Sydney, Australia

Goodbye, Sydney

January 6, 2015

Goodbye, Sydney! Someone asked me what I liked so much about Sydney.. I gave them a few obvious answers but after it all clicked as to why this stop was so important for me. I’ve been here for over nine months and have yet to see the most iconic city in Australia. Most people arrive to Australia via Sydney and then set off to explore the rest of the country from here. Therefore, it’s the first thing they see. For me, I arrived in Perth in the West which is quite uncommon. Over the past nine months I have been slowly traveling and working my way up and down Australia until I finally arrived here. All along the way, I would hear about Sydney from others. They would seem rather shocked to learn that I hadn’t experienced it yet. With my love of big cities, my anticipation grew and grew until I finally saw the Opera house blissfully standing tall outside my train window. I’ll never forget that moment, that feeling.. It was kind of a sense of accomplishment. I had worked, saved, budgeted and most important, experienced all that I have which led up to this moment. It may just be the way my mind perceives things but it seemed like a long “pilgrimage” to finally arrive.. and not to mention, to arrive just in time for New Years! I had my typical “just wing it” approach because I can’t stand pre planning when traveling. So many people said I was crazy, that Sydney accommodation would be booked up, astronomically expensive and that I would be sleeping in the park. I found this not the case. Accommodation was available and even cheaper than the prices leading up the the big day. In the end, they just wanted the rooms filled. In addition, I’ve been shown such amazing hospitality since I’ve been in Sydney. Numerous people have taken me under their wing, supplied me food and booze (the elixirs of life) and made sure that I had the best Sydney experience possible. To all these people, thank you. Once day when I am settled, I can’t wait to return the favor to travelers who also went on a limb in a far away place. Sydney has word of mouth reputation of people being assholes.. One can only judge by their personal experience, but 90% of the people I met were warm, inviting and friendly. I’m extremely thankful for this, I was a tad bit concerned and had my eye out. Other smaller places, yes they were friendlier, but for a huge city, it wasn’t so bad at all. The last part was the expense. OK, it isn’t cheap, but in Western Australia and specifically Perth, it’s way more expensive. I’m thankful I started in the most expensive part of Australia and so now everything seems “cheap.” But still, I feel I use $50’s like how I go through $20’s back in the States. Gone with the wind! Besides the $50’s flying out of your hands, the city flys but too. It’s buzzing. However, you can still retreat to the tons of accessible beaches nearby that make this city so attractive. Not to mention, the thousands of boats floating and docked in the harbor. I love boat culture and this city definitely has it. It reminds me of growing up in Texas. The city, to me, has a romantic feel to it. As you sit along the harbor watching the sunset over the Opera House and skyline you can’t help but feel a little swooned. As I leave Sydney, I carry great memories. The most predominant is the NYE fireworks, more specifically where we saw them. On NYE, Sydney becomes packed around 8am with people already standing in line to get a spot to see the fireworks. The viewing places fill up quick and in order to get a decent spot you must camp out all day, then it still typically isn’t on the water. I was bestowed a ticket Grant and his mates to the Circular Quay, the central station if you will on the harbor. The ticket granted us access to a docked boat on Wharf 3, the same boat which takes you on the famous ferry ride from Sydney to Manly. In addition, we were at a pub at 11:40pm and bolted through VIP access gates to the boat minutes before the fireworks went off. We didn’t have to camp out at all. The view was right on the water between the Harbour Brudge and the Oper House. It’s a moment not able to be expressed but one thing I can express is my gratitude. Thankful for everything. As for the rest of the nights, well let’s just say I saw sunrise more than I didn’t. Half of the times I wasn’t even partying due to my budget, I was merely feeding off the energy of everything around me. Photographing the sold out electronic show was a treat. Walking hours with Dan across the Sydney and the Harbour Bridge was a highlight as well. The day trip to Manly to see Matt and his new life over there was a great night out, evening if I was running on 3.5-4 hours of sleep. Spending time with my friend from home, Michelle, as she starts her year in Australia and welcoming her was a highlight as well. I will leave Sydney with fond memories but am comforted knowing I’ll be back for one last hoorah in March before my visa ends. As for now, it’s onwards to Melbourne. Everyone who gets to know me says Melbourne is my city. It’s all about music and the arts. It’s supposed to be quite unique, funky and has a European feel. Many people this week have said the phrase, “Melbourne is so different than Sydney.” I’m not sure what that means but I’m about to find out! I read a quote when I was in Sydney that really was applicable to my time here.. Being the guy who likes to end with a quote I’ll finish with this.. “Life becomes more meaningful when you realize the simple fact that you’ll never get the same moment twice.”

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Ferry to Manly Beach

January 4, 2015

Taking the ferry from Sydney over to Manly Beach to visit Matt for the day. Cruising through the harbour seeing all the beaches scattered throughout gives you such an appreciation of what a unique place Sydney truly is. I’ve longed to experience Sydney and its surpassed every expectation. While I have 48 hours left until I start my new chapter based in Melbourne, it’s comforting to know that at the end of February I’ll be back in Sydney for Mardi Gras/Pride to have one last HUGE hoorah before it’s time to go. Alright.. Phone up. Headphones in. Sigur Ros play.

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