From Australia to Canada: Hayley on Holiday
I am Hayley, an Australian expat currently living in Vancouver, Canada. I call Townsville in Australia home, although I have also lived in Brisbane and Melbourne in recent years.
1. Why did you move abroad?
I have always been interested in living in another country, but it wasn’t until 2013, when I was struggling with both work and life that I decided to take the leap. There was no particular reason behind my moving abroad, it was more just a “why not” situation. I returned home at the end of 2014, then decided to return to Canada in mid-2016.
2. How do you make a living?
I make a living doing whatever I can to support my travel addiction! I have a Journalism degree and I do a bit of freelance writing and of course have my blog, but I have found it difficult to find a full-time job in this field. So I have worked in hospitality for the past few years and am currently working on the Aussie Pie Guy food truck in Vancouver. It may not be the dream but it is actually a lot of fun!
3. How often do you communicate with home and how?
I usually talk to my parents every one or two days. We are very close and I can’t go too long without a chat! We use Skype, which is brilliant. I am also with Koodo in Canada and I can call internationally for 5c a minute, which is quite the deal.
4. What's your favorite thing about being an expat in Canada?
Hands down, it is just the fact I am able to live in Vancouver. There is seriously no city like it in the world, and I feel lucky I have been able to call it home twice now!
5. What’s the worst thing about being an expat in Canada?
Missing home and the difference in wages. Getting paid half of what I received in Australia for the same job is a harsh reality.
6. What do you miss most?
My family of course, but funnily enough I also miss some of the shops. I think most Australians would choose a shopping trip overseas over a shopping trip to their local mall, but not me. The department stores are just too good!
7. What did you do to meet people and integrate in your new home?
The first time around I used the website, Meetup.com and instantly met fellow Australian expats who I am still friends with today. I also met a fantastic group of people through my work at Starbucks. I am an introvert so it is hard to put myself out there, but I have found stepping out of my comfort zone and saying yes to more social engagements is how I made so many lifelong friends.
8. What custom/ habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture?
I will never get use to tipping, although I appreciate it seeing as I work in hospitality myself. Other than that, Canada and Australia are pretty similar, which I am grateful for.
9. Is the cost of living higher or lower than the last country you lived in and how has that made a difference in your life?
I did mention the difference in income previously, which has definitely impacted my life. Fortunately, the cost of living is slightly lower. For example, rent in Canada includes all bills, which isn’t common in Australia. Monthly transport passes are also much more reasonable. I find groceries are about the same, though.
10. What advice would you give other expats?
I think firstly, you need to give yourself a break every now and then if you are struggling with finding a job/friends/place to live. It is a big adjustment and it may take a while to feel at home, but you will. I also recommend making the most of every opportunity: whether that is work, life or travel related.
11. When and why did you start your blog?
I started my blog in 2012, but have only really been working hard on building its audience for about the past year. My blog came about purely because it combined my two passions: travel and writing. I have since written about Australia, solo travels across Canada and America, and expat life in Vancouver.
Hayley's Blog, Hayley on Holiday
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