Did you happen to hear about the happy couple that lost a GoPro on the East Coast of Australia which got found 3 months later thanks to world wide media? Well, I am part of that happy couple and the last few weeks have been crazy!
My boyfriend Thijs and myself were travelling the East Coast of Australia when we lost the GoPro while out swimming. The GoPro was then found by a friendly stranger 3 months later and returned to us through on online search that went viral. Our story has been covered by the news, worldwide broadcasting, newspapers and travel blogs all over the world. With the help of Holden and Leezair, we were reunited with our GoPro (and all of our holiday pictures) in an adventure of a lifetime! But with our new partners came big responsibilities and expectations. Were we really up for this?
To be very clear: we are so lucky to have had the opportunity to embark on a road trip which would take us from Torquay, all the way to Tweed head on an epic journey filled with exciting adventures, activities, new memories and lots of new (GoPro) travel footage. It felt like the stars aligned, and all these amazing experiences fell into our laps. Going on a road trip through beautiful Australia whilst exploring everything it has to offer, sounds like the ultimate dream of freedom right?
Both Thijs and I are spontaneous and don’t think things through for too long. You must know that this road trip was really last minute and after more than half a year of full-time travelling, we didn’t really have the budget that would allow us to go on a new adventure. But when Holden offered us a brand new convertible for the trip our adventurous souls just couldn’t say no. And off we went.
When looking on our Instagram or Facebook page, it may seem like we live a life full of adventure and thrills. But even I still get jealous when I look at other Instagram influencers and travel bloggers pages. Because I live a similar life, I know that there is a much bigger story behind all the beautiful moments that are shared. It turns out that being an adventurous traveller is not always as easy as it seems….
The story behind our road trip
The only thing that was certain, was that we had a car for the trip. The rest was still a big question mark and because, like so many others, we like to go with the flow and see where it will take us, we didn’t want to organise anything up front. This also meant that we didn’t really know what we were going to do along the route and so, after partnering up with Holden, we also got in touch with tech-savvy travel company, Leezair. They wanted to help us with making our road trip something else and they asked us if we wanted to use their app along the way. All of a sudden we went from being two random travellers that occasanialy write blogs, to travel bloggers doing a road trip sponsored by two partners who had certain expectations. The nerves kicked in when we left for our first destination..
Obviously the car came in handy during the trip and it was easy to make great shots from this cool car. Although we really liked the story behind Leezair we didn’t know what we could share to help them. Along the way the Leezair app surprised us. With our “we-don’t-want-to-plan-mentality the road trip would just have been that, a road-trip. No activities, just driving and sleeping. Thanks to the app, we could plan our activities along the way. We loved how open our trip still was, but that we would have something cool to do whenever we would arrive in a new city. And so we went skydiving, kayaking, quad biking and we swam with whales and turtles (!!). The thing we didn’t realise is that finding a place to sleep on the night that you pull into a city is not the easiest task. This combined with Victoria and NSW’s long weekend break, made it all that much harder.
And so we were road tripping, enjoying the countryside of Australia, working on special content requirements for our new proudly found partners but without a place to stay. The days were long and full of things we needed to shoot and organise. The nights were cheap and therefore short and tiring.
This was definitely a road trip to never forget. We had an amazing opportunity and will cherish the memories when looking back. However, if you think that it was just a fun and relaxing road trip to pick up our GoPro, then our social media strategy was on point to let you believe exactly that….
This trip takes me back to our first two weeks in Australia. We sold everything back in the Netherlands. We left our home, our jobs and friends behind and expected great things in the promised land, Down Under.We celebrated NYE in Sydney which was the best possible way to start the trip, but after that, it all went downhill.
Besides the fact that, for two weeks it was pouring with rain every single day, we just couldn’t seem to get it together. We needed a bank account, but before you can open an account we needed an address. It was impossible to find a place without a job, and when I found a job they needed a bank account. This is a similar cycle if you want to get a car or a phone plan. And so we were not exploring and enjoying the city, but were trying to organise our life and did our crying in the rain. We looked at each other and wondered out loud: what have we done?!
One thing is for sure: when you decide on a lifestyle with so much thrill and excitement, it requires taking risks. Thanks to the risks we took, we have a travel resume that is pretty impressive and when I look back on what we’ve done, I can honestly say that we took our travels to the next level. I’ve experienced the countries that we visited in the a way that felt good, honest and real. We were free, independent and had countless special moments with people we met along the way. We did everything we wanted and never let money make our decisions for us. Thanks to that mindset our life was full with of highs. But with great highs come great lows.
Before we set off on our road trip, I had a job, and with that, a sponsor for our visa. Also we were going to move to our own apartment when we would get back. However, upon our return, my work decided that they needed a different role within the team and withdrew their sponsorship of our visa and I lost my job (this sucks even more if you know that I couldn’t be there for the end of the trip because I had to get back to this job. And so I took a night train to arrive back in Melbourne at 7pm, just in time to get into the office early). Luckily the landlord also decided that he wanted to live in the apartment we almost rented, so we lost that too.
We thought that we would settle in Melbourne for at least a year, after which we planned to travel back towards the Netherlands through Azia and Eastern Europe, overland. Last week this was still a solid plan, now everything has changed. If we don’t find a job within the next 4 weeks we need to leave the country by the end of the year. Plan B is to work, live and travel somewhere in Asia, or maybe Canada.
The first couple of days after I got fired I cried my eyes out and Thijs was really upset too. All of a sudden, it felt like our Australia time had come to an end, regardless of if we were ready for it to be over or not. For the people at home, travelling can seem like one big, long holiday, but yet again we found ourselves in a position that would challenge us and require us to be flexible, positive, resourceful, open-minded and we needed to act fast and efficient.
Was this a road trip of a lifetime? Yes! Once again we met people along the way that really earned a special place in our heart; Tamara who found our GoPro and moved mountains to find and meet us, Andrew from the Aboriginal Centrum in Newcastle who invited us to his son birthday party because we didn’t have a place to stay, Andy our camera man who was always with us (also something that you don’t see on our romantic getaway snap shots) and the Leezair team who we met in Sydney for a business meeting that turned out into a hysteric dancing night. The people we met made this road trip such a memorable one.
Greatest lessons learned on this road trip:
- Nothing in life is for certain. Even when you think you’ve got your life, and everything in it planned, it can all change. Finally, we had our lives sorted, only to have it shaken up again. Although it was hard at first, it also brings new opportunities that you wouldn’t have considered before. Don’t give up! Forget about what it was supposed to be or what has been, work towards a new plan and redirect your energy to the future!
- I am so grateful for all the amazing experiences we’ve had and that we get to share these with the world. I wouldn’t swap my life back to ordinary, but there is a lot more going on behind the scenes than shooting happy shots and posting them on social media. It looks so easy being a travel blogger, digital nomad or entrepreneur but it’s is pretty challenging and hard work. I think I could write a whole new story about the do’s and don’ts if you want to make this lifestyle work..
Although it is a cliche’ that life, and travel, are about the journey and not about the destination – it truly is all about the stories you get to tell afterwards. Stories you can share with other travellers and people who, like you, left everything behind to experience life in a different way. How can the experiences that you have had, help others in the future? How can we continue to learn and grow from opportunities? To me, travelling is the answer on those questions. I want to see the world, meet people and share mine (and their) stories with others.
My mission is to find travellers from all over the world so they can share their personal travel stories and experiences. Story of my World is an online travel magazine that shares untold, unbias and exciting travel stories so they can be a topic of conversation for others. Even though our new lifestyle is not always as easy as it seems, I am excited to travel more, meet more people and hear more stories to share!
We are looking for new storytellers!
Do you love to travel? Do you have a great story to share?
Let us know here and share your story.
Don’t be shy, we love meeting new people and we will always get back to you!