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  • angelikaklaus92

My first days in Fremantle: panic, moments of happiness, changing plans and more happiness

Fremantle, Western Australia, 20th March 2023: My first days in Fremantle fly by. I meet new people, find my first friends here and slowly get a routine: I start with a morning yoga session behind the prison walls and usually end the day with a sunset on the beach. I try my first Argentinian mate and philosophize with like-minded people about the meaning of life. I am simply grateful and happy about my decision of leaving everything behind and making this step into freedom.

Another highlight: I met my friend Alka. We met in Bali in 2016, then met again with our Bali group in Prague in 2017 and as she moved to Perth, we see us again here. So who says that friendships that you make while traveling don't last?

However, despite all the positive impressions, the first doubts slowly creep in. I hear from other backpackers how difficult it is to find jobs or once you find a job, there are is no accommodation... “There are just too many backpackers”. On my second evening, a Dutch woman complained about her life: 5 months of looking for a job, only disappointments, hostels with waiting lists, overpriced campsites and the question of whether she should go home early. WOW!! This lady managed to completely freak me out within an hour of talking. I've already realized the difficult housing situation, but I didn't expect it to be that bad. How am I supposed to find a job? Will my whole plan fail? Completely confused and with a slight panic building up, I go to bed. I am awake for hours. I even question my trip to Rottnest Island that I booked for the next day with a turkish backpacker that I met in my hostel. I already went to Rottnest island in 2017, so why am I spending $100 to go again? Shouldn't I save the money better in case I end up like the Dutch woman?

The next morning the world looks different. We left the hostel and my turkish friend tries to calm me down. Maybe the lady was just very picky, which makes finding a job difficult for her. He told me that all his friends and himself found both jobs and accommodation. You just have to move your ass and also it's about how you walk up to people.

When we arrived on Rottnest Island, our worries disappeared. I'm looking forward to the day, the quokkas and the lovely memories I had from my last Rottnest Island trip with my good friend Sonja. We were in Western Australia together in 2017 when she started her work & travel year and I had three weeks holiday. Attention, travel tip: Rottnest Island is a small island off Perth on which you can only move around walking or cycling. The landscape is beautiful, you can snorkel and meet the unique quokkas.

Sorry, back to the story. We are just about to get our bikes ready when I suddenly receive a call. An Aussie number is calling. Weird...hardly anyone knows my new number... Full of excitement, I pick up and can't believe my ears: A YHA hostel near Margaret River, in the southwest of Australia, is calling me to offer me a place on the waiting list. Yes, you read correctly… The hostel situation in some places is that bad, that they have waiting lists and these hostels usually don't even appear on booking websites anymore. When I did some research I found about this hostel, the waiting lists and decided to give it a go and message some hostels in the Margaret River area.

And since I really wanted to go to Margaret River in April, I sent my number to the hostel the day before and luckily, someone has dropped out and now they are calling me and offering me a bed there. And the best thing: I can stay as long as I want as the hostel is designed for long-term guests. Wow!!!

Are you wondering why I plan to go to Margaret River? In April 2023, the Margaret River Pro, one of THE WSL surf contests, will take place in Margaret River. Working there, surfing and having the opportunity to stop by the contest and see all the pro surfers would be a dream.

At first speechless and full of joy, I immediately confirm the offer. What a stroke of luck! My turkish friend celebrates the first triumph with me and reminds me again of his words that if you try hard, you will find a job and accommodation. All doubts are now forgotten and I'm looking forward to what's to come. I can already see myself between Gabriel Medina and Kelly Slater on the beach in Margaret River... After this successful phone call, the day can only be good. We finally set off, meet two of his friends and enjoy the island together... and of course visit the quokkas.

Even in the next days, everything seems to work out perfectly. The Australian bank account has been created and although I haven't received my tax number yet, I apply for a few jobs. I mean it cannot hurt to start having a look into the job market. right? I guess it takes a while, so it's good to start early... That's what she says on a Saturday afternoon not knowing that by Monday evening, I will be offered a job in Monkey Mia, nine hours north of Perth.

I just can't believe how lucky I am. FYI: Monkey Mia is a resort/caravan park in Shark Bay, Western Australia and is known for its dolphin and dugong population, which attracts tourists worldwide. There is a general store there that sells souvenirs and food and I am supposed to start in this shop from March 31st.

And then everything happens very quickly: clarifying a few formalities, signing the contract, cancelling the remaining nights in my current hostel and planning the trip to Monkey Mia. And what about Margaret River? Well... that's why I don't like to plan too much. Plans change anyways. Margaret River and Gabriel Media have to wait. It hurts not visiting the surf contest, but I just can't decline this job offer. And by saying that, I am planning my trip up north. I try to discover some places on the way up to Monkey Mia, book various buses, hostels, tours and off I am. I am packing my belongings and just like a hermit crab, I make my way up the coast.

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