On April 29, my sister, Bethany, and I embarked on a three-week journey up the East Coast of Australia, departing from Sydney and heading to Cairns. We planned our route carefully after consulting travel agents, fellow travelers, travel blogs, and Lonely Planet. The drive from Sydney to Cairns is a long one – 29 HOURS! – so we opted for the Greyhound’s hop-on / hop-off pass. We’re coming for you, Great Barrier Reef!
We’ve spent four beautiful months together and created memories which I will cherish forever. I’ve hiked your coastal cliffs, sailed your harbors, explored your neighborhoods, wined and dined in your restaurants, viewed your highest points, and tanned on your beaches. I can’t imagine a better place to spend my first few months in Australia and am forever grateful for our time together. And now, as I reflect back and set my eyes on the future, I think it’s time for us to move on, to see other people and places. Thank you for being the city I’ve grown to love, with my five favorites included below.
“There will be over a million people!”
“You will need to arrive early and make a day of it.”
“Most of the good vantage points are ticketed and will cost at least $150.”
“All the free spaces are alcohol-free.”
In the days leading up to New Year’s Eve, my head was spinning with information overload. This was my first, and likely only, time in Sydney for the celebration and I was determined to see the world famous midnight fireworks…I just didn’t know how I would pull it off.
One of the best parts about living in a new country (or even a city sometimes!) is picking up the local lingo. Here in Australia, there’s heaps of fun Aussie slang and slight variations to my American English language. After a short three and a half months in Oz so far, I’ve learned a few new Aussie words and phrases. And, while I haven’t incorporated them into my daily speak quite yet, they’re still fun to hear and share.
A friend of mine introduced me to Travel Massive before I arrived in Australia. She lives in New York, is a travel blogger (@TheGlobeGetter), and is part of Travel Massive’s New York City chapter. Knowing that I too have a travel blog, she suggested I join the Sydney chapter to meet up and network with travel industry people in my new city. Travel Massive’s mission is “to unearth and connect travel insiders in every city in the world in order to empower change in travel”. Thus far, I’ve participated in two of Travel Massive’s events in Sydney, one of which I was privileged enough to have my friend, The Globe Getter herself, join me!
“I think the Gators made me sick,” I told my new friend. “Sorry – who are the Gators?” Ugh. Sometimes it’s difficult living abroad. For one, your new friends are not usually the kind of friends you can share the typical banter from home. These new friends also come with a new set of international germs and with that, the possibility of becoming ill. I have lived in Sydney for a month now and have been sick twice within that month. Illness is another difficulty while living abroad. Without your typical routines, eating habits, germs, and doctors around, it can be challenging to know what to do when sickness strikes.
This Wednesday marks three weeks in Oz! I’ve explored much of Sydney, viewing the city through the eyes of a tourist, and am now transitioning into life as a temporary citizen. There’s a lot to sort out including a bank account, tax number, employment, and apartment. I’ve been chipping away at the list each day.