlights

  • I made great money on the horse farm! Since I worked 20.5 days straight, I accumulated a lot of overtime hours. Sunday overtime in Australia is double your hourly rate, so I was making close to $50 an hour. Those three weeks paid for my next few months of travel through South East Asia.
  • I landed a big two-month project. This project came out of the blue, and I couldn’t be more excited. Last September I signed up as a freelance for a growing digital marketing company but never received any work until this project. Since I have experience writing for the trucking industry, I was picked for this project. It pays great, and I enjoy the work. I’m not sure if the company will choose to extend their contract, but I’m hoping this project might lead to other opportunities.
  • I got to dive one of Australia’s top diving sites in Byron Bay. Julian Rocks is one of Australia’s top 10 diving sites, and after diving it twice, I can see why. The sea life is incredibly diverse. I saw heaps of leopard sharks, wobbegongs, sea turtles, a huge bull ray, cuttlefish, moray eels, and tons of fish. Unfortunately, my GoPro Hero 4 finally decided to “shit the bed” for real this time leaving me without photos and videos.

[img] Great Escape Monthly ReviewThe Lowlights

  • Working in 40+ degree days. This past summer has been one of the hottest summers on record with multiple days topping out at over 40 (100+) degree days. The worst was a three-day span, in the middle of my 20.5-day span no less, of 42, 45, and 47 degrees respectively. It was like working in an oven! And the heat wasn’t even the worst. The real threat of bush fires was scary.
  • My GoPro Hero 4 died. I’ve been having problems with my GoPro was months now. It worked alright up until about September when it started acting up and freezing on me or giving me the “black screen of death.” I called GoPro, and they offered me a 20% discount on a new one. WTF? After a little online research, freezing up is a common problem with GoPros. By a sheer stroke of luck, I was able to get my GoPro to work for my trip to Fiji. Then it sat for four months while I worked on the horse farm. Fast forward to the day I went diving at Julian Rocks, and it didn’t work at all. I ended up buying a new Hero 5 since I need an underwater camera for my job. GoPro will be getting another nasty call from me.

Monthly Income

February was another great month for freelancing income. I scored two new contracts with potentials that boosted my income. Unfortunately, I didn’t get one contract with a travel app company that I was really excited about after I interviewed with them. Oh well. You win some, and you lose some.

In February, I grossed $1,574 with my various writing projects. Of course, that’s before self-employment taxes and business expenses, but it’s exciting to see my side-hustle-turned-business become more profitable in the new year. I have no idea if this upward trend will continue into the later months of 2017, especially with me on the move again, but I’m crossing my fingers and working hard to make it happen.


  • Transportation: $688.66
  • Accommodation: $151.61
  • Food and Drinks: $377.92
  • Activities, Tours & Fun: $1,103.95
  • Other (i.e., doctors, cell phone, general living expenses): $537.24
  • Business Expenses: $707.16

For a short month, I spent a lot of money. With being on the move and planning some of my future travel, I knew February would be expensive. But, I didn’t predict that I would drop over $700 for a new GoPro and accessories, but thankfully I can write it off as a business expense.

In February, I spent a total of $3,566.54 or $127.38 per day. Most of my expenses for the month were plane tickets and tours for my last few weeks in Australia and my onward travel to New Zealand and South East Asia.

Favorite Photo of the Month

[img] Koala Hospital Great Escape Monthly Review

Meet Barrington Xavier. He’s a resident of the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital. I visited him with Loka Travel.

Books I Read During February

  • Jefferson Tate Genealogical Mystery Series by Steve Robinson – I read the first book, In The Blood, on a whim from Amazon Kindle books and immediately fell in love with the series. I finally decided to bite the bullet and pay for Amazon’s Unlimited Kindle book program and promptly read all four books during February. If you love mystery, history, and thrillers, this series is the perfect mix.
  • The Guests of South Battery by Karen White – Karen White is my favorite author, and she recently came out with a new book for her Tradd Street series that takes place in Charleston, South Carolina. I love everything about Charleston.

March Goals

  • Dive as much as possible!
  • Ensure all my writing deadlines are met ahead of time while I go off-grid for a few days during my travels
  • Turn 30 (Yikes, when did I get so old?!)

Favorite Quote

“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” ~ Lao Tzu


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