Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to introduce you to my best friend and partner-in-crime, Jessica Lim. An expat living in the Gold Coast, Australia.
Jessica Lim is a Canadian graphic designer who grew up in Ottawa, Ontario and recently moved to the land down under to work as her boyfriend is pursuing his law degree. Jessica has been a lucky gal as she has the ability to work remotely from anywhere and see the world while she is doing so. She also started a new venture while living in Australia, her own gourmet ice cream sandwich company which she speaks more about in her interview!
I virtually interviewed her to give you an inside look at expat life in the Gold Coast. Here is what she had to say.
What does a typical day look like while working from home abroad?
I really never have a typical day. I am the graphic designer for a company in Toronto and act as the Creative Director for their magazine so I get to wear lots of hats and do different things every day. One thing that is almost always constant in my day is that I make sure I spend a good amount of time outside because I don’t want to take the nice weather for granted.
What was your biggest fear before moving to Australia?
My biggest fear about moving to Australia was the distance from home. I moved here with my boyfriend, and besides him I didn’t know anyone. It was scary to think that I couldn’t easily go home if I needed to or wanted to, and it was a strange feeling to be so far from home and not have anyone. Although this was the scariest feeling, it was also the most exciting.
What is your favourite thing about living in Australia?
I love living close to the beach and am really enjoying the beautiful weather. I grew up in freezing cold Ottawa so I can’t say I miss Canadian winters at all! I also love the amazing markets and café cultures that the Gold Coast has. There are a lot of cool weekend craft markets that sell hand made one-of-a-kind items, and after I hit the markets I usually to go to the cafés for brunch. The brunch here is out of control! The menus are so unique and different. A few weeks ago I had something called “purple toast” from a café called Paddock.
What has been your favourite discovery in the Gold Coast so far?
I’m always really excited to see and discover new animals. Sometimes I feel like I should go back to kindergarten but in Australia so that I can learn the names of all these foreign animals! Some of the best animals that I’ve seen in and around my area are: stingrays, endless amounts of baby birds, crabs and water dragons. I’ve also been lucky enough to feed a wild dolphin, kangaroos, and cuddle with a koala bear. Those are just things I would never be able to do back home in Canada.
Where have you visited so far in Australia and where do you plan to visit?
I’ve mostly been enjoying the Gold Coast beaches and exploring the areas that are around where I live. I’ve been to Brisbane for day trips, which I really enjoyed. I also visited Moreton Island, which was one of the most incredible places I’ve ever been because of the wildlife. Wild dolphins come and visit the resort every night and you are able to feed them. It’s a really great program because they put the safety of the animals first and make sure that they are not being overfed, that way the dolphins still hunt and remain wild. They also have a really cool man made reef with sunken ships where you can dive and snorkel around.
What has been the biggest adjustment for you since moving from Canada?
I was very surprised to find that I had to do very little adjusting. Australia is very similar to Canada except that the weather is warmer and the people have accents (or I have the accent). I guess the biggest adjustment would have to be that the Gold Coast attitude is very laid back which is both amazing and challenging. Coming from living and working in Toronto, I appreciate the contrast and enjoy a more laid back lifestyle, however, it is challenging because I cannot fully embrace the Gold Coast attitude, due to my job.
What has it been like starting your own business in Australia?
I’ve always wanted to own my own business and moving to Australia seemed like a good time for me to take a risk and try something new. I started a gourmet ice cream sandwich business called Chip. It seemed like the perfect business idea to me because the weather is always hot here, so it’s always a good day to eat an ice cream sandwich! It is really fun to be in total control of all the branding and create something out of nothing.
Do you have tips for anyone visiting the Gold Coast?
Don’t do the touristy stuff! A lot of people think of theme parks and having a beach holiday when they think of the Gold Coast. If you want to really experience the Gold Coast don’t make any plans and just explore. I would check out the different beaches and wildlife parks like Burleigh and Currumbin, and if you’re adventurous rent a surfboard or paddleboard for the day.
You can find Chip at different markets or events in the Gold Coast area. You can visit www.chipgourmet.com.au to see where they’ll be going next, and make sure to follow them on Twitter and Instagram, or like them on Facebook.