Welcome to OZ

With all the planning and paperwork just about completed and a Bank balance secured to be allowed into the Country, Jess settled down to enjoy the Vegetable Cannelloni and her flight with Virgin Australia. Besides from including the Visa which had to be obtained before leaving the UK, the STA Work Package included the following benefits below.

Firstly, the Airport transfer to the Hostel via an email link. The Airport transfer would take her and other fellow backpackers to the ‘Wake Up!’ Hostel in Sydney for a stay of 5 nights – food not included – to start the Australian Dream. ‘Wake Up!’ is a 2 minute walk from the nearby STA Sydney Branch that would hold the ‘Orientation Day’ (the following day). There she would get lots of other Work Package benefits – a mobile SIM card, a pre-paid Opal card ($25), a work mentor, help with setting up Medicare, Job assist, Tax File Number, CV help and ability to print out forms and use computers.

Before leaving they had also sent lots of advice and tutorial videos to help including setting up a Bank Account. All that Jess had to do was locate the Bank and ‘present’ herself to get her Bank card. All of this was a lot easier than she thought, and for her it was worth paying a bit extra for the Work Package. There were no hiccups and it did what it said!

What wasn’t easy was being in her own company!!

THE CHINESE GARDEN OF FRIENDSHIP, SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

After a few weeks of laid back Island life, City Life was quite a bombshell! Having made new friends and then saying goodbye to them, including Pat and Matt – who still had a month left travelling before arriving in Oz – Jessie after arriving 10 hours earlier wanted to get the first plane back!

Everything was too BIG, and loud and alienating. After a long reassuring pep talk and a midnight room swap – organised by the very good staff at ‘Wake Up!’ – into a much smaller, quieter, all female dorm, Jess woke up the next day with a much healthier, positive attitude.

Off she went to get her Bank sorted and a little walk around the area. Lots of interesting places to discover – ‘Wake Up!’ is located on Pitt Street in the China Town area of Sydney. The beautiful Chinese Garden of Friendship is a 10 minute walk. A good place to be by oneself. The Orientation day went very well and by the end of Day 2 Jess had a long list of things to sort and do. This included signing up and paying for a 5 Day Surf Camp featured at the Orientation.

“It jus seems sick”. and “I’ll meet loads of people there as well”

So at the top of the list was Putting name down for Surf Camp – 5 days of surfing at Seven Mile Beach, living in huts, all meals included! I reminded her about her final Rabies Jab. But she had sorted it already, she had to go to a Doctor and get a referral to another doctor.

“it’s quite straightforward”

YEAR OF THE DANCING PIG FEBRUARY 2019, AUSTRALIA

At 8:30 pm Jess had butterflies and the sick feeling in her stomach again, she couldn’t stand the feeling of being alone and didn’t’ want to stay. But by 10:30 pm a new girl arrived in the dorm and asked her if she wanted to watch the fireworks going on outside – It was Year of the Pig and a lot of early celebrations were occurring. Bingo!! New friend. The following day the pair met another girl and they went on a Tour Book walking tour! -Amazing!

“I’m currently in an Art Gallery”

A few hours later they were off to Manly on the ferry at the discounted Sunday Price of $2.50 instead of $7.50. Jessie’s new friend recognised a few young women on Manly and they very kindly bought them all a bottle of Prosecco for lunch. Sailing by Sydney Opera House with excellent company and the rest of the day at Manly to enjoy Jessie had found her rhythm again.

SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE
FRIENDS ON MANLY ISLAND

Jessie had to pack and get ready to go to Surf Camp. The hostel were helpful and allowed her to cut her stay short by one night but let her have that night back in a weeks time for her return. This must be common practice as she was given a card to keep and show on her return. Seven Mile Beach is a 2 hour drive South of Sydney and the tour bus collected her at 9am. Let’s just say she was very excited! There is limited Wifi there, but it can be bought for extra cash if desperate. The camp uploads photos and videos so after 2 days I was able to see how much fun she was having. It was a healthy, happy, positive place. She did manage to get a few messages to me though –

“Stood up 4 times today”

“Soz, just got back from surf was such a good day we are about to eat and look at the film they made”

Jess made lots of good buddies and happy memories plus acquired a new skill and love of Surfing. They had great food and the staff were excellent hosts. Jess shared a hut with 5 other girls of all different nationalities. She found out that she loved being outside and by the sea and didn’t want to be in the City.

With that in mind she made the decision to buy a Greyhound Pass to travel North along the coast after the camp and meet up with some good friends who were also in Oz. Luckily STA in the UK were still having their Winter Sale and Jess was able to buy a 45 Day Greyhound Pass for the price of a 21 Day Pass. She emailed her work mentor at Work OZ / STA in Sydney and they organised it, she just had to pay. Excellent News!

Jess planned ahead and got a seat reserved to go to Byron Bay the day after her return from Surf Camp. She had her one night at ‘Wake Up!’ already booked and a day to explore Sydney a little more.

Plus a friend from home had bought Jess an Airbnb experience. Jessie had been looking forward to this since she arrived in Australia – A walk around Cadi Jam Ora, an award winning garden in The Royal Botanical Garden, Sydney. She was to have a one to one tour with a guide who could share his knowledge about the culture of Aboriginal Peoples and the Cadigal and let her enjoy her love of being in good company!

HAPPY SURF CAMP PHOTO
SURF CAMP
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Soooo I Got A Tattoo……

Settling back into the Canggu Community of hipster Bali, Pat’s original travelling companion Matt joined them at the Jungle House Hotel. Pat and Matt had been travelling since October through Nepal, Vietnam and Thailand.

With another Skater lad to hang out with and watch Jess thought it time to make some girlfriends. Plucking up courage she made a few failed attempts at not bonding. Making new ‘Girl’ friends at this point in her travelling experience was extremely difficult. The three travellers moved on to Canggu Castle which Jess thought was the best hostel they had stayed in so far. Persevering with her attempts at making finally paid off.

“She’s 22, so not a lot older than me compared to everyone else.”

Jess’s new German friend was travelling alone and was a good tonic of spirit, fun and company! An American followed and a couple of Portuguese soon after. So while the lads were Skating Jess and her new friends had a few good days of “bonding”, “chilling”, “exploring” and shopping at Old Man’s Sunday Market.

CANGGU CASTLE BALI

I am glad my daughter loves food! I am not surprised one of her favourite places to eat was Ithaka Canggu! As someone who has suffered from “Hangar” since she was little this menu can refuel any foodie!

For less than £3 healthy portions of Gado Gado – Peanut Sauce with Veggies and Rice or Nasi Goreng – with Sambal Sauce or Pad Thai etc… etc… can be devoured. Western Fusion Food is also on the menu – The Canggu Combo – Veggies, eggplant balls, Tapas, omelette, rice fritters, and samba sauce. They even serve Tapas, or Build your own Sandwiches -Yummy!

Jess also loved the local Balinese ‘Warung’s’ and even though she had become ‘Veggie” liked ‘Shmurger” at Berawa’s Kitchen. Jess is also a bit of an avocado fan.

I THINK THIS IS PIZZA?


BREAKFAST

Fifteen days into her trip I was still missing Jess very much. I am not sure why people become tearful when they are happy to see someone they miss. But I felt relieved and happy and sad all at the same time and during a video call must have come across as a wounded animal.

So my Gen’Z child sends me a lovely comforting “Don’t cry” message then slam dunks me with ….

“Soooooo….I got a tattoo….don’t shoot me…What’d u think?….

“Followed shortly by a cheeky message of photos

“…Here’s some pics if u miss my face”.

Like the Yoga classes in Ubud Jessie had been researching where to get a Tattoo done – La Femme Tattoo House does have an impressive Instagram account, and a day after her 2nd Rabies injection my daughter, the first person in my family entered ‘La Femme Tattoo House’ in Badung and let a talented tattoo artist inscribe in ink her arm with “dainty fine lines”.

Pat and Matt’s mums later found out their boys had been “inked” in Thailand and they were also left temporarily speechless. I had given Jess a pashmina before she left the UK to wear in Temples, this apparently is perfect for keeping the Sun off a new Tattoo!

The final few days in Bali started to become more entangled with all the Australian travel and work plans. Instead of going back to Ubud they stayed on at Canggu Castle for a few more days, soaking up Pretty Poison Vibes and being sociable. La Laguna was a perfect place for “hipster” Somerset types who are accustomed to Bunting and Wagons! Then they moved in convoy on scooters and in a Gojeck to Uluwata in the South of Bali. This would also make it easier for the Airport.

LA LAGUNA BALI
PADANG PADANG BEACH

The three buddies stayed at the Karma Backpacker Hostel and relaxed on Padang Padang beach. Jessie’s favourite place to eat was ‘Single Fin’. A bar/Cafe/Restaurant/Shop overlooking “a surfers spiritual home” – The Indian Ocean. Set above the Warung’s along the Suluban Beach and below the Blue Point Hotel and Spa.

Cocktails on the balcony and a dip in the pool?

“Don’t catch me drinking my daiquiri”

Here you can have Acai Berries and Revolver coffee for breakfast in the Nula Bowl Shack, Uluwata Burgers and Coconut Pudding in the Restaurant for Lunch, Tapas for Dinner and Late night Cocktails and Music on Thursdays and Sundays. Jess said the Cocktails were around £5.

SINGLE FIN ULUWATA

Being ex-dancers, skaters , gymnasts and adventurers they had to see the Kecak Fire Dance at the Open Air Amphitheatre on the cliff top by the Temple. With the Sunsetting into the Indian Ocean as the backdrop to this Great Hindu Epic Story it must be rather impressive. They missed the performance in Ubud which featured an all female cast. This one was all Male.

Jess, still wearing her pashmina was perfectly dressed for the performance. The lads were given beautiful purple sarongs to tie around their waists that covered their legs. Jessie found it amusing that everyone used their story sheets that explained the performance as Fans to waft away the heat. This was a good end to her trip on the Island of Bali, the only problem now was being on her own in Australia and missing Pat.

FIRE DANCE ULUWATA
BALCONY OVERLOOKING THE INDIAN OCEAN
SO LONG !
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‘Echo Beach, Far Away In Time’

Two good old friends, both women, recommended Echo Beach and Canggu as safe and cool places to visit on the Island of Bali. Growing up in London during the 1980’s I had only heard of Echo Beach through my love of New Wave and Post Punk Music. Martha and The Muffins wrote the best ever Nostalgic, Intellectual, Dreamy Beach and Surf Song with their hit ‘Echo Beach’. It was inspiring! It conjured up visions of Blue sea, gentle waves and Stunning Sunsets in Faraway lands. ( I find it hard to believe it is about Chesil Beach, like some people say – It’s windy and freezing and clunky with massive pebbles there). I Google Earthed the route from the beach to MojoSurf Hostel several times to get a feel for it, and wished I could be there too!

PRETTY POISON

Jess and Pat stayed at the Ahoy Hostel after Mojo and then went on to House of Canggu . Between Canggu and Berawa is Pretty Poison – perfect for these two, as both enjoy this Hipster/Grunge ‘Bintang’ drinking nightlife and had a skateboard in tow. That nights’ What’s App message was

“He’s Happy, he’s skating”

Pretty Poison is the brainchild of a Mum from Bondi – Clever Woman! How creative and full of life is this place? Reminding me again of my youth.

The words in Jess’s photo made me happy!

On day 6 of her trip I missed several phone calls. I didn’t panic as it didn’t feel like I should, but finally Jess got me with a Face Time call. I could instantly see something was wrong. While ‘carting’ around on the back of a scooter and waiting at a red traffic light, a scruffy dog ran out of a shop and bit Jessie on the calf leaving two puncture wounds. What’s sad about this is she has been practically brought up with dogs her whole life and has never been scared or bitten by one, and she felt sorry for this one.

Pat was a hero and drove her around several Medical Emergency Rooms before finding one with the correct vaccine. Having already had the Rabies injections in the UK, I was unaware you had to have more if bitten. Within an hour of the bite a wonderful nurse and Doctor at Abdi Medicca in Canggu treated her and made her feel well.

They paid on different cards as it cost £250 and started an insurance claim that night. But it didn’t end there. Jess broke out in hives and had an allergic reaction to the antibiotics within an hour of taking them. I phoned her Doctors in the UK and told them what medicines had been given to her only to be told – yes she’s allergic to that one. Pat was a hero for the second time that night and ‘carted’ her back so the Doctor could administered the antidote!

Before the trip we had spent a longtime working out what Medical Kit to take. What we should have done is written a list of allergies to medicines and foods!

NASI GORENG

The next day they were “In a Grab going to Ubud” Already over her Rabies Bite Injury and Shock and was looking forward to her stay in Ubud. Lunch was ready – Nasi Goreng,

“I’m vegetarian now as well”

They stayed at the WWBackpacker Hostel with views to the river and Rice paddy fields. Jess had read a Blog by a Girl into Yoga and was going to go to one not far away called the ‘Ubud Yoga House’ which was according to the Blog the best one for Beginners.

She also bought herself some books amazingly!

‘How to Fight” by Thich Nhat Hanh (Zen Master)

and ‘The Courage to be Disliked’ by Chiro Kishimi & Fumitake Koga.

Who said Gen Z’s can’t read physical books?? I am extremely proud of my daughter for encouraging her inner Zen, looking after herself with Yoga and not being scared of dogs (see photo of Hostel entrance) .

FRIENDLY HOSTEL DOGS


Not sure what HOTMAIL is thinking when it blocks travellers from their own account for 30 days!!! Especially when they are in the middle of Indonesia with no Sim card!! Both of them had issues with this. Suspicious events in Indonesia? Locked out ! Yes, that is them trying to look at their emails! I would suggest as a mum, that your travelling Kids have a couple of email addresses set up and maybe your own mobile as security in case they need to verify their account – but this takes a month to be set up. I ended up taking pictures of her emails and What’s App-ing them to her. Bring back Faxes.

Rice Terraces

At Gypsy Lust Hostel they had Rooftop Yoga, a Large Swan to Swim with and Sunrise Trekking. They also walked along the Campuhan Ridge.

Ubud

And visited the Rice Paddies and went to the Waterfalls dodging the rain. Jess said there was a lot more to do in Ubud and had a lot of fun.

Campuhan Ridge
Rainy Season

Dilemma – The weather isn’t great you have one day left before returning to Canggu for your 2nd Rabies Vaccine which you cannot miss and it may be your only chance to Walk up an Active Volcano in the Dark! Of course she went. A 2am ride to Mount Batur and a 2 hour Hike with torches up a wet Volcano 1,717 metres High.

Well, I think this young Woman can be proud of herself. In the photos on Social Media this trip looks magical like you have actually been flown up to the top in blue skies and a magical sunrise appears.

The reality of this trip was – You can do it! You did DofE! In wind and rain in the dark up quite steep slopes that were slippery the finish line at the top was a huge achievement – you had survived! And the view even in the clouds was still worth it as can be seen in the ecstatic wind swept faces of Jess and her travelling companions.

“@*!?*Did it A *@?!* active Volcano n I have climbed it.”

Mt Batur
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How Time Flies!

Jessie loves flying which is a great attribute, as I on the other hand have to micro manage every part of boarding a plane, the take off ritual of putting my Kate Bush CD on loud enough so I can’t hear the planes engines, frying my eardrums. Then again during landing, playing the same song over and over again to keep calm, panicking if I haven’t got the right track on. Having sweets ready at hand to suck on and water to sip – it’s ridiculous but it works for me. I knew Jessie would be looking forward to the in-flight food and films and was lucky enough not to have any weird behaviours like mine. This was a relief in itself, and after our last goodbye and final text that she was boarding it was still a massive jolt that she was off.

Thai Airways Airbus

The Thai Airways flight to Bangkok took off just after midday and I started work at 1:30pm which was a good thing as for the next 7 hours I would be pre-occupied with work and the time would fly by. At midnight I received my first text from her.

“Hi, I’m in Bali – no wait I mean Bangkok”

It made me laugh, classic Jess – half way round the world and kind of knows where she is. She described the flight as being in darkness the whole time and now the sun was rising in Bangkok! In a few more hours the next leg of the journey to Bali would be complete and she would meet up with her ‘childhood sweetheart’ who she hadn’t seen for 3 months for a 3 week holiday before venturing off to Australia on her own.

Photo by Oliver Sju00f6stru00f6m on Pexels.com

Pat met her at the airport with a taxi and off they went to the hostel I booked near Echo Beach for 4 days and then they were on their own. I met a woman in a nice bookstore in Bath who worked in the travel section, and she said to me her mum always use to book the first hostel in a country she went to just to give them both some piece of mind and get sorted out. I thought this good advice and even though I booked it I didn’t pay for it. Cash on the day!

Another piece of good advice I was given was from a friend who lives in South East Asia is that you need plenty of cash in Bali – all kinds, US dollars, AUS dollars, Indonesian Rupiah, UK Pound coins.

Two weeks before Jess left the UK we had been made aware of Travel Cash Cards including Monzo and Starling Bank – this has to be one of the best financial accessories to have if travelling. She now can transfer money from her bank account into Starling and use it without incurring hefty exchange fees. She was lucky it got set up and arrived so quickly.

After Jessie’s first full day in Bali I received this encouraging Gen Z’ message…..

Wasson” “Been to the beach today – Pat’s got a scooter so we’re both carting around on that”, ” We got some food at this Peng restuarant…”, “£1.60 for all dis”
 
Lunch!
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