Today I went to drop a quilt off at my friend’s parents and because I haven’t seen them in a while I ended up having a cup of tea and a lovely chat and told them about this blog. I described the Update Notes I wrote every month while I was in England and explained how I intend for this blog to be similar but on a more global scale. I have looked over the two posts I have done and got very annoyed with myself. Nobody cares about tax and elections!!!
This blog is to tell people what I’ve been doing NOT how to do things or WHAT to do. If I want to write that stuff I might just have to guest blog or open a separate tab with the heading ‘Unwanted Advice’. Nobody pays attention to my advice just like I don’t pay attention to advice that people give me. People don’t want to be told what to do or how to do things. And everybody’s experiences are different anyhow. So I will stop pretending that I’m any sort of authority on anything and get back to amusing you all with the things I get up to.
At the moment that isn’t much at all. Well, nothing exciting. I had an argument with my mother the other day. She was writing a job application that she wanted me to help with. True to form she had left it to the morning it needed to be submitted, (and this would be where I have inherited my procrastination skills). I was willing to help but I wasn’t being very helpful. I told her I wasn’t going to write it for her, she told me she didn’t want me to, she just wanted me to tell her what to write. I’m good with ideas but not so good at thinking on the spot. This is me not being very helpful. After 4 hours of her giving me the silent treatment and me asking her if she wanted a cup of tea every 10 minutes it finally got finished and I was sent to deliver it in person, because I was going that way anyway.
That night I stayed at my sister’s house and witnessed my sister and her son have a similar stupid fight in the same vain and I just stood there and laughed at them. You really have to wonder what is floating around in our genetic codes. Don’t get me wrong, my mother and I have a fantastic relationship, one of those weird ones where we are more like friends then mother/daughter but there are times when, I’ll be honest, I just annoy her.
This being the weekend to catch up with people, I also had lunch with my dad, step mum and little sister. I had a nice time. This week is going to be hell though. My older sister gave me a house worth of curtains to hem for her, I still have 3 quilts to finish, tute tasks to complete for my writing course, a 2000 word article to write (which I haven’t started), and a few people still to see. I have to do all this before Easter. So, I’d better get cracking and stop procrastinating.
I am now a lot more organised then I was last week. My accommodation is booked, so I am sorted for the first week at least. Two quilts are finished, one almost finished, and the other three will be done before Easter. Yesterday I had a long list of things to do, most of which actually got done, and the rest I’m not sure about because I’ve now lost the list. I know I still have to get a flu shot and fill in a form so my step dad can be second signature on my account, and I need a letter of introduction from the bank but I’m sure there was something else.
Two weeks til I leave Tassie and I have the little bits and pieces to do. All the annoying things. Yesterday I spent most of the morning on hold, and then when I finally got a voice they told me to go to the internet and download a form. This was the response I got from the Electoral Commission. Australia is the only country in the world where it is compulsory to vote. We are one of three countries with the preferential voting system and I wanted to say that we were the first country to give women the vote but that was in fact New Zealand in 1893. Australia wasn’t until the year after the Commonwealth of Australia was formed (1902) but women were also allowed to right to stand for election. The only time you don’t have to vote is when you are out of the country, but if you don’t inform them they will fine you. On my travels people seem horrified that it is compulsory to vote. Americans especially. It’s more to do with the fact that you may have a bunch of uneducated people voicing their opinion on the state of the country. To a point I agree. But you have to consider the general Australian attitude. Most Australia’s do not even know how our electoral system works; and we are so laid back that if it wasn’t compulsory then no one would turn up.
The taxation office was annoying, but in reverse. I thought that while I was on the internet I’d just check them out. Their website said that you had to call. So after another 10 minutes on hold I was told that I had to download a form from their website, but at the end of the financial year. And again every financial year I’m away. Sure, I can remember that. Here’s the thing about tax. Depending on how much you have earned while away and where abouts in the financial year you are you may still have to pay tax on what you earn overseas. You may have to pay tax in that country, but you don’t want to get hit again when you get home. It’s a good idea to get as much information from your accountant or the tax office before you go.
My top tip would be to travel at the end of the financial year. For example, I got back from two years in England back in June. I put in two tax returns. One was straight forward as I had only worked for 2 months in that financial year so I got the whole lot back. The other I filed as a non-resident. I would have had to pay some off my HECS debt but that was offset by a donation I had made. I still had to pay tax because my earnings from the UK were considered and I have an account that pays interest. Also, you can’t claim as a non-resident too many times, they will get suspicious and then audit you. This year I will have two months of earnings in Canada I have to consider. This won’t affect me until I lodge my tax return when I get home. But it is better to be mindful and prepare for it then get a nasty shock and have a tax bill.
Sorry to bore you with such topics as tax and elections. It’s these little boring things that people don’t consider before travelling that will take some of the enjoyment out of a trip when you (eventually) return home.
I’ve been thinking about this blog for a while, but haven’t actually done anything about it. There is no time like the present, so here goes. You can read about me in my ABOUT section. I am completely useless when it comes to technology. I’m 31 and still holding on to ‘the good ole days’. (I own an iPod shuffle but am about to give it to my best friend. Strangely, just after I figured out how to load all my CDs to my iTunes.) So this blog will change as soon as I figure out how to use it and change it accordingly.
I am going to Canada in about three weeks. I have a visa for a two year working holiday. This is not a daunting prospect for me. I arrived home from a two year working visa for the UK in June last year (2011). I had a fantastic time in the UK. So I’m hoping Canada is just as rewarding. At this point I should be excited or nervous or something. I’m not. I’m just thinking I should really book my first weeks accommodation and get organised. So this is what my first entry is going to be about:
In the next 3 weeks I have a lot to do. Well, actually, I leave the place where I currently live, my parent’s house, and spend a few days in Melbourne before I head to Canada, so really I have a little over 2 weeks. In this time I have 6 baby quilts to finish, tutorial tasks for my writing course to complete, an article to write for my writing course, and many people to catch up with and say goodbye to. This is all very daunting, so that is why I am procrastinating and writing my first blog post. Avoidance, plain and simple. Preparation is not just the list of things you need to do but I think it is also necessary to prepare yourself mentally. This is why I don’t get excited. It leads to expectations. I have no idea what to expect when I land in Vancouver. I’ve never been before. I’ve spent time in Toronto, which was lovely, but I have no idea what Vancouver has to offer. I had a friend that would tell me that if you have no expectations then you can’t be disappointed. I have always kept this in mind. Also, I like to be completely sick of my family and friends before I go so don’t miss them so much while I’m away. Two years is a long time and there is so much I’m going to miss out on. I like to mentally prepare for this. I should really stop procrastinating and do something a little more productive, like book my accommodation.