I'm back in the UK after almost a year of non-stop travel. But don't worry, I'll be jetting off again soon, I just need some time at home to heal. Travelling for such a long time has taken its toll on my mental health, and the anxiety I thought I left behind on British soil has reared its ugly head once more.

Now I'm not stupid, I know travel can't cure all, but I think a small part of me believed that by leaving behind the regular things that cause stress (work, living with parents, etc) I might be able to finally free myself of my unstable moods. Well unfortunately that hasn't been the case but my god have I learnt some important lessons on this journey, and regardless of the lows I feel mentally stronger than ever.

Grace is wearing a pretty floral dress while standing in the middle of a sunflower field
Since being back home in Birmingham I've tried to relax and do wholesome activities with my friends and family

Long term travel isn't always easy. From constantly worrying about if I can afford things, to struggling to find accommodation, and transportation every few weeks, it can be a lot. But that's not to say it hasn't been rewarding. I've overcome SO many challenges in the last few months, and I genuinely believe that I can do anything I put my mind to now. I'm the most confident I've ever been and I owe that to the numerous problems I've come across and delt with recently. 

But there is also nothing wrong with admitting it's time to come home. 

If I'm honest part of me is disappointed I couldn't keep on top of my wavering moods. I've done the therapy, I've put in the work, and for the most part I've been so happy knowing I'm finally living the life I've always wanted. So yes sometimes I feel a little frustrated with myself for coming back home. But then I try to remember just how far I've come. 

A few years ago I could barely even get on a bus alone without being consumed with anxiety. Something as simple as being in a crowd of people would fill me with dread. Anxiety attacks were just a way of life for me back then, but now that couldn't be further from my reality. I barely even recognise the girl I was then and I'm genuinely proud of that.

So I'll be catching my flight again soon. I'll pass through airport security on my own, endure a few long haul flights alone with my thoughts, and check myself back into a shitty Sydney hostel to start my Australian life once more. And when I close my eyes on that very first night back in Oz, I'll know that my demons will be watching, but I'm the one who controls them


If you're also struggling with anxiety, Mind has a helpful page on symptoms, causes, treatments, and more.


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Birmingham, UK


Travelling Australia is a pretty expensive game. Even staying in hostels down under isn't cheap, but it is possible to find affordable or even free accommodation in Australia if you look in the right places. As someone who has found free rooms in Sydney on several occasions, I think I know a thing or two about tracking down a place to stay for freeeee.

So here are my tried and tested methods to find free accommodation while travelling Australia...  

View of Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour from Sydney Harbour Bridge
View of Sydney Harbour and the Opera house from Sydney Harbour Bridge

Pet Sitting

In Australia it's very common for families to ask backpackers to watch their pets while they go on holiday. In exchange for pet sitting the backpacker will usually live in the families home rent free. I was fortunate enough to do pet sitting in Sydney over New Years Eve which saved hundreds of dollars I would have otherwise spent on a hostel.

Where to find Pet Sitting jobs in Australia:

- Sydney House & Pet Sitting Facebook Page

- House & Pet Sitters Australia Facebook Page

- Pet Sitters Australia Facebook Page

House Sitting

Sometimes even families without pets ask for house sitters to ensure their home is well looked after while they go on long trips. I know of several backpackers who were able to stay in Sydney for a few months rent free as they were looking after the homes of people travelling overseas. 

Where to find housesitting jobs in Australia:

- Trusted House Sitters 

- Aussie House Sitters 

- House Sitting Australia Wide Facebook Group

Taking out the bins while volunteering for accommodation at Sydney Central YHA

Volunteer for accommodation

While I was on the seemingly never ending hunt for a room in Sydney, I actually volunteered at a hostel in exchange for free accommodation. Every hostel has it's own requirements but generally they ask for around 14/15 hours of work each week in exchange for a free bed, and sometimes other perks such as free washing or breakfast.

Hostels that offer work for accommodation:


- Wake Up 

Tip - While you may be able to apply online to volunteer for accommodation, it's always best to visit the hostel in person and speak to the manager, or give them a call if you can. Be ready and willing to volunteer as soon as possible. 

Work somewhere accommodation is provided

From time to time employers will provide accommodation for their workers, especially in rural areas where hostels and other accommodation might not be available. Often these houses or rooms are very basic, but it is possible to find work where an employer is willing to provide free accommodation. 

One of the cats I was pet sitting in exchange for free accommodation in Sydney

So those are some of the way's you can get free accommodation while travelling the incredible country of Australia. 

Let me know if you have any tips of your own when it comes to budget travel, or if you would like to hear more about my experiences pet sitting or volunteering for accommodation in Sydney!

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Sydney NSW, Australia


Since moving to Sydney I have been dying to dive into the Sydney food scene and I couldn't think of a better place to start than The Brothers Cafe in Haymarket. The cafe is virtually Tiktok famous for it's fat fluffy soufflé pancakes which come in three different flavours. So I headed down to the central Sydney location so see what these wobbly desserts were all about...

Grace holding her cutlery while looking at two places of giant pancakes
About to devour the humungous pancakes at The Brothers Cafe

On arrival at The Brothers Cafe we did have to wait a little while to be seated (we chose to sit inside) but I guess this is the result of having such strong presence on social media and only having a limited number of indoor tables. We did also have to wait around 30 minutes for our Soufflé Pancakes to be served once we ordered. Neither of these things were an issue as we were happy to have a slow afternoon but might be worth bearing in mind if you're after a quick lunchtime fix. 

As I said the pancakes come in three flavours; Thai Tea, Tiramisu, and Matcha Tea. My friend and I liked the look of all three chunky pancakes but ultimately chose to split the Thai Tea and Tiramisu Pancakes between us. Each pancake was $24.90 which I did initially think was quite pricey before I realised how enormous these desserts would be.

The Thai Tea Pancakes sorounded with vanilla icecream, white chocolatem, and strawberries.
The Thai Tea Soufflé Pancake - $24.90

Once the Pancakes arrived at our table we were very surprised to see just how large they were. Before us sat two plates each loaded with giant fluffy pancakes surrounded with fruit, ice cream, chocolate, and a pot of sauce. I wouldn't even like to estimate how chunky they were but I can honestly say they were unlike any pancake I've ever ordered before. I assume the sheer thickness of them, and also the ingredients gives these hefty pancakes their famous wobble. I also assume they contain more egg than regular pancakes as they have a slight eggy taste.

This hint of egg wasn't a problem to me however my pancake loving Dutch friend found it particularly noticeable. I could barely taste it over the host of other sweet flavours from the toppings and sauces. The Thai Tea pancake (shown above) comes with Thai Tea cream sauce, white Timtam crumble, Strawberries, and Vanilla Ice Cream. The Tiramisu pancake comes with Tiramisu cream, chocolate peices, and Chocolate Ice Cream - delicious!

In the foreground is the Tiramisu pancake, in the background is the Thai Tea Pancake
The Tiramisu and Thai Tea Pancakes both $24.90

All in all I enjoyed both the Tiramisu pancake and the Thai Tea Pancake from The Brothers Cafe and I don't think I really favoured one over the other. I felt the portions were very good and I genuinely think one serving between two people would have been more than reasonable for a lunchtime snack. 

Would I return? Potentially. If I had a friend who also wanted to experience wolfing down some very Instagrammable pancakes, otherwise I feel like (for me at least) it's the kind of thing you enjoy once, take your photos, and move on. 

Have you tried the fat Soufflé Pancakes yet? They seem to be everywhere in Sydney!

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Two plates full of pancakes and toppings which look very messy after being cut up
The mess after we halved our Soufflé Pancakes

Sydney NSW, Australia


AD - This post is in collaboration with Welcome To Travel

Choosing to move to Australia on a working holiday Visa was no easy thing. I had to consider leaving behind my friends and family, quitting a job I kinda liked, and moving thousands of miles across the world to a place I'd only ever seen on the screen. But I did it. I moved to the land down under and so far it's going pretty damn well!

So what did I do to prepare myself for the big move? As a solo traveller, and a female one at that, there were a couple things things I needed to consider that maybe groups or couples wouldn't even think about. That's not to say moving to Australia solo needs to be hard but it's not for everyone.

Grace feeding a single kangaroo
Feeding the Kangaroos at Maru Wildlife Park - part of the Welcome To Melbourne tour

Let's break down the prep I did for my Australian adventure...

1. Research - I didn't do as much as I should, I'll hold my hand's up to this one. I'd seen vlogs, and tiktoks, and bits on instagram about the girlies living their best lives in the sunshine and I was SOLD. "Get me to the place where it's always summer" I thought! But here's the catch, Australia has seasons too and their winter is still chilly! I wish past Grace did a little more research before hopping on a plane without a jumper to weather that was actually colder than the UK. 

So watch the vlogs, watch the tiktoks, and consume all the content, but do some proper research about the weather, the cities, read hostel reviews because you'll want to prepared and safe in the first few weeks of your new life in Australia. 

2. Apply for a working holiday Visa - There are a couple of working visa's you can apply for if you want to move to Aus but the most popular one in the UK is the Working Holiday Visa 417. This is the one I'm currently travelling on and it is VERY easy to apply for. In fact I applied for my Visa in about an hour and it was approved almost instantly. Waiting times for Visa approval can vary though so this is something to be aware of.

Remember once you do start applying for work in Aus, especially remote work, always check reviews from past employees and do a bit of digging into the company you'll be working for - your safety is more important than any potential earnings!

Looking down across a golden sand beach. The large waves are lapping at the shore.
One of the many gorgeous beaches along the Great Ocean Road

3. Book the flights - I booked my flight to Australia about 3 months before I intended to leave. This gave me plenty of time to prepare for the move and enjoy some quality time with my friends and family. Booking my flights so far in advance also meant I benefitted from slightly cheaper flights than if I'd have booked them last minute. But even if you do book flights in advance be prepared to spend a few quid on them. I paid £1070 for my flight as I wanted to fly with Emirates and this price seemed to be pretty average, however I did see flights for as low as £600.

As a woman travelling alone, I deliberately booked a flight with a short layover so I wouldn't have to travel in and out of the connecting city with all my baggage as this is when I feel most vulnerable.

4. Book a welcome tour - Before leaving for my big adventure I was feeling a little nervous, which is understandable, so I decided to life life on easy mode and book on to a welcome tour for my first week in Australia. I booked with Welcome To Travel, a company set up by travellers so I knew I'd be in good hands. Starting my working holiday with them meant I would get an airport pick up, a fab introduction to the city with multiple tours, help setting up an Aussie bank account, an Aussie SIM card, and they would also apply for my tax file number amongst other things.

The Welcome To Travel tour helped me get settled into Melbourne very quickly and also gave me 22 new friends who were all on the same journey. For me personally as a solo traveller, making connections with other travellers is so important and in that first week I made so many friendships I still hold very dear even weeks after the tour has ended. 

If you like the sound of a welcome tour, the company offers two, one in Melbourne (which I did) and one in Sydney. You can get $50 off either of these tours with my code GRACEBEE*

* I receive a small amount of commission when this code is used.

Four friends sitting with their back to the camera, they are watching the sunset across the bay.
Watching the sunset with new friends in St Kilda (just outside Melbourne)

5. Give notice at work - Once my working holiday visa was granted (and even before I'd really planned anything else) I handed my notice in at work. This one was quite bittersweet for me as I'd finally found a job I didn't hate but the thought of travelling Australia and one day finding a job in the sunshine made it VERY easy to hand in my resignation. Before you do this it's worth checking your contract as I didn't and my notice period was slightly longer than I had realised. It's also a good idea to talk to your managers about references so that you can update your CV ready for working in Australia. 

So that's how I prepared to travel and work in Australia as a solo female traveller on the 417 working holiday visa. If I can pull this off anyone can, but I hope my experience helps you plan for you own trip.

I'd be happy to answer any questions about my travels and don't forget to keep up to date with my adventure on Instagram - search @gracebeeuk if you're not already following!

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Grace standing in the middle of an alleyway. Street art plasters the walls either side of her.
Exploring Melbourne street art in Hosier Lane


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