[img] Great Escape Monthly Review September

Great Escape Monthly Review: September 2016

In Expat Life, Great Escape by KatelynLeave a Comment

[img] Great Escape Monthly Review SeptemberSeptember was another whirlwind month of travel. I started the month in the Northern Territory and finished the month in Melbourne after traveling to two states and two territories. I saw heaps of amazing wildlife from wild horses to kangaroos to wild koala bears on the Great Ocean Road. Australia’s natural biodiversity never stops surprising me.

As much as I love to travel, I’m starting to feel burnt out. I’ve been abroad living out of a backpack for nine months now. While I definitely won’t trade this experience for anything in the world, I’m starting to crave routine and a regular paycheck. October is another big month of travel, but November brings a lot of uncertainty. I recently applied to become a staff writer at my dream publication so there is a possibly I could come home sooner than expected. And, I think I’m entirely okay with that.

If someone ever tells you the freelance life is all rainbows and unicorns, they are lying. The freelance life, especially when you first start out, is extremely stressful. You work hard to build up repeat clients with steady work, but they can drop you in seconds. I recently lost two clients due to internal company changes, which left me scrambling for new clients and projects in September. Needless to say, I lost a lot of sleep and probably grew a few gray hairs at the same time.

Where I’ve Been

  • 3 days in Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks
  • 3 days in Darwin
  • 5 days in Canberra
  • 8 days in Berry
  • 4 days in Melbourne
  • 9 days in the Grampians and the Great Ocean Road road trip

[img] Gunlom Falls Great Escape Monthly Review SeptemberThe Highlights

  • Discovering the incredible biodiversity of Australia – Australia never stops surprising me. I started September in Kakadu National Park, which is my favorite national park in Australia. From seeing wild horses, crocodiles, and hundreds of different birds, it was easy to fall in love with the Top End. I finished September in the Melbourne after spending a week road tripping the Great Ocean Road. I went ziplining in the ancient Otways National Park where I was convinced a dinosaur was going to run out in the middle of the road anytime and saw wild koala bears. Australia, you are one beautiful country!
  • I visited Portland, Australia! – While planning my Great Ocean Road road trip, I spotted the coastal town of Portland about 100 kilometers from the official end of the Great Ocean Road. While it was a bit out of my way, as a Portland, Maine native, I knew I had to go. It was totally worth it as I shot my favorite koala photo in Portland. And, yes, Portland, Australia reminded me a lot of Portland, Maine.
  • I got to ride again! – I spent a week back in Berry housesitting at the horse farm I was working on while the couple was on holiday. It was a quiet week of watching Netflix, scrambling for work, and spending time with the horses and dogs. I even got to ride twice! I was sore for several days after my first ride. I forgot how much work riding was on the body. Someone, please buy me a pony?!

The Lowlights

  • Dealing with significant stress from the freelance life – Back in August, I lost two well-paying clients for various reasons unrelated to my work performance. Losing the two clients that consistently paid my recurring monthly bills (aka. my student loans), was nothing but stressful and frustrating. In September I started scrambling for new work. I finally started pitching ideas to publications resulting in mostly rejection, but, hey, you got to start somewhere, right? I did pick up a big project here in Australia, which was a godsend. Of course, it didn’t help that I was traveling a lot either. I’ll definitely be working hard in October for new clients.
  • I’m still pretty homesick – I was really homesick when I left home in August, and it has been waxing and waning ever since. Somedays are better than others. Towards the end of September, I was feeling really burnt out from the constant travel. Sleeping in noisy hostels, constantly being on the move in a car, bus, or plane, and lack of any routine was taking a toll on me physically and mentally. I know I’ll be fine again once I settled down in one place again for work. As much as I love to travel, I’m starting to feel burnt out.

[img] Anglesea kangaroos Great Escape Monthly Review September

Monthly Income

I did surprisingly well in September regarding freelancing. Unfortunately (or fortunately), about 70% of my freelance income was in Australian dollars. Obviously, it’s not a bad thing because I’m currently living and traveling Australia, but I’m looking to build my US bank account up again after taking about $1,500 out to pay for my upcoming Fiji holiday.

In September, I grossed $1,029.36 USD. That includes the two Australian projects I completed converted to USD. Of course, that is before self-employment taxes and business expenses. However, I still met my goal. With an upcoming trip to Fiji in October, I highly doubt I will even make over $500 in October. I’m determined to make November my best month yet, though.

Monthly Expenses

After last month, I’m nervous to add up my spending. Most of September was spent on the road in various places across Australia so my expenses are much more than they would be if I were back on the horse farm.

  • Transportation: $320.46
  • Accommodation: $351.76
  • Food and Drinks: $482.95
  • Activities, Tours, & Fun: $1,360.69
  • Other (i.e., doctors, cell phone, general living expenses): $118.56
  • Business Expenses: $0

I spent a total of $2,634.36 USD or an average of $87.81 a day. Half of my expenses was the cost of my upcoming Fiji trip in late October. If I don’t count my Fiji trip, I spent $1,452.66 or roughly $48.42 a day.  Once again food and drinks were my biggest spend category as I was on the move a lot and worked with the Great Ocean Road Tourism Board where I was required to go to certain restaurants and cafes and pay for food I would otherwise not purchase.

* All expenses have been converted to USD.

Favorite Photo of the Month

[img] wild koala bear Great Escape Monthly Review SeptemberGoals for October

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

Books I Read in September

  • Interference by Amelie Antoine – This was another Amazon Prime free book that I enjoy. Originally written in French, it has been translated into English. It was a fairly quick and easy read and surprised the hell out of me in the end. I definitely would recommend this one.
  • Spinning the Moon by Karen White – Karen White is my favorite modern day writer, and she recently republished her first two out-of-print novels in one book. I loved the book of them as they were both set during the Civil War period, which is one of my favorite periods to read about.

Favorite Quote of the Month

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” – Helen Keller

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