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Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Dreaming of summer time...

So, I've been back on UK soil for just over five weeks now, and my holiday to Australia seems like it was a dream. I think the thought of having a two week summer in the middle of winter has confused the hell out of my body. It took me a few weeks to adjust, mainly because winter came back with a vengeance since I've been back (almost like a big "fu*k you" to me for trying to avoid the winter). I wish I could have stayed for my whole visa duration of three months and travelled around, thus avoiding the winter, but I do have my working holiday there to look forward to, so I shouldn't complain too much!

My thoughts have nearly been consumed with my plans for when I eventually go away, and one thing which I thought would be difficult is getting my monthly blood tests done, but I've found a private healthcare company which offer pathology tests all over Australia. I just pay online, they send me a form, then I book my appointment, have the test, and have the results emailed to me. I then email the MS Therapy Team back in the UK for my medical record. If any result is out of the ordinary, I see a doctor and go from there.

One thing which I thought I had sorted was whether I could stay for a second year should I want to. I wrongly assumed that because I've applied for my first working holiday visa before my 31st birthday (although only just), that I could definitely apply for a second year, despite the fact I'd be 32 at the time of needing a second year visa, but as long as I'd have completed regional work. Well, this is probably the first time I've been told that I'm too old for something (something I should get used to from now on I guess!) So, I have one guaranteed year, which is great. Now I have to get creative with ideas for staying a second year should I want to. The following shows how I maybe overthink things...but given the fact that I'm intending on leaving the UK permanently, it's hardly surprising!

So, my original idea was two years in Australia, which would be a mix of farm work, six months other work and three months travelling in the first year, while also continuing with my distance degree full-time. Then I thought as I was going for two years I could study for my degree part-time instead, so I'd have more spare time to enjoy myself. My second year I could work as needed, and continue with my distance degree, then when that was finished, get my CELTA TEFL qualification, and seek a Short-Term Skilled Migration Visa to teach English if I wanted to stay longer.

As I now have one year there, it would be better to study for my distance degree full-time, as well as working full-time (maybe this makes me crazy). The plus side would be that I would have my BA Hons next year, and if I study for my CELTA TEFL, I could then apply for a Short-Term Skilled Migration Visa to stay a bit longer. I could be fairly settled, going where the work is, finish my degree, then have a few months of travelling and one month of CELTA TEFL study time at the end.

Another advantage of having both my degree and my CELTA TEFL is that I could seek employment in another country, maybe Japan or New Zealand (for example), and gain some valuable experience teaching for a year, and save like hell. Then maybe look into studying for a formal teaching qualification somewhere, which would open up more opportunities. For instance if I chose to study for this in Australia, this would be a year long, and would give me the chance of applying for a Skilled Visa there, or I could train elsewhere if I wanted to go somewhere totally new.

I did consider not studying at all and enjoying my year there, then getting a student visa for a year to finish my degree, but international student fees are $30k+ AUS per academic year, so I there is no way I could save this amount in my first year AND live, let alone enjoy myself. If I could figure out a way to make this work, this would be ideal (small lottery win maybe?!)

Essentially I just need to focus on my one year there. I want to experience what I wasn't able to in my twenties due to illness, but at the same time I need to also think about my future. So, for now it's looking like I will be working my arse off, and enjoying three months off at the end, which isn't bad at all really. There is a chance that the Working Holiday Visa age might be extended to 35, so if this were to happen whilst I am out there, maybe regional work to extend my stay could be an option.

I don't know for certain when I will be leaving the UK, as I can't book anything until I've seen my neurologist in June, so I'll keep researching for now. I have a job interview this week too, which if I get the job will be great for my CV and bank balance. In the meantime I need to save up, book my ticket, then sell most of my stuff, so all I have is a suitcase, my guitar and a laptop. So, not much to do then!

As there isn't much I can do now for my adventure, I'm chasing up a couple of things with my neurologist - my yearly MRI scan still hasn't been booked, so I'll feel a bit happier when I have the letter for that. Plus, I have a medical driving licence which needs to be renewed every three years, and he still hasn't sent this back to the DVLA (my licence expires in five days). I can still drive on my expired licence apparently, but only at my own discretion. It's not like I get sudden attacks of MS (which would make it dangerous for me to drive if that was the case), so I'm not worried. As my health is so much better than it was, maybe I will get a longer licence? So maybe it could be worth the wait.

Until next time...

Ciao,

Jo xx

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