Life lessons I learned on a Working Holiday

9 reasons why you should start saving for travel now

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Moving overseas on a working holiday at any stage of your life will certainly open your eyes and teach you lessons you could never learn at home. My first working holiday was at the age of 18, so it was a complete game changer. In just 1 year I learned so much about myself, the world, life, work, relationships, money, budgeting and more.

The lessons I learned on my year abroad in Canada changed the course of my life, and a working holiday will certainly impact you too.

So let me jump straight in and explain the valuable lessons I learned on a working holiday in Canada.

Confidence and independence

The greatest thing I learned on my working holiday was confidence and independence, which I gained by breaking away from my high school circle and stepping (flying) out of my comfort zone. By doing so, I learned to be my honest self around others, I learned to get around confidently, to ask for directions when needed, to talk to new people and to challenge myself.

After my first working holiday at the age of 18, I knew I could tackle the world. I have now moved overseas multiple times, to multiple countries, and each time I leave Australia I know I will land on my feet.

To deal with uncertainty

When you move overseas on a working holiday, regardless of how much research and preparation you do, you really have no idea what to expect.

Stepping out of your comfort zone and into the unknown teaches you to deal with other situations in life that can be hard to predict.

Learning to deal with uncertainty has taught me to be extremely easy going, flexible and adaptable, all valued skills. I mean no one wants to travel with or be around that person that needs to know every little detail about everything.


When I left on my first working holiday I had a suitcase weighing 32kgs. I had every type of outfit and accessory for any type of situation. What I learned after a year on a working holiday is that I really didn’t need all this stuff. I wasn’t using all of it and when it came time to move, which for me was often (every 3 months), I had to haul my 32kgs plus everything else I accumulated. Being solo, overseas and without a car, this isn’t an easy feat.

See more on the benefits of packing light.

Now when I travel, I take only what I need. In life, I buy only what is essential.

Having little makes you feel free, and it saves you money to spend on more important things.

A working holiday also taught me that I don’t need a car.

Find out more about how travel turned me into a minimalist. 

Budgeting skills

When you move overseas on a working holiday, having a budget is essential. You need a budget to work out how much money you will need to get settled in a new country, and when you do start working you need a budget to make sure you are living within your means.

You learn budgeting skills on a working holiday because you have to do! See my tips for making the most of your travel budget. 

What I wanted from life

After my working holiday in Canada, I came home with certainty about what I wanted from life. This was thanks to the fact that I learned what I loved, how I enjoyed spending my time and the lifestyle suits me.

Before I left on a working holiday, I only knew what I knew, and this held me back from discovering my true interests and self.

Attitude is everything

Lastly, but certainly not least, I learned that attitude is everything in life.

“The world exists as you perceive it.

It’s not what you see but how you see it.

It’s not what you hear, but how you hear it.

It’s not what you feel, but how you feel it”.

– Rumi

Find out why I packed my bag and moved overseas at the age of 18.

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Are you planning a working holiday in Australia? This is what you can expect from life in Australia.

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3 thoughts on “Life lessons I learned on a Working Holiday

  • Erica

    LOVE this! I’ve thought about doing a working holiday many times over the last few years and this post got me excited and thinking about it again. I love how travelling like this can almost turn one into a whole new person.

  • Dawn

    Loved reading this! My daughter is 10 and we are already encouraging her to take a gap year and go work abroad or travel…so many great things to learn. We have also had au pairs live with us and I have seen them having to cope with all the challenges of living in a new country, which is a great life skill.