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Need advice: Trip to Australia..... or finish school?
Old 03-15-2007, 03:13 PM   #1
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Need advice: Trip to Australia..... or finish school?

Hello everyone! This is my first post and I thought who better to ask than the gang here.
I have a little bit of a dilemma. Iím 25 years old, went back to school after working for a little bit. I have a business diploma but am working on my accounting diploma and degree.

A little bit of background on why I am here is that the reason I want to retire early is that I donít like being told what to do and when to do it. I want to have some freedom to come and go as I please and I really want to see more of this world. Iíve been working since I was 16 and the thought of working till I am 65 makes me nauseous.

I feel like I am at a unique point right now to take off on an extended vacation. I will have completed my diploma in April 2007, and can take either a semester or year off school before returning to finish my degree. I feel that once I start working a ďrealĒ job, itís going to be hard to go away for 2 weeks to a month to go on vacation. If I take a break between jobs (if that happens) then itís a matter of explaining why there is a gap etc. Iím also single so no one here except my family and friends that I would miss.

One part of me says to just get school done ASAP because Iím not getting any younger, and another part of me says that life should be enjoyed a little along the way.

As a Canadian citizen, we have a reciprocal agreement with Australia allowing us to apply for a working holiday visa. Basically the skinny on it is that I can live and work in Australia (not working longer than 6 months with one employer) for 1 year. The restriction is that you must be between 18 and 30 years of age, which is a non-issue as Iím 25. You can only get this visa once, you can get a second one but there are some other restrictions on it and I think you have to do some seasonal farm work to get it (not so appealing).

Currently I work four to five days a week and take about three to four classes a semester. I am slightly burnt out and will need to take a semester off soon as I have been going at this pace for 2 years now. I think I can sweet talk my boss into giving me a few months off but a year may or may not fly. I make pretty good money ($30K/yr) for a boring job, but they let me set my shifts and number of hours, once I find a ďrealĒ job Iíd like to keep this job part time to get closer to being retired sooner.

Finance wise, I will have $30,000 in the bank (as a down payment/emergency cushion) which will not be touched while I am away. (I live with my parents and they like it, and it works for me as well.) I will continue to contribute to my retirement savings while I am away on holidays.
I think I can save $10,000 between January and September of 2008 to take with me, and I estimated that it will cost approximately $30,000 for that 1 year trip. I have no problem living someplace and working 3 days a week, traveling the other 4 or just enjoying the city I am in. I am not really much of a backpacker so I will probably rent a room or small suite or get a roommate and stay in one city for several months etc.

Basically my dilemma is that Iím a bit of a nerd and analyse things too much.
Here are some of my contingency plans:

a) Take the year off, use the $10,000 and work (to make up the difference) and live in Australia and hope I donít have to touch the rest of my savings. Come home and start plugging away at saving up for next trip (which wonít be for a long, long time), and finishing school.

b) Go there for a few months (no more that 4 months as that would be more than one semester) and live and travel around in one area. Come home and work on school and build up savings etc.

c) Go someplace else for a month or so and not have to worry about working while there and enjoy it. Plan to go on vacation for two to three weeks per year and set aside that amount of money in the budget.

Sorry this is so long! Iíve been lurking a long time and hope to get some advice from everyone on here.
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Re: Need advice: Trip to Australia..... or finish school?
Old 03-15-2007, 03:36 PM   #2
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Re: Need advice: Trip to Australia..... or finish school?

a) go there with the plan of staying for a year. if it seems like a bad idea after a couple months switch to (b).
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Re: Need advice: Trip to Australia..... or finish school?
Old 03-15-2007, 03:48 PM   #3
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Re: Need advice: Trip to Australia..... or finish school?

My general advice to this type question - splurge now on the long extended trips abroad. Keep the costs reasonable. Later, there's a good chance you'll have the wife/kids/mortgage that will make taking months or a year off for a trip to Australia an impossibility.

You probably won't regret your decision when you return and end up spending the next dozen years of your life sitting in a cube 8-5 everyday.
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Re: Need advice: Trip to Australia..... or finish school?
Old 03-15-2007, 03:54 PM   #4
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Re: Need advice: Trip to Australia..... or finish school?

Can you get an internship in your field in AU?? If so, do that. I am sure you can arrange a couple weeks off to see the country before returning to finish your degree.
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Re: Need advice: Trip to Australia..... or finish school?
Old 03-15-2007, 04:25 PM   #5
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Re: Need advice: Trip to Australia..... or finish school?

Australia is beautiful. Go for a year if you can.
If you don't like farming - How are your boat skills?
When we were is Whitsundays in 2003 we've seen plenty of young Commonwealth people on vacation visas working on boats (as a hostess or a deck hand on diving/snorkeling/excursion boats). Another option was working at the reception at the camp grounds or hostels.
Your next chance for a year in Australia will be probably when you reach their retirement visa age limit
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Re: Need advice: Trip to Australia..... or finish school?
Old 03-15-2007, 05:40 PM   #6
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Re: Need advice: Trip to Australia..... or finish school?

Go! Plan A. You won't believe how hard it will be do to later.

And have a great time. Fall in love if you can.

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Re: Need advice: Trip to Australia..... or finish school?
Old 03-15-2007, 06:00 PM   #7
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Re: Need advice: Trip to Australia..... or finish school?

Also Plan A. I earned my PhD at the age of 29 while holding down a full-time job. I had planned to reward myself with a trip to Hawaii. Got caught in the downsizing economy in California in the early '90s and a horrendous job market for new PhDs. Bottom line--I still haven't been to Hawaii! GO WHILE YOU CAN!
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Re: Need advice: Trip to Australia..... or finish school?
Old 03-15-2007, 06:10 PM   #8
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Re: Need advice: Trip to Australia..... or finish school?

Plan A, no doubt.

I did a bit of travelling after my undergrad... it was 6 weeks of backpacking Europe and I *loved* every minute of it. I was unemployed for about 8-9 months before I got a "real" j*b, and it gave me a taste of what retirement was like.

Nothing will light a fire underneath you to retire early like actually living and feeling it!

And as the travel bug hit me... travel when you can because there's no promises you'll ever have the opportunity again.
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Re: Need advice: Trip to Australia..... or finish school?
Old 03-15-2007, 06:18 PM   #9
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Re: Need advice: Trip to Australia..... or finish school?

GO TO AUSTRAILA!

Most accounting majors have their first job lined up during the senior year. Some graduates (like my DD and now husband) take off the summer, then start work in the fall.

Were I in your situation I would go to AU and explore employment opportunities (as well as the barrier reef, the outback, wine country, and Sidney). When you come home to finish your degree explore opportunities in CN. Pick what suits you.

Frankly I think there are great opportunities in AU. DH and I did some 60s retro (camper-van) travel there after we retired, if I didn't have kids in the u.s. I would move in a minute.
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Re: Need advice: Trip to Australia..... or finish school?
Old 03-15-2007, 06:23 PM   #10
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Re: Need advice: Trip to Australia..... or finish school?

I took a yr off. Wish I had gone to australia .

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Re: Need advice: Trip to Australia..... or finish school?
Old 03-15-2007, 07:27 PM   #11
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Re: Need advice: Trip to Australia..... or finish school?

Plan A. By working in the country you will have an opportunity to really see what Australia is about. You may never get another chance like this. Nothing like working side by side with the locals to really get a taste for the culture. Plus, you're making money and seeing the country - I don't see a downside and if there is one you can come home early. When I first met my DH he was planning to go to Australia on a work visa. Being young and foolish he chose love over travel and, although he has seen many countries since, he has yet to go to Australia. So, go while the opportunity is there. I bet you'll come back with a different perspective on life.

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Re: Need advice: Trip to Australia..... or finish school?
Old 03-15-2007, 07:34 PM   #12
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Re: Need advice: Trip to Australia..... or finish school?

Taking time off is good. A year in Aus couldn't be better !

However just make sure that your "year of living dangerously" doesn't turn into a decade of the bohemian lifestyle. When I was college age, I had a number of friends who were seduced into making some unwise lifestyle choices that they later lived to regret.

So, as it is probably easiest to travel when you are young it is also easiest to go to school when you are young. Fast forward a dozen years and imagine going to school while also paying for a mortgage and children and those other things that seem to come along. That's when life gets hard all of a sudden.

Ernie J. Zelinski in some of his books discusses the "easy" rule of life. and that is if you work hard and save early in your life then you'll have an easy life. If you don't then all of a sudden sometimes life can get really hard.
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Re: Need advice: Trip to Australia..... or finish school?
Old 03-15-2007, 07:36 PM   #13
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Re: Need advice: Trip to Australia..... or finish school?

I say go. Don't over analyse this, just do it. You'll never regret it. G'day!!
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Re: Need advice: Trip to Australia..... or finish school?
Old 03-15-2007, 07:38 PM   #14
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Re: Need advice: Trip to Australia..... or finish school?

Add me to the list of folk who say GO! I've been to Australia several times and hope that I can go for an extended stay sometime - its really great. Being 25 was awesome too, and you've got both - lucky you!

DangerMouse, a poster here, is from Australia if you need info about it.
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Re: Need advice: Trip to Australia..... or finish school?
Old 03-15-2007, 07:57 PM   #15
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Re: Need advice: Trip to Australia..... or finish school?

Go.

You sound very financially responsible, and easily able to afford this
trip. You should not lose this opportunity.

I still regret not taking the summer of '76 off and riding on the initial
Bikecentennial ride across the US the summer after I got out of high school.
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Re: Need advice: Trip to Australia..... or finish school?
Old 03-15-2007, 08:42 PM   #16
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Re: Need advice: Trip to Australia..... or finish school?

Have a wonderful trip! Ditto to all the reasons "for" listed by the other posters!

Post pics when you get back
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Re: Need advice: Trip to Australia..... or finish school?
Old 03-15-2007, 11:20 PM   #17
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Re: Need advice: Trip to Australia..... or finish school?

I'm an Aussie and a fellow Accountant and I say definitely to go for it. There is so much work available for for Accountants that it really doesn't matter when you graduate as you will be able to get a job.

There is plenty of work for backpackers. As you note the work you take is not intended to be "career enhancing" however that does not preclude you from working at a backpackers place as a barman or tending reception at a caravan park. It need not just be for fruitpicking which you get paid by what you pick but you can probably look at a minimum of $15 per hour. Remember tax will be deducted and is not cheap in Oz.

Not sure what you are into, but if you like sun and water I would head up to Cairns. Plenty of backpackers to pal up with and lots to see and do. There is also a lot of work available in Uluru in Central Australia.

I would not hesitate to do it. One of my biggest regrets was not heading off to London for a year to work when I was in my early 20s. This really would be an opportunity of a lifetime before real life takes over and you are confined by work commitments.

If you want any info on Oz let me know.
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Re: Need advice: Trip to Australia..... or finish school?
Old 03-16-2007, 12:06 AM   #18
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Re: Need advice: Trip to Australia..... or finish school?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DangerMouse
Not sure what you are into, but if you like sun and water I would head up to Cairns. Plenty of backpackers to pal up with and lots to see and do.
Cairns is nice but I like the Whitsundays better. The rainforrest ride out of Cairns is worth the trip, go on north to Port Douglas.

One of the delightful car-van parks had Cassowaries that walked through.

The zoo near Alice Springs isn't to be missed.

Adelaide is a very pretty city.




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Re: Need advice: Trip to Australia..... or finish school?
Old 03-16-2007, 01:18 AM   #19
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Re: Need advice: Trip to Australia..... or finish school?

Notice a concensus here? A rare thing - take plan A and enjoy
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Re: Need advice: Trip to Australia..... or finish school?
Old 03-16-2007, 01:38 AM   #20
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Re: Need advice: Trip to Australia..... or finish school?

wow thanks gang!

lol yes I do see the consensus.

Definitely something to consider. I sometimes feel like I'm starting late so I need to work my tail off in school since I spent a few years in the workforce so it's nice to hear that I should just do it.

I have about a year and a half to plan so that's great. I will have lots of time to gather more info and save some more money.

DangerMouse, do you think that I would be able to get some temp accounting work down there? Or will they be a little wary since I am a non-citizen and have no work experience in accounting?

Thanks everyone!
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