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Australia Travel

My Boss Summoned me to the Land Down Under

I used to work in companies where people get sent abroad, people of higher position or those who are just simply brilliant at what they do; I fall neither in these categories. So there it goes, at the back of my head, an impossible dream. It wasn’t until I worked in my previous company that I started entertaining possibilities of being sent on a business trip. I wasn’t consistent with the whole ritual of visualization where you meditate and think about it every single day. My process is more like, I ask the universe then forget about it. And then it happened, just not exactly the way I envisioned it. Late last year, I left the company, accepted another job offer, and just a month after I started, my boss summoned me to our head office in Sydney, Australia. The business trip I only used to dream about has materialized.

Wait what, how did this happen?

I wish I could tell you, it was due to my outstanding performance as an employee, but it was too early in the game for that. I started working for my current company in October, the business trip transpired in November. My boss summoned me so I can meet the rest of the Knowledge Management team. I am working as a Knowledge Specialist for an IT company based in Sydney. In the Philippines, our office can be found in Eastwood, Quezon City.

No hassle Australian visa application

I only had a month to prepare and I made sure that I have all the documents needed to assist in the approval of my visa. It was a relief to know that Australian visa application is all arranged online. I applied for Visitor (subclass 600) visa. I filled out the form and submitted the following documents:

  • Bank certificate
  • ITR
  • Certificate of Employment
  • Scanned copy of passport
  • Birth certificate
  • Invitation letter from employer
  • Travel history (scanned pages of passport with immigration stamps)

I paid AUD 140 (₱5,716.65) and passed my application on the 30th of October. That’s it, no interview, no embassy visit, no need to have it arranged by a travel agency. My flight was scheduled on the 10th of November so I sent a follow-up email on the 6th. The next day, I received my visa approval.

First time to fly from NAIA Terminal 1

I was excited to go to Sydney, but I wasn’t too keen to be on an 8-hour flight. I was traveling with my fellow writer, Kristel on a 10:30 p.m. PAL flight. We met at NAIA Terminal 1, as soon as I got off the Uber, one of the airport staff approached me with a trolley. Next thing I knew, he was leading me to a booth where I had to pay for his porter service. He did push the trolley for me but only up to the counter. I could very well do it on my own, I only had one luggage and one backpack, the porter service is an unnecessary expense in this case.

NAIA Terminal 1 is smaller and less busy than the other airport terminals. I know this may sound funny, it’s not like I was flying business class, but this terminal somehow made me feel like a VIP.  

PAL is cool, like seriously!

The first time I flew PAL was on a trip to Bohol. I remember feeling sorely disappointed that it wasn’t anything I expected it to be. It’s the Philippine flagship airline, I didn’t appreciate being served with Skyflakes for snacks. My opinion of the airline changed dramatically on this flight. First of all, food! Not just crackers but a meal. I’m aware this may be because it’s an international flight, but still, I appreciate the full package.

And the next best thing, the digital monitor for each passenger. You’ve no idea how important this little piece of screen helped me manage my flying anxiety. Sleeping on a flight is not my thing, or should I say, not something I am capable of doing. Hence, I was ready; music on my phone, check, books to read, check, and now movies to watch, check! I was armed to the teeth.

Somewhere between that 8-hour flight, turbulence strikes, too intense for my armory to handle. What’s a girl to do but sleep? I couldn’t do it on my own, I needed to pop a pill. When the med took effect, I was too groggy to care if the world is crashing down. I took liberty in occupying all 3 seats in my row and I did it with my seatbelt on; uncomfortable but doable.

Finally, Australia!

If you somebody told me years ago that I would go to Australia for a business trip, I wouldn’t have believed it. I have come to appreciate this aspect of life, the part when you get thrown with pleasant surprises.

Nov 11 – around 10:00 a.m., Sydney time, we touched down Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport. The first point of business is to get an Australian sim card and the Opal card. I approached the Optus store and asked for data that is good for 1 week of use. The staff recommended the Sim Only Plan for AUD 30 (₱1,225.00) with 3GB data.

Opal card is a smartcard ticket that you can use and reload for public transport in Sydney. I got the Adult Opal for AUD 40 (₱1,633.33).

After getting what we needed, Kristel and I parted ways; we wouldn’t see each other again until Monday. Meanwhile, I had the weekend to explore Sydney. I hailed an airport taxi that cost more than my soul to take me to my hostel. They do right-hand driving in Sydney, the driver is an Indian guy who said that he has been living in Australia for 3 years now.

He asked me a few questions, such as my country of origin, the reason for visit, as well as my job. He asked me if I could see myself living in Sydney for good. That time I had only been there for 2 hours, but I remember answering “Of course. I think it would be awesome.

And it was the beginning of the best 9 days of my life.

 

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25 Comments

  • Reply
    Sam
    April 13, 2018 at 12:15 AM

    This is absolutely enviable! I wish I could go to Australia too, but I heard the cost of living is quite expensive. Australia has a varied terrain that’s great for hikers and explorers. I hope someday I get to go to these big expensive cities for free too — that includes Dubai and NYC. A far-off dream.

  • Reply
    Kris
    March 24, 2018 at 11:22 PM

    Wow, only a month and you are off to Australia. I was put into the same position last year when I was asked to go to Bangalore to train new QAs from the same account which I am currently conneted with. Although I had to decline the offer for a 2 month travel to India, because I was just married on the same month it was offered. Work vs lovelife it is. Lols

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      April 1, 2018 at 6:34 PM

      Ooh, I’d probably beg off too if I were in your shoes haha…

  • Reply
    Ann
    March 24, 2018 at 2:00 AM

    Hi Marge! Congrats on your Aussie land assignment! I bet you are a one-in-a-million (a great thing they have you) kind of an employee. Will look forward to your amazing 9 days experience 🙂

  • Reply
    Aditi
    March 18, 2018 at 3:01 PM

    i can totally relate to your happiness and excitement as very early in my career even I was bestowed upon a chance to travel to Istanbul for work, I wasn’t at a senior position back then, neither a very old employee in the company, in fact it was just my second month in the job, but my hard work got me the golden chance

  • Reply
    Erica
    March 18, 2018 at 2:35 PM

    I’ve only flown PAL domestic … I wish I could also fly international with a flag carrier though I’m not sure if the legroom would matter much since my legs are pretty short. But the food looks really awesome so maybe it is really great to fly with a flag carrier. The best in flight meal I got was for a 5 hr trip but nothing like your meal! So, congratulations on a good start! Looking forward to more stories from your trip to Australia!

  • Reply
    Arni
    March 17, 2018 at 6:55 AM

    Looking forward to read more posts on your Oz adventure. It’s a great opportunity to foster spirit and motivation, whenever a company sends their team overseas for work. Well done! I do miss business trips, the adrenaline of visiting the international headquarters and meeting colleagues we often just communicate with via email.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      April 1, 2018 at 6:33 PM

      Hi Arni, you are right, I felt very motivated to do my job more after the trip. I was also happy to meet my boss and teammates in Sydney.

  • Reply
    Ash
    March 16, 2018 at 5:39 PM

    You are one lucky lady! Being sent for an international travel in your job is awesome, considering that you were with your employer for a month or less. You chose to keep us readers in suspense about your Oz experiences but I’m sure you had a fantastic time there. Sydney is a beautiful and vibrant city. I had visited the city a decade ago and I always want to go back.

  • Reply
    Swati
    March 15, 2018 at 3:18 PM

    I have never visited Australia, so this post is super helpful. I am sure you had a great time there. Keep us updated on how the 9 days went by

  • Reply
    Georgia
    March 15, 2018 at 2:20 PM

    How lucky! I wish my work would send me away to Australia haha! It sounds and looks like you had an incredible time, your photos are amazing, I can’t wait to read more from you!

  • Reply
    neha
    March 15, 2018 at 4:05 AM

    I have never flown with PAL, but looking at your recommendation, I would surely love to. However way it did, what matters is the trip happened for you and you seem to have enjoyed it a lot. Wish I had a similar luck in my regular job too… the situation is similar here as well.. the top management and the “cream” layer keep traveling while the rest of us stick to our desk 🙂

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      April 1, 2018 at 6:31 PM

      I hope you will get an opportunity like this too. 🙂

  • Reply
    Johna
    March 14, 2018 at 1:26 PM

    I love flying with PAL! I travelled with them on a 16 hour flight to London and I loved it! Also excited to read more about your Sydney adventures. Did you get to visit Bondi Beach? 🙂

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      April 1, 2018 at 6:30 PM

      I almost went to Bondi but when it rained on the day I was supposed to go. I will definitely visit next time.

  • Reply
    Karen
    March 13, 2018 at 7:39 PM

    Wow you are one lucky gal that you got to travel for a business trip to Australia. I bet all expenses paid? I had a similar experience on a business trip to London. Glad to know the Visa and flight experience were good. I can’t wait to read more about your trip!

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      April 1, 2018 at 6:30 PM

      Yes, it is company sponsored. I only covered my personal expenses when I extended my trip so I can explore the city.

  • Reply
    LaiAriel Samangka
    March 13, 2018 at 4:30 PM

    Truly, it is always great to work in the company that would really willing to send you to other countries for a specific job, or just for a company treat. My first out of the country trip was sponsored by the company and I will be flying to Bangkok, Thailand in the coming days, which will be sponsored again by the company I’m connected with. Anyway, Sydney has long been penned on my bucket list and hopefully, I’ll get the chance soon. you must really have enjoyed your trip to Sydney. I can’t wait to read more of your Sydney experience.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      April 1, 2018 at 6:28 PM

      Glad you get this kind of opportunity in your work too. Isn’t it amazing?!

  • Reply
    Drew
    March 13, 2018 at 5:00 AM

    Waaah. I’m so jealous of the fact that you didn’t go through the typical hassle of acquiring a visa. Like I’ve been wanting to try and visit Sydney as I have friends there. But I’m always scared of the Visa application as I’ve been told it’s super strict.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      April 1, 2018 at 6:27 PM

      Give it a try. It’s not hard if you have all of the required documents.

  • Reply
    Neil Alvin Nicerio
    March 12, 2018 at 10:57 PM

    Oh man. How I wish may ganyang perks din ang work ko. Hahaha. Regardless ng effort and galing namin we only get a pat in the back and some barya na kasya lang sa isang eat all you can buffet.

    Keep it up. Malay mo sa Australia ka na madestino. 😀

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      April 1, 2018 at 6:26 PM

      Let’s see haha… Should an opportunity comes, I would gladly accept it.

  • Reply
    Michymichymoo
    March 12, 2018 at 12:54 AM

    I can’t wait to read more about you Aussie blog posts, Marge. Kahit kinwento mo na sa kin. Lol

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      March 12, 2018 at 12:57 AM

      Thanks girl! Sana sipagin ako magsulat hahaha…

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