I'm a twenty-something American guy who has been considering an extended trip to Australia, ever since I visited for a few weeks in 2008. Last night I decided to be bold and finally applied for a
. I woke up and found the visa approval email in my inbox. Talk about fast!
Excellent... so now what? How do I pause my established life and go on an adventure? How do I let people know, especially at work? I have a fair amount of stuff tying me down at home, but I think I need to leave in a few months or it's never going to happen.
I didn't go backpacking after college, opting to enter the work force. I always said that I'd make some money, and THEN travel... the former has happened, but all of my adventures have been short trips after big projects at work. The student loans are finally paid off, so I figure I have no excuse not to go on a 6-12 month adventure. Plus the USD is doing better against the AUD than it was last year when I visited, which may help me at the start of my trip.
I expect that the adventure may involve a few months of backpacking around, and a few months of living and working white-collar job(s) in either Sydney or Melbourne. There are plenty of resources for how to survive once you embark on your adventure, how to plan your stay, etc., but I'm not finding much on how to line things up before then. Dealing with all of the logistics is a bit overwhelming!
I have a nice job, but obviously I'd need to leave it in some capacity. I could quit on good terms, or perhaps stay on as a part-time remote consultant (small software company). I have plenty of vested stock options, and plenty that haven't vested yet. I also have a fairly absurd quantity of paid vacation in the bank. I could start using that to go on vacations, or cash it out when I leave. I'm also wondering about how much notice I should give regarding my plans. (This is the main reason this is Anonymous. Some people at work read MeFi, and may not like to hear that I'm planning to go. Yes, this is far from foolproof, but I'll deal with it...)
I have twelve months from now to show up in the country. I'd like to spend a bit more time at my job saving up money, and I have committed to visiting family in the midwest this coming Christmas. So I'm looking at January as my earliest visa start date. I have an important family wedding here in the states in Fall 2010 that I'd want to attend, perhaps leaving Australia for good at that point, or using it as a holiday from my holiday. Should I buy my flight sooner or later? Buying it would probably light a fire under me in terms of making sure the trip actually happens!
Breaking my lease:
I'm currently in the process of finding a new apartment at home. All of the places I'm looking want me to sign a 1 year lease. Obviously, I'd need to leave the country before then. Should I be disclosing this ahead of time, even though it may hurt my ability to find a place? My neighborhood is popular, so finding someone to sublet or take over the lease may be reasonable.
I have a lot of money invested in material possessions, but I don't need to sell stuff to be able to afford this trip. Obviously I'm only going to be able to take the essentials with me. No car, no furniture, no art, no entertainment center, no multi-computer multi-monitor setup. If I'm planning on coming back, should I just get a storage unit? Find friends to babysit the nicer stuff while I'm gone? Sell the stuff that I don't have a strong attachment to?
Advice, anecdotes, warnings, links, etc. appreciated. Feel free to write me at: firstname.lastname@example.org