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Published: June 29th 2017
Geo: 51.054, 3.72169
Wow, it has been an extremely intense and stressful couple of days for us. Whilst Bert and Nele have been at work, we have spent every second trying to look for short term work, house sitting options, or a decent plan how and when to return home. We were keen to work until November, to get a cruise back to Australia from Italy November 5. We are exhausted and need rest. We've looked at a million jobs, the most appealing being short term hospitality jobs that offer accommodation and meals. The pay for these would be next to nothing, and not really enjoyable, career building or valuable experience. They wouldn't allow us to repay debts or save anything. Many require commitment of 6 months, or at least 3, and I feel returning to better paying jobs in Australia would just be a better option. In terms of salaries I'm not exactly a high roller in Australia, but my job alone would pay nearly double what both of us together would earn on a minimum UK wage.
We've made dozens of calls and applications over the last couple days about jobs. We've had few replies and a glim slithers of hope
or enthusiasm (from us and employers) regarding calls for jobs. Its not like we have the time to go through long painful job application processes. If were going to commit our time, funds and plans to a working arrangement, we need a job now, or yesterday. Were at the last quarter of our budget, energy and sanity. Ive filed my tax return, we've shuffled our funds and considered our options. We need to facilitate a bit more funding for accommodation, and of course, passage home. The uncertainty of the very near future is a killer. Whats going to happen? These two days definitely amounted to the most stressful unhappy peak of the whole trip. If only wed managed to secure something earlier, but then, we've never had the time. Between experiencing new countries, planning the next accommodation, transport, writing and uploading blogs, checking and organizing funds, activities to do, how to get there, what to do, what we need to know, how, when, who, which and where, we've not even had time for proper rest at times. Watching TV, movies, there hasn't been a moment to spare.
Time out. Time to stop and find some clarity. Step away from the tablet,
your resume, that job ad, put down the phone. Its decision time. What do we really want? Do we really want to work a pretty average job short term for the sake of it? No. Sure Id like the experience, but how feasible or favorable is it in our circumstances? Not very. If were going home eventually, or agree we want to return to our house eventually, wouldn't it be better to job hunt or return to jobs back home with better pay and more of a future? Yes. Also, how much longer can we keep going like this? 3 days, travel, explore, sleep, repeat. Are we even fully appreciating things now? Not really. When Notre Dame becomes just another cathedral, and the Louvre just another museum, is it worth doing more or best saving money for another future trip? Do we want to go home? Well, not desperately. Ok, do we want to just fly home? Hell no. Wouldn't we love to rest or relax on this trip without wasting time, money or opportunity. Yes, oh please yes! So whats it all equal? This trip deserves a Grand Finale afterall. A cruise. A leisurely and lengthy return with more
countries and experience, and Nats found the perfect one. It departs October 1. Its 28 days, from Copenhagen to Los Angeles. It gets us through the top of South America, through Central America, and the US leaving us a direct flight away from Melbourne. Splitting it into two legs, makes it the same price each, as a direct flight home. It gives us 28 days free food, entertainment, accommodation and gym.
Its booked, well eventually it was, after a painfully challenging booking arrangement through mid quotes and Credit Card issues (dont ever use Once Credit). Of course an hour after booking these, we were offered jobs but NO MATTER, we still stand by our decision. Knowing our plans, we could give our Belgian hosts a proposal for our departure. Next weekend confirmed, with the exception of required alternate arrangements during their absence this weekend, due to a work trip.
So what to do with this time then? 3 nights over the weekend. Well, better go to Tunisia. Just for something different, Ive not been to North Africa before. So after trying to find accurate info about Visas for about 3 hours, and a nightmare debacle booking flights with eDreams (dont EVER
use eDreams), it was booked. So tomorrow, were off to North Africa for a couple days.
Now a moment to talk about Belgium. First our hosts Bert and Nele have been excellent to us. They must have been wondering why we spent so much time sitting around the house, sweating with stress, veins bulging from our brow, distracted on tablets and laptops 24-7. Bert is an excellent cook, and Nele is 5 months pregnant. Australian pets are the last thing you want with a baby on the way. Nele has also given us advice on things to see, bus tickets, and even cut my hair.
Amidst all this, we did enjoy a nice evening and guided tour with our friends around the city of Gent. A really beautiful old city, with lovely buildings, towers, churches and of course beer and food. We had a great all you can eat Ribs feast in Gent. Now that we have plans we can hope to enjoy more of Belgium proper.
So that's it then, decisions made and an itinerary formed. We will be back in Australia at the start of November. By the time we are home, we have been gone over 6 months, visited around
33 countries on all 7 continents, and completely circumnavigated the planet in one direction, largely independently. No regrets, and what an experience!
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