A few weeks ago, I fled the snowy depths of a midwestern winter in my native Michigan after spending the holidays at home for the first time in two years. After two months of relaxing and allowing my broken ankle to heal, I completed a nearly 42-hour series of flights to Perth, Western Australia. Although getting my first Working Holiday Visa took a month longer than initially expected, my frustrations immediately fled when I touched down in the sunshine. I didn’t really have very many expectations for this journey, which is the best, in my opinion: when you don’t have a plan and expectations, nothing can go wrong, right?

Well, finding a place to live, getting a bank account and a phone, and filling out paperwork turned out to be simple. After less than a week, we were moved into our shared house and even had interviews lined up. Life was looking simple and feeling good. J and I both found jobs as a complete fluke while walking down the street one day and, although we both quit within 48 hours of trying it, we were feeling positive about our future prospects. Unfortunately, the last few days of my first weeks in this country have been filled with some great ups and disappointing downs, but I can’t let that affect my initial thoughts overall. It’s OK to feel down sometimes, as long as you get back up on your bicycle and ride again- sorry, I like bike metaphors.

So, what are my first impressions of Australia?

I’ve got a pretty awesome view of the city (Perth) from my side of the river.

PerthSkyline Speaking of the city, it sure has some unique traditions…


and a particularly great spot for a delicious and cheap vegan burger.


Some beaches are for sport


while some are for leisure.


Not all of the creatures are scary and/or poisonous like some people think,


but the sun can be your worst foe.


When it’s 100 degrees out, people have the choice of lazing about


or cheering at a 6+ hour World Cup game.

IndiaFlagEither way, this is a pretty amazing way to end the day.