From Seattle to Sydney
I grew up in Seattle, Washington, a rainy (but beautiful) corner of the world where I spent most of my childhood backpacking to remote alpine lakes, travelling around North America & Europe on family holidays, and developing a real passion for adventure.
After high school, I felt overwhelmed by the urge to do something different— so I moved to Australia (read more about why in this post) to study Medical Science in Wollongong, a sunny beach town near Sydney that truly became home over the next several years.
Although I’d originally planned to live in Australia just long enough to complete my undergrad (3 years), I fell in love with the laidback lifestyle & adventurous spirit of my adopted home.
Shortly after graduating in 2015 (& only a few months after moving to Melbourne to work & save for Med School), I accepted a fully-funded research scholarship with the Australian Institute of Sport & earned my PhD in Biomechanics at the end of 2019.
Finally, after years of waiting & hundreds of hours of paperwork, I became an Australian permanent resident in 2020! It was my thesis-level visa guides that really put my blog on the map, and it brings me incredible joy to help others migrate to this beautiful country.
Blood, sweat & tears for travel
From 18 to 26, I travelled to nearly 40 countries on 6 continents, all while living in a foreign country & studying full-time to finish multiple degrees, including a doctorate.
People often ask how I could afford to travel so much, and the answer isn’t very glamorous— I juggled 2-3 jobs (including university teaching) the entire time I was studying, walked 45min to work just to avoid buying a car & sold all my belongings more than once to afford plane tickets.
My priority is, and always has been, travel. As hard as I worked to put away money (& completely pay off my student loans just 3 years after graduating), I’ve never questioned whether it was worth it.
Dr Brooke Beyond
After finishing my PhD & accepting full-time work at the University of Melbourne in early 2020, I continued to teach & work in research at 2 other universities more than 60hrs per week.
I signed up for medical trials, I accepted freelance editing jobs, I put my hand up to teach any available subject at uni, I drank a lot of $2 wine… & less than a year later, I’d saved $75,000 for travel.
In September 2020, I left my home in Melbourne with 2 suitcases, flew to the US (one of the only options during the pandemic) & set off on a road trip around the southwest that completely changed my life.
I maintained a small presence in the research world by working 1 day a week with the University of Canberra (I still do!), but with no permanent address & very few obligations, I had finally fulfilled my dream of becoming a full-time nomad. It was freedom like I’d never experienced & it was even sweeter than I’d dared to dream.
No ordinary (van)life
Fresh on the full-time travel scene & with more excitement than I knew what to do with, I bought a van at the start of 2021 & spent the next 1.5 years cruising through 11 US states, 20 National Parks & almost the entirety of Mexico.
Vanlife was the ultimate antidote to the pandemic, a way to spend every day outside, hiking & climbing through some of North America’s most spectacular landscapes, all while avoiding large crowds & sticking to a tight budget. And after years of moving around, never settling long enough to hang photos on the wall & regularly living out of a backpack for months on end, vanlife gave me everything I’d always sacrificed for travel (routine, a sense of home, more than 3 shirts to choose from) alongside some of the greatest adventures of my life.
2022 & beyond
After moving out of the van rather unexpectedly in May 2022 & splitting with an abusive partner, I’m more eager than ever to maintain full-time travel & see more of our incredible world, whether it’s from the train window or the top of a snowy peak.
This year, I’ll be getting back to my roots as I backpack through old favourites like Italy, explore long-awaited destinations like the Middle East & work on my climbing skills in the North Cascades. Who’s to say what’s to come, but rest assured it will be a wild adventure & I’ll share it all right here on brookebeyond.com!