20 Things That Will Surprise You About Moving to Australia

20 Things That Will Surprise You About Moving to Australia

I’ve been living in Australia for a year, and I think it’s the best country on Earth. It’s BEAUTIFUL. The coastlines are beautiful, the men are beautiful, the food is beautiful. The entire culture is super laid-back, work-life balance is high-priority, and everyone just seems a lot happier and more relaxed than back home in the US.

But moving there was not the smooth transition that I expected. I assumed, since it was an English-speaking, similarly-developed country, that I would just fit right in. I was wrong. Horribly, horribly wrong.

Pretty much every day when I first moved, I encountered something that totally baffled me. Random animals kept falling from trees or flying at me. Someone would say a word I didn’t understand, I’d try to order something and receive something completely different, or I’d wildly misinterpret some local custom. Australia is the best, but it’s also a unique and weird place that takes some getting used to! Here are the 20 things that surprised me most.

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Tongariro Alpine Crossing: The Best and Most Terrifying Hike Of My Life

Tongariro Alpine Crossing: The Best and Most Terrifying Hike Of My Life

Have you ever climbed a mountain during 40+ mph winds in zero visibility, pretty confident you were about to die? I have, and it turns out that it’s… kind of fun? I never would have guessed I was the kind of girl who enjoyed battling the elements, but it turns out I loved adventure way before I realized I loved adventure.

New Zealand’s Tongariro Crossing is an alpine hike, which means that conditions can be extreme. The weather turned from calm to terrifying in just over an hour. Not only was the wind strong enough to literally blow me off the path, I could barely see through the fog. The scenery I could see was amazing, but I was too focused on surviving to enjoy it for long.

When all the tour groups gathered at the trailhead after the hike, EVERYONE had a crazy story to share. Some people who went further up had to crawl back down on all fours, and one person actually fell and rolled down part of the descent.  At one point I legitimately thought I was going to blow off the mountain to my death. Needless to say, this was the best I’ve hike ever done.

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The Stupid and Embarrassing Way My Adventure Started

The Stupid and Embarrassing Way My Adventure Started

So how did all of this start? In probably the most hilarious, ironic way of all time for a girl who loves flying… I got dumped in an airport.

I had been dating this guy for just over two years (and five more on/off). We had just flown 15 hours from Sydney to San Francisco to attend my brother’s wedding when my ex unexpectedly pulled out a letter — a letter he’d written in Australia and carried with him the entire flight — and handed it to me. Over the airport subway gate. After I had already gone through said gate and he hadn’t. I didn’t think things like this actually happened in real life!! I spent the following week at home feeling sorry for myself and thinking of myself as a cool tragic hero, the Saddest Person Ever™, feeling superior for having the breakup story to top all breakup stories.

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