With almost four years of content filling the pages of this weblog, it’s not uncommon for new visitors to not really understand where and how this all started. It would take quite some time for somebody to go back through all the drivel, but it also takes a bit of time to answer the emails. The best way to deal with this is to create a post recapping the evolution of Brooke vs. the World.
I had an idea that turned into an obsession. Why wait to see the world? Why spend a few weeks here and there when I could get more travel for my money when taken in bulk?
- I tested the waters by throwing out the idea here and there, trying to see the response I would get to long-term travel.
- I joined BootsnAll to be a part of a community of like-minded people.
- I started the first version of my website, made with Frontpage, to document the journey.
- I read as many travel blogs as possible in order to research travel plans.
- I saved and penny-pinched as much as I could.
Saving money was a challenge, but it was also fun. It was quite rewarding to look at my numbers and see how far I had come along. The main tip I could give is to first take a hard look at how much money you spend each week or month, and where exactly that money is going. Then, if there is anything you can manage to do without, simply stop making it a part of your life. As cliche as it may sound, not spending that $5 on a Starbucks coffee everyday can really go a long way in some countries, even getting you a full hour of one-on-one Russian lessons in Central Asia.
Since I knew I wanted to see anything and everything, I basically decided to keep it all a bit open-ended. I set a money goal instead that would give me enough leeway to be flexible on the road.
- I worked a full-time job, a bit of overtime, and an evening job as a waitress for a while.
- I sold my belongings on eBay, Amazon and Craigslist.
- I got a gazillion vaccinations, and started early at that.
- I became extremely burned out at work.
- In a little over 1.5 years, I saved up around $23k.
- On a whim, I booked a month-long archaeological dig in Spain.
- I quit my job, and headed off!
- I spent a month on the island of Menorca, Spain unearthing a Roman fort and meeting some great people.
- I came home for the holidays.
- I headed to Guatemala for 2 months, studied Spanish for nearly a month of that, and managed to touch ground in Mexico and Honduras in the process.
- I came home for 3 weeks.
- I headed off to Poland for 2 weeks, Ukraine for 1 week, and then off to my big adventure in Central Asia.
- I studied Russian in Kyrgyzstan for around 5 months and made a couple of stops over in Kazakhstan as well.
- I came home for 1 month.
- I headed back to Kazakhstan, but found out I got a job teaching English in Ukraine.
- I headed over to the Baltic countries for about 6 weeks, killing time while waiting for my teaching job to begin.
- I met my Aussie boyfriend in Latvia, but had to part ways when heading to Ukraine.
- I taught in the Ukrainian winter, lasting only 5 months there.
- I headed to Australia to work and holiday (but mainly work).
My life in Australia and beyond.
I’ve been in Sydney for over a year now, and it has been a long ride for sure. I’ve worked a few different jobs, starting with teaching English virtually to kids in Korea. I’ve lived at four different locations around the city, but have now been at my current apartment for 10 months at the time of writing this, which is probably the longest I have stayed put ANYWHERE in the past 8 years of my life.
I have been able to stay and work here with two separate visas. The first was a sponsored work visa for 4 months from Bunac. I then left the country last July to get the official “Work and Holiday” visa for Americans. I spent about 10 days on the north island of New Zealand while waiting for it to process. I will have to leave Australia again this coming July [to get a tourist visa (ETA) for Oz], hopefully to the south island this time if I can find a flight I am happy with. Then, it is back to Australia, where I can start thinking about a partner visa with my boyfriend.
Besides New Zealand, I have some upcoming travels planned for within Australia, and will hopefully book up some more soon. You’ll be able to read about it over at WhyGo Australia. I also dream of the day I get to take Patrick to America and show him my neck of the woods, or the day I get to visit my friend and his new hostel in Vilnius, or the day that I get to start learning another language in a distant land.
It has been a weird ride, but good in so many ways. Thank you to everyone that reads, follows, comments, tweets and links to this site. Throughout all the changes in the past few years, blogging and sharing has been a constant for me.
**Updated December 2011**
So MUCH has happened in my world since posting this story, so I feel it necessary to properly update the post. Since writing:
- I have gone to Christchurch, NZ to hang out and get a new visa for Australia.
- I came back to Australia to partake on an epic east coast adventure.
- I went on a Sydney circle tour in a Jucy campervan with Pat.
- I applied for the partner visa.
- I visited the Gold Coast on a press trip.
- I had really high hopes for my 2011, and I even tried to do a photo and a post for every day of the year.
- We moved back in with Pat’s parents.
- We traveled to Malaysia, and then to the USA (my first trip home in 3 years).
- I ate a lot of food and then had to exercise it off!
- I came to the realization that media trips are hard work after a week long adventure in Queensland.
- After 11.5 months of waiting, I got my partner visa!
- I traveled for 5 weeks without Pat to Turkey, Kyrgyzstan and a day in Thailand.