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How I Became a Working Holiday Visa Addict

Rachael during her first working holiday in Canada. Rachael Doyle

One working holiday down, countless to go. 

My journey working and living overseas began in 2015 when, after visiting my brother in Canada and falling in love with the country, I applied for a working holiday visa for two years.

I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to do with it at first, but having put off my "gap year" for almost three years, I just knew I was ready to leave the UK. Since graduating university in London, my life had consisted of a nine-to-five desk job as a journalist and I often found myself daydreaming of faraway lands. I was lucky enough to travel with work, and living in Europe meant a flight to pretty much whichever European city I wanted was quick and affordable. So, I started a travel blog to pass the time until I could travel full-time. (I was one of the many people telling myself I "couldn’t afford it yet," or it "just wasn’t the right time.")

The whole process of applying for the visa was painstakingly slow and stressful, but also completely thrilling at the same time. Knowing I was packing up my whole life and moving it across the Atlantic was enough to keep me going in my mundane office job.

Knowing I was packing up my whole life and moving across the Atlantic was enough to keep me going in my mundane office job.

Six months after the initial application, I had my visa and was on a plane to Vancouver. I went through The Working Holiday Club to set up a job in the ski resort town of Whistler.

I had a newfound love for the cold and snowboarding so I thought it was be a great experience. I underestimated it. As cliché as it sounds, it was one of the best experiences of my life—and the best decision I’ve ever made for myself.

Now, I’m six months in to my second working holiday visa in Australia and have New Zealand lined up for 2019. So far, it hasn’t been as positive as my Canadian working holiday, but it’s made me realize that it can’t always be sunshine and rainbows. Travelling full-time and living away from your home country is hard, no matter how much you want it.

At the end of the day, my daily life is full of new challenges and adventures, and I’m living more than I ever could in the same city I’d grown up in for the first 23 years of my life. Since 2015 I’ve travelled the west coast of the USA, Cayman Islands, road-tripped Canada, Cuba, Prague, back home to the UK, Austria, New Zealand, Australia and Mexico (twice).

Lately, I’ve been working hard to save for an epic Australian road-trip—the first section of which begins this month. I’ll be driving the east coast of Queensland in a 4x4 truck, complete with rooftop tent—real Aussie-style! I am so excited for the adventure to start—I’ll be filling my days with beaches, islands, sunshine, writing, reading, photographing and hiking.

After Australia, I plan on getting a working holiday visa for New Zealand for a year, to work and save for a big road-trip around both the North and South Islands.

After that? Who knows!

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Published in Work Abroad Blogs
Rachael Doyle

Rachael Doyle is a British expat working her way around the world one visa at a time. Currently Down Under in Australia, she’s saving for an epic road trip. Find her hiking, snowboarding or chilling on a secluded beach.

Website: www.hilltopsandflipflops.com

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