At some point along my journey up the east coast, I decided that I would return to Noosa once I was finished. Before coming to Australia, I had visions of spending the summer months in a small beach town, surrounded by a warm, blue ocean, green spaces, shops, restaurants and a mix of tourists and locals. It took no time for me to realize that Noosa was it when I passed through in December, and I was excited to get back to this dreamy little town and settle down for a little while.
I flew from Cairns to Brisbane on January 8th, and took a train just north to the Sunshine Coast, arriving to Noosa in the early afternoon. Here is a bit of my timeline and what my goals were upon arrival:
- I’m planning to spend January-March here. The meditation retreat that I am attending starts March 13th, and it is in a town called Pomona, which is conveniently ~30 minutes from Noosa. I figured I could live/work until the start of the retreat, and then once that is finished I will be heading down towards Melbourne for my Dad’s 2 week visit in early April!
- I wanted some sort of stable living situation, whether it was working for accommodation at a hostel or in an apartment, airbnb, etc.
- I wanted to find part time work in the area, in either hospitality or retail.
- I wanted to meet some people who are also living and working in the area; it’s hard to build relationships with all of the travelers who are just passing through for a few days.
Looking back, my first week here was absolutely surreal. I booked a stay at Nomads hostel for about a week; it also happened to be pretty much the only local hostel with availability, and I didn’t love the fact that I was constantly thinking about what I would do if there were no beds available. Nomads was hiring for bar staff and housekeeping, but after a few days there I really wasn’t feeling it and wanted to keep my options open. I did meet some awesome people in my room the first 1-2 nights, but soon they had moved on and I was realizing how temporary everything would seem if I chose that route.
I had also spent a day preparing a new resume that talked up a range of things I’ve done since high school, in an attempt to appeal to the hospitality industry. When I think about it, it’s pretty wild that I’ve never worked in hospitality/restaurants before; with my lifeguarding job through high school and college, I really went straight into the real world without many oddd jobs along the way. I figured I had nothing to lose here, and a lot of the restaurants are really awesome right along the main strip/beach.
By Thursday of that same week, I was ready to start making rounds. I put on my nicest outfit and attempted to do my hair (lol) and was off! I walked up to Hastings Street and started going in and out of a few places with copies of my resume, asking to speak with a manager about whether or not they were hiring. The first place I chose said that the manager would be there in an hour, so I offered to come back at that time. From there, I talked with a few other places, left resumes at some, was told others weren’t hiring… etc. One guy told me that my 2 months here weren’t worth his time, and another turned me down on the principle that I “didn’t know how to hold 3 plates”, both of those made me laugh because, again, I really had nothing to lose and still had many options in the area. I saved my last resume for that first restaurant, and when I returned the manager was expecting me! I was straightforward with her about my timelines and lack of restaurant experience, and she offered to have me come in for a trial the next morning to see how things went. I was so stoked! I couldn’t believe that all it took was walking around for a few hours with a resume to find an opportunity.
I went in the next morning for the trial and was super focused on everything I was doing. During the day, the restaurant has counter service, so I was really just responsible for running food and drinks, bussing tables, greeting people as they came in. To me, that was a perfect set up, with none of the pressure of actually waiting tables. I quickly learned the million types of coffees served, kept an ear out for the bell and put on my best customer service face! I must’ve done something right because after 2 hours the manager said she was impressed and would be able to bring me on part time starting the following week. The buzz continued! I was so proud of myself that morning and excited to see how things would play out. I was given a bunch of paperwork to complete, and also needed to get an RSA certificate (responsible service of alcohol) so I had a few things to do over the next few days.
With a better idea for my “work life”, I started considering what I could do for housing. That afternoon I found a Noosa Backpackers Facebook page and started browsing through some of the recent posts, where people were sharing housing information. I came across a post from 2 Dutch girls, who said they would be living/working in the area for a month or two and wanted to find someone to go in on an Airbnb. I sent them a message with some quick clarifications about timelines, budget, etc. and we agreed to meet for a drink to see if we wanted to move forward with it. For 6 weeks in the apartment they found, it would be a daily cost equivalent to what I was paying per night at Nomads, so it was really a no brainer for me to consider the opportunity. We got along well over a drink and decided to make the booking! Enter my new roommates, Judith and Esther. We would be “moving in” a few days later, on the 15th. So, within 1 week of being in Noosa, I had secured a job and a place to live. To say I was satisfied with myself is an understatement!!
In the meantime, I had also met a nice Australian boy who would probably be embarrassed to know I am talking about him here, and would also make fun of me for gushing about him in my “diary”. But the story wouldn’t be complete without you, Haydn! We had hung out a bunch over that week and just got along really well; we were both excited to have the chance to get to know each other even though we were each living here on a temporary basis (he’s living with a friend in town while on a work assignment). Overall, I was feeling really whole in so many aspects of my life. It was easy for me to be amazed by my “luck”, but looking back I am more confident that these things all came together for me for a reason. Since leaving home, I’ve been consciously trying to tap into the world of positive energy, the concept of emitting positive energy and attracting it in return, in various forms of people and opportunities. I looked at my life here within just a few days and hoenstly felt like I had done something right to earn this, and in those moments I did not question whether or not I was deserving of it. I was caught up in genuine excitement and happiness and of course I deserve this. Those first few days here were some of the best I’ve had and I will always remember them with a full heart.
So we moved in to the apartment which is right in the middle of town and I started work that second week. I enjoyed getting to know Esther, Judith and Haydn better and began to feel a routine developing for me here. I was learning a ton at the restaurant and spending my time off at the beach, relaxing at home, going for runs on the coastal path. Noosa doesn’t have a ton of crazy nightlife, which is fine by me. I’ve enjoyed going for casual drinks and enjoying the sunset from the comfort of our balcony. It feels great to have access to free laundry, a full kitchen and the privacy of a clean bathroom. Mentally, I gave myself the month of January to enjoy the free time without any internal nagging about whether or not I was being “productive”.
As of this week, the beginning of February, things have slowed down a bit here. School holidays have ended, and while it still feels like summer, the crowds have left town. Unfortunately, my hours at work have also died down too, and that is a challenge I am currently working through. I intentionally saved money and planned for my year+ abroad, so fortunately I am not in a desperate situation financially. But there is the aspect of time, and if I am not working even 20 hours a week, what am I doing for the next month? Is it worth looking for a second job? Should I fill my time with hobbies, exercise and other activities in the area? I am still working through these circumstances and am not sure how things will play out over the next month. I am taking things day by day here and believe that everything will happen as it’s meant to. My underlying goal will remain the same though; over the next month I want to gain some sort of value and benefit from my time here. That may not be through the obvious route I initially imagined (working/making back some money), but that doesn’t mean it can’t be achieved in another way. Maybe this month will be about self love and self care, investing time in parts of myself that I have never focused on before. I’ve struggled with keeping routines in the past, so I really want to incorporate consistent exercise and meditation into my days. Things here will change and evolve over the next month; my roommates and I talk every day about our jobs and what else we could possibly do, Haydn will move on to a different assignment in a new location. I am turning 26 in two days, and so my next trip around the sun will begin, holding endless possibilities for growth and change.
When I think back to where and who I was in November, it feels like a different lifetime. No matter how hard I tried, I could not have imagined everything I would have and who I would be at this stage in my travels. I’m happy with how far I’ve come, in really just a few weeks. Mid February will mark 3 months away, and that leaves me with so much time still ahead of me. It’s thrilling but still sometimes scary. I am learning to accept the uncertainty of it all, and remain open to anything that comes my way, as it is all pieces that will make up the large whole of this entire journey.
And with that, I am caught up! This is my current world, I am sitting on my balcony as the sun begins to set. I woke up this morning and gave myself a fresh start. I cleared my mind and set some serious intentions for the coming days. Tomorrow I will start again.