Looking for a new place to live come November hasn’t been easy. Places that sounded too good to be true are, people haven’t responded to my queries, 8 people live in the same apartment in a slightly-out-of-the-way part of the city and still pay $800/month…sigh. I had thought if worse comes to worse, I could stay in a hostel for a couple of weeks. A month in a hostel is even more expensive than living in some of these apartments, but at least I wouldn’t have to be part of a lease. But this week I stayed in a hostel, Backpackers By the Bay, while in Airlie Beach (a town that serves as a jumping-off point for the Whitsundays or where you can drink with other people from the numerous hostels in town, and even then the nightlife was pretty quiet) and wasn’t crazy about the experience. At almost 29, I think I’m a little too old for this, although I did see “older” people staying at the hostels amongst the dozens of under-25s. Maybe I just like having a room to myself and not having to share with other people. Maybe I like something a little…nicer. Or I’m too picky. Am I not adventurous enough? I mean, if I’m in a room alone, I’m not going to meet anyone else unless I go out. Or maybe I just really hate bunk beds and don’t relish the idea of reliving the college dorm experience all over again. (Living with people you already know and are on good terms with is completely different to living with strangers in a revolving-door situation where people leave and come in without you ever knowing when they’ll be there.)
Instead of apartment searching, I had this hostel experience in the Whitsunday Islands. For the record, the hostel itself was fine for what it was; it was clean and no one there seemed like a terribly questionable character. Some of the other guests said they liked it because it was more chill than others they had been to. All the people who worked there were very nice and more than happy to help you organize trips (you could even get deals booking through them) or arrange your stay around when you would be on said trips. The islands themselves are exactly as beautiful as any pictures you may have seen online–they need no filters to pretty them up. The water is crystal clear and waves undulate from jade green to a deep, vibrant aqua. Whitehaven Beach is particularly beautiful with its white silica sand. Of course, there are plenty of companies that offer cruises out there, including sailboats that you can actually spend a couple of nights on. I chose a day trip via Whitehaven Xpress, which was surely more casual and entertaining than any of the other cruises I could have gone on (when I asked a woman working at the hostel which tour I should go on, she asked, “Do you want to make friends or be around families and old people?”). The guys on the boat were very funny, although occasionally they’d crack and let it be known that they were finding it stressful that most of the passengers that day didn’t speak English. They would joke with (sometimes about) passengers and with each other, climb around the boat like monkeys, and generally have a good time doing all of these things while largely making it look easy and fun.
Upon getting back to Sydney on Thursday, I figured I needed to really devote myself to looking for a new place to live. I’ve looked at several reputable housesitting websites after reading about this idea on some travel blogs, but a lot of the assignments are short-term and I don’t really want to be moving every week. I’ve also given thought to roaming around the country a little more, but I don’t know where I would store my giant suitcase while doing so. I’ve gotten advice from a couple of locals and expats about where to live and where not to live in Sydney, so hopefully soon I’ll be cozying up in a decent place in a fun part of town where I live with cool roommates and not paying a ton of money to do so. I guess we’ll see what happens.
Until next time.