If you’ve read my story then you know that prior to becoming location independent and travelling the world with my laptop I had a physical coaching business, house, car, two children at home and a very ‘settled’ life.

So to give all this up was actually very freeing and has been the start of a whole new lifestyle. (I should point out that my children are grown up and one moved out that spring, and the second is actually the reason I started my journey in Australia).

When I landed in Melbourne I knew nobody (except my young daughter who was now living there), I’d never travelled much further than Europe and I had had to over-come an intense fear of flying just to get there. This was the start of a personal as well as business journey.

My First Year Location Independent & Travelling In Australia | Sophie Mahir

Here’s some of what I learnt very quickly – My Journey In Australia

Top Tips: What do you have to do when you land somewhere new?

  1. Find somewhere to live – now I had looked a bit online first, but of course it’s always going to be easier to source something once you are in your chosen country. I’d recommend just booking a few nights somewhere and then looking locally for a deal. I will go into detail in other Blogs about the different types of accommodation and ways of living abroad. I found a city centre apartment and took a 6-month let…something I would regret later, as this didn’t give me the freedom I had come looking for….
  1. Get on the Internet – this might be something you take as a given if you are based in the UK or the US…however I discovered that even somewhere as modern as Australia still isn’t that great with having fast (or any in some cases) internet. Make sure your mobile phone is unlocked, and then purchase a local sim card to get going. This was my greatest challenge the whole year I was there; trying to run a business based on Skype calls and live Webinars with super-slow Internet.
  1. Do a reckie of your immediate area – so this really is the fun part when you land somewhere new; you’ll want to get your bearings, find out where key shops, transport etc. are; and then just go exploring…don’t take a map…and just get lost and see where it takes you.
  1. Sort out your food situation – as you know as you are reading this, I advocate an Alkaline, Raw, Vegan lifestyle, so I like to know where I can get the best vegetables and organic health food nearby. Then I go and get all my basic items that’ll need. When I arrived in Melbourne I also went out and bought a juicer, food blender and various extra cooking items, so I could juice and smoothie almost from day one.
  1. Get out and meet new people – you are likely familiar with Meetup.com, and so this is a great place to see what’s on in the area you are in. I found some fantastic groups, the first one of which was actually Yoga in the Park, as well as other social and business groups. Even if you are only passing through somewhere, it’s still a great way to meet interesting people.

So, where did I travel during my 12 months?

I started with 6 months in Melbourne, as I was focussed on transitioning from my physical business to an online one, something that I almost no experience in. I did a couple of road-tips and flights to Sydney and down to the bottom on the Mornington Peninsula.

The visa I had meant I had to take a break half way through, so on my second entry I decided to be more flexible and try new things. So after just a week in the Melbourne Winter I found a housesit up in Airlie Beach, Queensland and booked a flight. This was a great experience, meeting different people, living in a shared house, then looking after a beautiful ‘Queenslander’ and a very lively dog. Once that was over I looked further north and headed up to Cairns on the overnight greyhound bus. (Not to be recommended if you have trouble sleeping on public transport).

I remember the day I crawled off that coach at 5am in the city centre, completely disorientated, having had no sleep, and all I could see was the misty steamy heat of the sun coming over the mountains… I think I fell in love that day…four months later my visa had expired and I had to tear myself away from a new lifestyle I had created in the town I loved so much.

People have asked me what it was I loved, and I’d say it was the nature, constant bird-song, brightly coloured flowers and trees, the earthy smells, the heat, the Rainforest, the hippy-type culture and the very laid back lifestyle. I also ended up living with some fantastic local people and so this made things really magical.

The highlights?

  • The Rainforest in all its beauty.
  • Kurranda – my favourite place so far.
  • All the wildlife – birds, kangaroos, crocodiles etc.
  • The sounds and smells of nature in Queensland.
  • The climate – sun, sea, sand, heat
  • The incredible ‘secret’ bars in Melbourne thanks to my daughter who was ‘in the know’.
  • Attending UPW – Tony Robbins and doing The Firewalk in Sydney.
  • Meeting and making amazing new friends.

My two biggest challenges?

  1. The Internet hands down…now I have learnt how to check for speeds, and check out where you are going first.
  2. Of course being apart form family and friends – ironically even my youngest daughter who is also in Australia was now a 5-hour flight away!

Would I do it again?

In a heartbeat!

Read my next Blog to find out how I then became a Digital Nomad.

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