Final Thoughts

Okay, so since I was so bad at keeping up on blog posts during my big road trip at the end, I will just skip that part and post pictures on Facebook, so go check it out ! BUT! To give a bit of an update: after Defqon in Amsterdam, I flew way north up to Cairns and hired a van. I then drove all the way down the east coast ending in South Australia and circled back to Melbourne where I dropped off the van.  After that, I flew to Tasmania and did a 5 day tour. I did too many things to name any favourites, but every place I went was an adventure. I met and traveled with the most amazing people and had probably the most amazing time of my life.

This post is just going to be some final thoughts on my whole adventure. I am now two months into being back and just thinking back on my trip is making me miss it. It was really hard going back to work so quickly after traveling for so long. From starting my trip with the flu in New Zealand to finishing in Tasmania, it was an amazing experience. With every trip there are ups and downs, but I really felt like this trip did what I wanted it to do. Unlike my European adventure, this trip was less about the party and more about getting some distance from a few things in the states. What better way to clear your head than fly all the way around the world?

I was not sure what direction this trip would take when I arrived. I do however, believe that things happen for a reason and everything has a purpose. I was not expecting to live in Sydney when I applied for the working holiday visa. In fact, I had my mind on living in Byron Bay per recommendation of some of my friends who studied abroad in Australia in uni. However, I really liked the family that wanted me to Au Pair for them and that to me was more important than location. I met my Australian best friend at the pub I worked at and truly built a life while I was there.

When I left for Australia, I had no idea what direction my life was going to take, and honestly I still don’t know. I have so many different passions in life and want to figure out what I am doing for the rest of it. The whole idea behind this trip was to give me time to think and figure it out. Instead, what it showed me was that my love for traveling will never go away and whatever direction my life takes has to have traveling in it. Now that that is established, I can figure out the rest of my life. Something big on the list is to finish my flying certifications and make a career out of that. I guess it makes sense that I love traveling and flying so much, they kind of go hand in hand.

Anyways, back to the trip. I fell in love with Australia and everyone/everything in it. I am going to miss it so much. Going from one of the most epic trips of my life to being back at home and at work has been really hard. But! It is motivation to figure out the next steps in my life.

Next adventure, Everest Base Camp!

Cheers.

 

Final Thoughts: A Sydney Update

Well I had started another blog post about two weeks ago and called it “The End is Near”, but as we all know I am not very good at time management when it comes to packing and well, the time got away from me and I honestly didn’t have time to pack, let alone finish the post. So… now I am going to write a new one on the plane.

For those who don’t know, I am on my way to Amsterdam to meet some friends for Defqon 1. Why am I going all the way to Amsterdam from Sydney for a music festival that also takes place in Sydney?
A) I will be back in the US by the time the music festival comes around in Sydney.
B) My friend back home couldn’t go and sold me his ticket.
C) I found a really cheap round trip flight.
All three signs telling me I absolutely have to go to this festival which I have dreamed about going to fo a long time. So, here I am on a 26 hour journey to Amsterdam. I am very excited, but need to make it through the 26 hours of travel first…

But, right now I need to back up a little to my last few months in Sydney. The last time I posted I believe I had just finished the Great Ocean Road. So much has happened since then, I am not even sure where to begin. I was trying to make as much money as possible to pay for my trip (both my trips actually), while still trying to see every last thing in Sydney. So rather than write a really long boring post about everything I have seen/done in the last 2 months, I will substitute it with pictures. So here is a chronological list of everything I have done told in pictures…

The Blue Mountains:

The Sydney Aquarium:

The Sydney Half Marathon:

Symbian Wildlife Park #kangarooselfie:

Vivid Sydney:

Toranga Zoo

Hunter Valley Wine Country:

Pancakes On The Rocks:

And the kids are use as amazing and cute as ever…

       

My time in Sydney has been one of the most amazing times in my life. When I first left the US, I wasn’t sure what direction this trip would take. I had already done the post Uni European adventure, so I was eager to see how this trip would turn out. After talking with one of my best friends in Sydney last night, it became clear that the purpose and reason for this trip was different.

Before leaving for my Europe trip, although I did have loose ends in the US, I felt like I needed to get out of the States. I needed a grand adventure to celebrate the end of Uni and to take a bit of a break. I found my love for traveling back when I was 17 and first went to Europe with my dad and family and then of course again when I studied abroad in Spain. Sorry Mom, I can’t say I found a love for traveling when we all went to China. As amazing as that trip was, I was about 11 and was not old enough o appreciate anything (I guess I will just have to go back). So, there was no question that I would enjoy myself in Europe and of course this trip in Australia. However, this time, it was clear that I was really going to miss everyone back in the US more than the last time I traveled. The weekend that I left every possible friend group I have (work group, festival group, hashing group, and of course my main #squad group) made sure I had a proper send off, showing me that although I was ready for another adventure I was really going to miss Colorado and everything in it.

The trip to Amsterdam and the month and a half long trip I have planned from Cairns to Melbourne will be the absolute perfect send off back to the United States. I finally feel at peace with the fact that I need to figure out what I am going to do in life and I think I am ready to be in one place for a bit. I will never scratch the travel itch so to speak, but traveling will always be part of my life, but I am ready to start my life back in the States, for real this time. I get to come home and watch one of my best friends get married and I get to be in the wedding. I am so excited to be back for that, so much so I decided to come home early for her bachelorette party, not because I felt like I should, but because I really and truly wanted to.

I am the happiest when I travel, but I think it is partly because traveling gives me clarity on my life, which is exactly what I wanted this trip to do. I have so many passions: medicine, flying, adventuring, that I have no doubt whatever I decide to do in life, I will be happy, but I needed this big adventure to show me that.

I will always love to travel, but I am also so excited to see where my life takes me.

Goodbye Sydney, hello Amsterdam!

Cheers.

The Great Ocean Road (April 16th-22nd)

Okay, what you have all been waiting for… my time on the great ocean road. Okay, well maybe not what you have all been waiting for, but certainly a trip that I have been waiting for. This post is a few weeks late, but I have been insanely busy trying to work to make up for the week off I took. If you should ever find yourself in Australia, the Great Ocean Road (or GOR as many people refer to it here as) is an absolute must do. Many people do it in three days, but we decided to do it in five and honestly, it was the best decision because we really got to take our time. I went with 3 people that I didn’t know who all just happened to be German, but more on that a bit later. For now, I will just say this, you always run the risk of not liking your travel mates and let’s just say I made the most of my trip once I accepted the fact that we were not going to get along. For now I will just talk about my amazing time on the beautiful GOR.

Day 1: Sydney —> Melbourne

Well day one of our grand adventure started on Monday, April 16, which of course is my birthday. I did not have the best birthday, mainly because it consisted of driving 9 hours to Melbourne. We chose to take the inland (less pretty route) there as it was a lot faster, but I fully plan to take the scenic, coastal route on my big road trip in July. Two of my three travel mates met me at Spaceships Rentals, Kilian and Isabell. We also drove a random third person down to Melbourne who was not going to travel with us, but just needed a ride. It took about a million hours to get paperwork done and get the camper van all ready to go. It was about 11:00 am before we finally hit the road.

I started out driving, which of course I am comfortable driving on the other side of the road at this point. However, the time to switch drivers came and Kilian took over. He had never driven on the other side of the road before and also had never driven an automatic car, we were all scared for our lives. However, I am happy to report, that he did great and we all got to Melbourne in one piece, even though we got there very late. We were meeting the other German, Rebecca in Melbourne who drove there from South Australia. We stayed in a hostel the first night to avoid having to find a place to camp and were ready to hit the road early the next morning.

Day 2: Melbourne —> Torquay —> Lorne

I will start out by saying that the whole GOR is only 243 km (151 miles), so not very long, giving us all the time in the world to stop and look at everything.

We started the first day of the driving to Torquay, the town that is the official start of the GOR. This is where we did our grocery shopping, got fuel and were finally ready to go. We honestly had no idea what we wanted to see or where we were going to camp, which in my opinion is the absolute best way to start an adventure.

We didn’t make it very very before hitting the Great Ocean Road memorial Arch.

And then I decided to crawl on top of the van at a pull off with a beautiful view…

We arrived in the town of Lorne around 3:00pm that first day, not knowing this is where we would camp. When you decide to travel with random strangers, there are things you just don’t think about when you choose your travel mates. The first thing is whether or not they are willing to actually camp. I went into this trip with the intention of choosing free spots, but all the free spots obviously don’t have showers, soooo we paid for caravan parks every night. Not ideal, but it was three against one and honestly something I was willing to compromise on.

And… we ended up finding a pretty spectacular spot.

We decided to have the bday celebration for me that we didn’t get to have the night before, which really only consisted of drinking some VB (Victoria Bitter).

Day 3: Lorne —> Cape Otway

We didn’t get the early start we necessarily wanted; I think by the time we woke up and got the camper all packed up, it was about 10:00 am. That mixed with the surprise hangover I had was a recipe for really needing breakfast. We got breakfast in Lorne, backtracked a little to the visitor’s centre to grab a map, and hit the road again.

We didn’t get very far deciding to stop at Lorne Pier for a few  pictures. There were these three friends who were fishing on the pier, who you could tell this was their regular thing, and I’m kind of obsessed with the picture that I took of them.

Our next stop was Kenneth River, where is notorious for seeing Koalas in the trees, and guess what….

… we saw one!!!

One of the spectacular things about the Great Ocean Road, is there are so many beautiful pull offs that you won’t find on any map of attractions, and we stopped at almost all of them. But, for time’s sake, I will just post pictures of two.

 

After a delicious lunch, a quick walk through Maits Rest Rainforest…

…and a very long dirt, bumpy road, we arrived at our camping spot for the night at Bimbi Park. We drank some wine and ended up having a little visitor…

…a possum!!! Evil little thing, climbed on my towel.

Day 4: Cape Otway —> Port Campbell

Before leaving Cape Otway, we made a stop at the Cape Otway Lighthouse. I took like a million and one pictures of this lighthouse, but I don’t think any one of them can really capture the beauty that we saw, but I will try and pick the best one. It was truly spectacular.

We decided to take the long way around to the Twelve Apostles (the main attraction of the GOR), backtracking a little bit on the Ocean Road and taking the tiniest dirt road called Binns Road, that lead us to Triplet Falls.

Triplet Falls was a very pretty site, but we did not have the best car for a long dirt path, and it probably was not worth the hassle getting there.

Right before getting to the Twelve Apostles parking lot, we took a small little pull off and I am so happy we did because the view we got was absolutely incredible…

Photo credit goes to Kilian, but it was took good of a picture not to post.

We finally arrived at the Twelve Apostles and just in time for sunset. I am just going to let the pictures do the talking on this one.

Port Campbell is the last “big” town of the Great Ocean Road. Technically it is not the end of it, but we decided to make this our final destination before heading back. The main reason for this is because one of our travel mates realized she left her prescription glasses in the bathroom at Bimbi Park. Luckily, someone turned them in, but it meant we were going to have to backtrack a little bit the next day. That being said, we bought some sausages to BBQ for out last big night and called it a night fairly early (well I did at least). It makes it a little easier to sleep early when your travel mates literally don’t speak with you (I am not bitter about that one or anything).

Day 5: Port Campbell —> Torquay

So, it ended up being a blessing in disguise that we had to backtrack for the glasses. Our original plan was to finish the GOR and take the inland route back to Melbourne to save some time. However, I am so happy we did not do this because we had missed a huge site! It is this rock formation called the Razorback caused by all the wind-blown spray that comes off the ocean.

One of the other sites on this pull off was the Lock Ard Gorge, yet another breathtakingly beautiful view.

So, it was a very sunny day, but don’t let that fool you… it really wasn’t that warm. However (I am unsure why), we thought it was a good idea to jump in the water. It was probably because the water was so crystal clear and blue, so logically we wanted to take a swim. Well… It was absolutely freezing and 100% worth it.

Backtracking even let us stop at the Twelve Apostles again, but this time in daylight. I think, I liked the sunset view better, but you can’t pass up getting to see this iconic view a second time.

And, let’s be honest… the trip would not be complete without seeing some kangaroos!

We finally arrived back in Torquay, the town where we initially went food shopping at the start of this grand adventure. We camped for the night there and again I went to bed early not partaking in the wine festivities.

Day 6: Torquay —> Melbourne —> Belanglo (Daly’s Clearing Camping Area)

Now that our adventure was over, it was time to head back to Melbourne to drop off Rebecca, who had left her car there. We stopped at the Brighton Bathing Boxes before dropping her off. I had no clue that this was an attraction in Melbourne, but it was actually super cool.

After dropping Rebecca off, it was time to hit the road back to Sydney. It was a long long day as it took probably an hour just to get out of the city traffic in Melbourne. By the time we actually got on the freeway, it was 2:00pm. Luckily, we hadn’t planned to do the entire drive back in one day. It was only Saturday and we did not have to drop the van off until Sunday afternoon.

We (I) decided to camp in this spot called Daly’s Clearing, which was a few miles off the freeway down this dirt road. This was honestly my favorite camping spot, but not my travel mates’. They for sure preferred having toilets and a shower. This one was free, but did not have any facilities whatsoever, causing a little bit of a problem. I chose not to make this an issue on the trip as it was a battle not worth fighting… But, I wanted at least one night of actual camping, so I spoke up for the last night.

Funny enough, we chose the one spot this group was doing a huge forest rave party that lasted… well… all night. I don’t think any of us slept.

Day  7: Belanglo —> Sydney

The last day of our road trip was finally here. We had about a 3 hour drive to Sydney. We stopped at this beach on the way called Hyams Beach, supposedly having the whitest sand in the world. It was beautiful, but out of all the sites I saw, I probably wouldn’t put it in my top ones.

We finally made it back to Sydney, making a quick pit stop at my house so I could change into some work clothes and drop off my bags (sadly I had to be at work at 6:00pm that night).

Of course a road trip wouldn’t be complete without a sexy car wash (Kilian’s words, not mine) for the camper at the end…

Overall, I would say it was a pretty epic week, however (sadly), it was not my travel mates that made it amazing. But hey, that is traveling sometimes, you just have to take it for what it is and make it amazing for yourself… and that is exactly what I did.

Until my next adventure…

Cheers.

 

 

 

Sydney Update

Okay… So, again not too much to update on. I am gearing up for my long road trip on the great ocean road in Victoria. SO EXCITED!!! Camper van booked and travel mates found. I leave on April 16th (my bday) and head to Melbourne. Me and two other Germans are going to drive to Melbourne and then pick up another girl there and start our adventure. I will of course update this after that adventure, but for now I have just been working a lot to make money for it.

Since the last time I posted, I have started working at a bar in the center of Sydney called the Agincourt Hotel. which is pretty awesome. Fun little fact, the reason bars here have “hotel” in the names is because a long time ago, the only way places could serve alcohol is if they provided accomodation as well. I came here on this working holiday with the intention of doing bar work as I had never done it before, so it is super cool that I actually get to do it. I have never had a job before that I have had to be on my feet for hours at a time, so this is new for me, but overall I would say that I am enjoying it. The people I work with are amazing humans and honestly I think starting the work there marked the turning point for this trip. Up until a month ago, this trip was good, but now having people I can call friends and do things with, has turned it into something amazing. I have started to meet other au pairs in the area, one of whom is now going to come work for my current family after I leave. The other day, we all went to the Sydney Tower and had drinks at the 360 restaurant at the top. The tower overlooks the entire city and honestly gives the best view.

 

 

 

 

 

I went with some other au pairs who I had never met, but again, I couldn’t have asked for a better night.

The kids are just as cute as ever. They are truly amazing kids and the family is so amazing. I wasn’t sure how it was going to be living in the same place I worked. I have had plenty of nanny experience, but at the end of my day, I would go home and here I obviously don’t.

   

Jack                                                Emily

This last weekend (Easter), they invited me with them to all their family activities and I wasn’t “on duty” for any of them. Sunday, we went to the beach and this little farmers market in Bundeena, a beach town in Royal National Park. I bought like a million books… hope I can read all them by the time I leave haha. I mean they were $2.00. I couldn’t just pass them up and the money went to a good cause.

Hmmmm… what else can I update on? Oh! Not saying I am homesick, but me and a few other au pairs went out the other night and wound up in this American burger joint called Big Daddy’s. And I will say, it was very nice getting a little taste of home 🙂 I do miss some of the food there.

It was amazing and following that we wound up in a convenient store that sold the good flavors of Pop Tarts!! Here you can get them in regular supermarkets, but they only have the chocolate brand… who wants that? Answer is nobody, well not me. Needless to say, that was my breakfast the next morning.

Well I think that is all I really have to update on and my next post will be after my big birthday road trip, so stay tuned!!

Cheers.

Sydney – Part 1

I have been living in Sydney for about a month now! It has had its ups and downs, but for the most part I am loving it. I will say, it has been different actually living somewhere than traveling around. I obviously have not updated this blog in a while as I am doing less than when I was constantly on the road, heading off in new adventures every day. This is an adventure in its own though because this is all new to me. I have never been living in a new place by myself. I don’t count my study abroad experience because that was all scheduled through the University with so many other students (aka built in friends). I have been struggling a bit here making new friends, while working and living in this suburb of Sydney, called Jannali, but I think I have officially started to find my groove (but more on that later).

Let me back up here as I do have a lot to catch people up on. Most of you already know this, but I found a job as an Au Pair in Sydney. An Au Pair is basically a live in nanny, however with the kids in school and daycare, I have a lot of time off. When I first arrived at the end of January, I had already planned to travel to Port Stephens to see some old friends for Australia Day. It was a very brief trip, but a lot of fun. I would describe Australia Day as a slightly less wild 4th of July, but still a ton of fun. We found ourselves at Murray’s Brewery eating some ribs and drinking some great beer! But, before, I knew it, it was time to head back to Jannali and officially start my new job.

Unfortunately, my adventures in New Zealand and the first few weeks in Australia put me on a very tight budget for when I arrived in Sydney, so I had to put my adventuring on hold a little until I started to make some money. I was still able to do a few things, but wanted to wait to really sightsee, until I could actually enjoy it without worrying it would break the bank. Here is some advise to anyone who wants to travel… sell your car before you travel or plan your travels after your car lease is up because having a monthly car payment back home while traveling is a bit of a bummer, although I am making it work. The biggest downside: my car lease is up in August, so I won’t even have the car when I get back, I just get to pay for it while I am here…

Anyways, there were two things that made my first few weeks here awesome, even though I was very tight on money: Number 1. HASHING! The Hash House Harriers’ group that I was a part of back in Boulder, is a world wide group, dedicated to drinking and running. It is literally a built in group of friends wherever you go in the world, which is awesome! Right when I arrived, I got the pleasure of joining the group for a wonderful day of drinking and running at their annual red dress run. I was super stoked since I actually have not been able to attend one of these back home.

Number 2. Seeing Rachel! Rachel is an AMR coworker who decided to do a working holiday visa in Australia as well. Although, we have different plans for our time here, it was awesome that we overlapped a day in Sydney before she set off on her Southern Australia adventure. I did just find out, she will be back in Sydney very soon, and I will talk her ear off to plan my Southern Australia trip coming up in April

The kids I am nannying for are so lovely. Of course, they have their moments, but for the most part, are great kids. The parents are Lucy and Adrian who are actually from the UK and moved here about 10 years ago. They originally came for a year and never left, funny how that happens. They have a 2 year-old son named Jack and a 3 year-old daughter names Emily (who will turn 4 in April).

These kids are the only kids I have ever met who ask for salads and tomatoes for an afternoon snack. Emily’s favorite food is smoked salmon… I am very certain that is not the normal favorite food for a 3 year-old.

Jack likes to eat yogurt with his hands, but you can’t blame him, he’s 2 and once he starts, there isn’t much you can do except let it happen.

Apart from hashing, I have now finally been able to do sightseeing and do some weekend adventures in and around Sydney.

I started with doing the Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach coastal walk a few weeks ago, which was spectacularly amazing.

Last weekend, on Sunday, I was able to be a proper tourist (yes, I brought my selfie stick out) and do a day in Sydney, starting with eating a very over priced avocado toast at the opera house restaurant…

From this restaurant, you also get a pretty amazing view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

This was, of course, followed by a very overpriced (but worth it) tour of the opera house. I will say, it was pretty amazing learning about the history of it being built. I think the most interesting fact was, the Danish architect, Jørn Utzon was pretty much kicked off the project before the interior of the opera house was started, following a change in government. Jørn Utzon never even saw the finished opera house. I was a little disappointed seeing the inside of it, as it did not even compare to the beautiful outside.

I am only putting a picture of the inside of the opera house here as I have taken so many pictures of the outside from all different angles, and my 2 favorite ones I will put a little later in this post.

Following the opera house, I took a stroll down the Rocks Market. The Rocks is the oldest part of Sydney, where the pubs used to be for sailers on old ships coming into Sydney Harbour. This is also where the convicts were housed a little later. Every weekend, there is a market held here, that is just like a farmers market, but still really fun.

After this, I went to the Contemporary Art Museum. So, I am going to be honest, I have never gotten art; I am bad at interpreting it, and just don’t really have much interest in it. However, I did feel like this museum (which was free), was something I should at least see while I was here, as it is one of the main attractions, so I did. The piece of art I found most fascinating was this one and only because it made me laugh and you will see why…

Needless to say, I am still not an art person, but now I have checked this museum off my list of things to do in Sydney (and it is a long list).

There are many money making tourist attractions in any large city you go to and Sydney is no exception. You can even pay $300 to get harnessed up and walk over the arch of the Sydney Harbour Bridge for, what they say, is the best view of the city and the opera house. Or… you can pay $15 dollars to climb 200 steps up the South-East pylon of the bridge for the exact same view (this is called Pylon Point). This is the option I chose.

Picture 1 of 2 of my favorite pictures of the Opera House

And! you even get a view of the bridge from this lookout.

My day was coming to an end as my feet were killing me (this was a bad day to break in a new pair of shoes). I got some gelato from Messina’s (very famous gelato place here)…

… and headed back to the train station to go home.

I was greeted back at the house by the kids who had been playing with their kiddie pool and the hose…

Welcome home Kali! Luckily I had already changed.

The next day, Monday, I went back into the city for a tour of the Rocks that was also a pub tour. Not only did you get a great historic tour of the Rocks, but we also got a beer at all 4 of the oldest pubs in Sydney. If you are ever here, I would highly recommend this pub tour, with Dave’s, The Rocks Pub Tour. This company also has other tours, which are also supposed to be great.

And regretibally, I was so hungry and of course a little drunk, and my night ended with this…

I am ashamed despite my large smile in this pic

I did however, take my all time favorite picture of the Sydney Opera house on the night of this tour.

I think I am on a sightseeing roll, because on my day off this last Thursday, I went into the city again for even more sightseeing. Rather than go into excruciating detail about every sight I saw that day, which I am sure you all really desperately want to read, I will just show some of the highlights. I did a free walking tour in which they rely just on tips at the end, it is perfect if you are on a budget.

St. James Church                               Royal Botanical Gardens

                                         St. Mary’s Cathedral

I will wrap up this post by telling the wonderful story of my adventures with my new friend Audrey from yesterday. Audrey is also an Au Pair and she actually lives really close to me. I am honestly so excited to have a new friend in the area. Kristen, I really feel like you should have been on this adventure with me as we almost died. I guess it’s both of us that are bad luck, as you are no longer the only common denominator when we almost die on our excursions.

It all began with some miscommunication. Audrey asked me if I wanted to do a coastal walk to a beach with her on an island just a short ferry ride from Cronulla (the town Audrey lives in). Since I had done the other coastal walk a few weeks back, I was assuming it was going to be like that, having restaurants and bars along the way. Boy was I wrong, it was in Royal National Park (which was on my list, I just did not know that was where we were going) and there were no facilities of any sorts around. Luckily I had dressed for a walk, but was not prepared aside from that. I had not eaten breakfast that day, I packed no food and I only had 3/4 of a bottle of water. We started the journey to the beach which only took about an hour.

The views along the walk to the beach were pretty amazing.

We finally arrived at the beach, but this is where the story starts to go south. We laid our towels on the beach, but the winds were high and we were getting pelted by sand. We decide to pack up and go to this fresh water lagoon we knew was around there somewhere. We must have missed a turn because we ended up on a completely different path, taking us over 2 hours to walk back to the main road. With no water and no food, and a temperature of 100 degrees F, we were exhausted. We finally made it back to the road, but unfortunately, it was so far from where we started and it was going to take us almost 2 hours to walk back to the ferry. We ended up hitchhiking back to the ferry, which worked thankfully. Shout out to the awesome Scottish family who picked us up, you rock! I don’t think we would have made the last ferry without them. Well, we ended up shoving our faces with some mediocre Mexican food and margaritas when we finally got back to Cronulla. The good news is, we didn’t die and we live to see another adventure.

Until my next adventure!

Cheers.

Finally Made it to Australia!

So I guess I am a little behind on blogging, so I will do my best to kind of sum up what I have done so far in Australia. I have been in Australia for a little under 2 weeks now and am loving it. It is very hot here right now though, so thank goodness for the ocean and beaches.

These were my last 2 weeks before starting work in Sydney. I am happy to announce that I got a job as an Au Pair in Sydney with this lovely family. The job is basically like a nanny, but it is live in and is slightly more involved with the family. It is a change from my past few nannying jobs, but I am very excited about it.

Anyways, I arrived in Brisbane on January 10th after a very long day sitting at the airport in Auckland and I was completely exhausted. Although, I did get a decent meal on the flight to Brisbane because I was on a China Airlines flight with a final destination of China, but had a stopover in Brisbane (where I of course got off). I tiredly made my way to the terminal and caught my shuttle to “The Bunk”, which was the hostel I was staying in. I was a bit bummed I was going immediately to Lismore the following morning, as the hostel had a bar in it that looked rather nice and fun (spoiler alert! I decided to stay in it again and I was right, it was a lot of fun). If you ever find yourself in Brisbane, I would highly suggest staying here. Without even knowing it, I booked a hostel that was right around where all the good bars ad night life is.

The following day, I woke up, ate a FREE breakfast (another reason to stay at this hostel), and made my way to the coach station where i caught my bus into Lismore. I was met by Rachel, the woman who lives on the farm where I would be staying for the next week. We arrived at the farm and luckily I was able to take a little nap and relax the rest of the day. The farm is just outside the city of Lismore in an village called “The Channon” and was a small farm with some chickens,

alpacas,

and some very adorable dogs…

This is Jazz

This is Pixie

I will be honest and say, I was so excited to meet the alpacas.

The next morning, I was put to work with the other workaway girl also living there (Amanda). We were sent to rake leaves. I texted my mom after we had finished and said that I will never complain about raking her law ever again, as this was about 5x the size. Despite that, we did it without a complaint and finished. I was honestly so thankful for the free room and board, that I was willing to put in as much work as they needed. I stayed at this farm fro about 6 days in total and between the light house work, some tree removal, some outdoor cleaning and raking, I also got to explore the beautiful area this couple lived in. David (married to Rachel), took me on a hike to “Protestor Falls”, which was this gorgeous waterfall.

The story behind how it got its name is actually amazing. The area was originally used for logging, but the locals did not want the area to be demolished, so in 1979, there was an anti logging protest that took place. This protest was actually successful and the area was made into a national park called “World Heritage Nightcap National Park”. So you can see where this gorgeous waterfall got its name. Swimming is not permitted at the base of this waterfall because of the Fleay’s Barred Frog and the Giant Barred Frog, two species of frogs that live there and are, unfortunately, endangered. Despite all the signs around the area, people still swam in it, which is very sad because this area is beautiful and if enough people continue breaking the rules, they will be forced to close it down to the public.

The Sunday before I left the farm, there was a little market that happens once a month. This really reminded me of the farmer’s market back home, which made me very happy. It was nice to get a little taste of home when I am literally on the other side of the world.

That Tuesday, I hitched a ride into Lismore with David and caught the bus to Byron Bay.

The best way I can describe Byron Bay, is if Boulder, Colorado was on the ocean. It was an amazing little beach town. The people there were so incredibly nice and the beaches were absolutely beautiful. I met some awesome people in my room at the hostel (I stayed at “Byron Bay Beach Hostel” which I would highly recommend).

The first night I was there, we just went out and had a few drinks, listened to some live music…

… and met some cool people from England that we ended up hanging with the rest of the night.

I guess even over here, I am still the EMT. I say this because that first night,  one of the guys decided to jump onto a pile of rocks feet first when we were sitting at the beach; he landed straight on his ankle and within about 10 minutes, his ankle was the size of Texas. Me and one of the other girls in my room helped him walk back to the hostel (luckily he was in the same hostel as us). I really question what goes through peoples’ heads while drunk sometimes… like why did he think that was a good idea? He did ask us why we let him do it, to which we responded that he gave us zero warning he was going to do it.

Anyways moving on…

The next day was the first day of surf camp!! I just laid on the beach for a little in the morning and at 1:30, it was time to go to my first surf lesson. It was soooo much fun and I actually managed to stand up.

I was completely exhausted from surfing honestly and so I just took it easy that night. Me and one of the girls in my room took a beautiful walk to the lighthouse that overlooks Byron Bay.

We walked up there at sunset, which was probably one of the more genius ideas we had that week. It was amazing and now I officially understand why everyone says that Byron Bay stole their heart.

Byron Bay, you stole my heart too ❤.

I had another surf lesson at 9:00 AM the next morning so after the lighthouse and dinner, I passed out. It was another successful surfing day, but I was sore from the day before. I actually really do want to keep trying surfing while I am in Australia.

Byron Bay is a super chill town and people really just surf, lay by the beach and party here. So that is pretty much what I did for the last day and a half I was there.

I was lucky enough that the couple who I stayed with on the farm was headed to Brisbane that Friday. They were so kind and offered to pick me up from Byron Bay and give me a lift. I am so appreciative of them; they were amazing.

Now I am in Brisbane getting ready to head off to Sydney tomorrow. I honestly just used my few days here to just chill and relax and catch my breath. I feel like I have been going non stop for a month and a half. I did some laundry and just walked around a bit.

I did get to have lunch with a friend (Ashley) who I met in Granada about a year and a half ago during my European backpacking adventure. It was amazing to get to see her again. We had lunch and drove up to Mt. Coot, which overlooked the city.

Next adventure… Sydney, where I officially start working.

Cheers.