Just over a year ago, I set out a plan in my head to go to Australia. It was never a very detailed plan, but it was a plan to get me to a country I’d wanted to go to for as long as I can remember.
I’ve never had much money, but the money I’ve had I’ve always worked for since I was 15/16. Like others, I’ve struggled with money over the years but for the first time ever there was a realistic possibility that I could go and achieve a dream. I feel like I deserved it; like this was the way it was supposed to be (sounds wanky I know).
I had no savings, so I knew I had quite a bit of saving to do and therefore some (low priority) debts *waves to old credit card debts* had to be ignored for 12 months: when they kept phoning work to speak to me, in my capacity as “Cynical Scribble’s supervisor” I had to pass on the unfortunate news that he’d passed away. Subsequent reminders/warnings from other companies posted to my home address etc have been posted back “not known at address” I’m sure these will come back to bite me in the bum, but for now…fuck ‘em (this was part of the plan).
Everything else had worked out, more or less, how I knew it would: I knew what I needed to buy and when I needed to buy it and I’ve stuck to it. I wouldn’t be leaving with pockets full of cash, but I’d have enough saved to prance around Australia/Sydney for a couple of months without worrying and before I needed work (this was part of the plan).
What I didn’t factor into the plan was not receiving any rent, or money for share of the bills, from a now ex-housemate for 9 months…and them doing a disappearing act. Nor did I factor into the equation money I loaned to someone 6 months ago – which helped pay their mortgage – would not be repaid as they are still unemployed and don’t have that kind of money to pay back to me (this definitely wasn’t part of the plan). Both of these have wiped out most of what I had saved and as it stands; I’m not even going to have the minimum required funds to go.
Why did I loan loads of money out? If I’m in a position to help someone out when they are having problems, I always will. It’s just my nature and six months ago it wasn’t an issue. Three months ago alarm bells started ringing, but I kept my original plan mantra “everything will work itself out”. I’m often told I’m too nice for my own good…it seems that I am…and look where it’s got me. If someone deserves a massive ‘knobhead’ sign writing on their forehead…
On the work front: I put my notice in a couple of months ago and whist they were initially shocked at my plans they’re pleased I’m doing something with myself. They know of a few other problems I’ve had, so on a personal level they’re glad to see me get away. They also agreed to a sabbatical – I’ve since helped choose my replacement and trained them. However since then…I’ve learnt they making redundancies (unfortunately they wouldn’t make my position redundant and subsequently give me lots of dosh), but I did have to put forward a few names for the chop – not a nice thing to have to be involved in. So all in all it’s been a fucking brilliant few weeks.
The sabbatical thing was never a clincher for me, but given the redundancies, I now have doubts I’d be welcomed back into the same position – I’ve probably done them a massive favour by showing my cards first.
This was the time I was supposed to sit back, relax and just wait to leave. Everything has gone from riding on the gravy train surf board to Oz, to a bit messed up.
So, where does that leave me now (apart from being left in a very shitty position by a couple of people)?
The general consensus is that Australian immigration never check funds for people entering Australia on a Working Holiday Visa (AUD$5000 is the required amount…about £3200 in proper money), but it’s not something I ever wanted to chance. Ever.
When I set my budget out 12 months ago I knew I’d have easily enough money, with a couple of grand to spare. But right now, with just about 3 weeks until I leave, I haven’t even got the minimum funds. I have one more payday to come with not much outgoings on it, so that will help a lot and I’m going to ask a couple of friends to loan me some money (not sure if they will/can yet though) - I’ve written about loaning money from people before: I hate it. I’m too proud a person to ask when I need it, I’d rather go without, but this is different…I’ve got to, or I risk being refused entry to Australia and given I’ve only got one go at this…I’m not left with much choice. I’m just going to have to find work in Oz a lot sooner than I planned.
For the first time in 12 months I’m not excited, the shine has gone. I’ve lost my ‘fucking hell I’m going to Australia’ head and it’s been replaced by an anxious, worried, insomniac ‘fucking hell, I can’t afford to go’ head.
Strangely, I’m still looking forward and not back. What’s done is done, I’ve hit a brick wall, but I can’t let it stop me. Come rain or shine; money or no money; I’m still getting on that plane (so you may see me appearing on an episode of Border Patrol Australia pretty soon)!
“Everything will work itself out”