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Meet Ashley and Michael

Ashley and Michael on couch in Surry Hills

When Ashley (23, left) and Michael (25, right) decided back in London to come to Australia, they gave each other two months. They quickly made some money goals, got their visas, packed their bags and never looked back. Now, being six months into a one year stay, I got the opportunity to speak with these two fun-loving guys at their studio in Redfern and get their views on everything from Australian culture to travelling in the developing world.

Why did you decide to leave London and come to Australia?

A - "I wanted to do it for a long time. Aussies do the opposite and come to England to work, and I loved the carefree attitude they all seemed to have."

M - "I also wanted to do it for a long time."

Do you wish now you had given yourselves longer than 2 months to prepare?

Both - "No, not really."

M - Since it was so rushed, we didn't have any expectations, so there have been no disappointments."

Were you nervous?

Both - "Yes."

M - "I was nervous just it being us and being away from all our friends and family. One year is a long time."

A - "I was a bit more sheltered. I still lived at home, so coming here was a big step."

What do you do here?

M - "I work at Hurricane's in Darling Harbour as a waiter. It is more than enough work for me. I easily work 5 days a week, and the money is pretty good."

A - "I work as a stylist at Noddy's on King in Newtown."

*You might be surprised to know that not only do both Michael and Ashley have great jobs, they both got said jobs on the very first day they went looking! Yes, they are quite lucky.

What has been the most surprising, shocking or funny aspect - culturally - about moving to Australia?

M - I don't understand how people walk around barefoot everywhere."

A - "Yeah. When I see someone walking down the street barefoot, I have to wonder, 'Are they homeless?'"

M - "The slang.. tipping is bad."

A - "Tipping is poor at the salon, too."

What has been your favourite part of Sydney, or favourite part of living in Sydney?

M - "My favourite area in Sydney is definitely Surry Hills. I think it's a very nice area, central, full of bars and shops, close to Oxford St, Newtown."

A - "I like the weather. I like the sunny mornings because we're limited with sunshine in London. So, every day is a treat for me."

Furnished Property tenants in house kitchen
Ashley and Michael with housemate in Kitchen.

Why did you choose to live in one of Furnished Property's residences?

M - "A couple of our friends in the hostel were moving out with Furnished Property, and they told us about them. We didn't want to live in a hostel anymore. It's so easy when you're a traveller because their places are fully furnished."

What has been the best part of living in a Furnished Property?

A - "You know where you stand. We had friends go on Gumtree to find a place and a few weeks or months into it, they got evicted. They had no contracts."

M - "They [Furnished Property] have been really helpful. I don't even know how many times they drove us around to look at places. When our last contract ran out, we went to Thailand for two weeks and got a new place immediately when we got back."

Do you plan on travelling around Australia?

M - "We plan to leave in November and travel north to the Gold Coast, Cairns."

A - "We want to get out of the city."

Have you ever travelled to Third World countries?

Both - "Thailand?"

Do you want to?

A - "I like luxury. As shallow as it sounds, I don't really want to slum it."

M - "Kind of the same."

A - "Well, maybe Peru."

M - "Africa just for a safari."

Would you consider yourselves backpackers?

M - "We're not backpackers. It was a bit hard to start off."

A - "Yeah, we're learning to... slum it." [laughs]

Do you think you'll want to extend your visa for another year?

M - "It's hard to say right now..."

A - "It's been a great trip, but I think we'll be ready to go home."

M - "There are other places we want to see... New Zealand... I want to go to Canada. He wants to go to America."

A - "It's made us feel appreciative for what we have back home. It's so isolated here."

I would just like to thank Michael and Ashley for taking the time to share their experiences with us. We wish you luck on your future travels whenever and wherever they may happen!

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