I was planning to upload another post sooner, but a) I wanted to wait a few days so I had some actual content and b) The wifi has been crap. So now I actually have quite a bit to say!
My Mum, Dad and sister all came to see me off at the airport (my brother even called me from Univeristy earlier that day). I was honestly surprised at how unemotional I felt. The past few weeks leading up to leaving work and finally jetting off, I hadn’t really been counting down the days. So although I booked my one way ticket back in November, I didn’t feel like a school kid wishing the weeks to go by until the next school holiday. I just took each day as it came and when 14th February arrived, I just knew what I had to do that day. So although I could tell my parents and sister were nervous for me, all emotions were bottled up until I was about to pass through security and I turned and saw my sister was the first to cry. Surprising, as I thought my mum would be the first! After that, I think we all shed a few tears before I disappeared around the corner.
I had mixed emotions over both my flights to Sydney. I flew with China Southern so we stopped over in Guangzhou. The first flight was relatively decent… Most of my friends and family were hoping that since I was flying on Valentines Day, I would end up sitting next to a cute guy and a romance would ensue. In fact, a cute guy did indeed sit next to me, however, after a very short conversation he proceeded to plug his earphones in and then fell asleep whilst watching Doctor Strange. To be fair there was only an hour left of Valentine’s Day, so I wasn’t too heartbroken!
Usually I am not able to sleep on planes very well, so I was fortunate to achieve around 3 hours sleep throughout the whole 11 hour flight. What put a downer on the rest of the journey was being given pork noodles instead of an omelette when breakfast was served, so I didn’t get the croissant I had been looking forward to.
Guangzhou airport is not the most exciting. I was saved during my three hour stop over by the movies I had downloaded on Netflix (thank god I did that). The second flight was marginally worse. Although the food had improved and I finally got my croissant, my seat was in the most unfortunate position to get any rest at all. I was sat on the aisle seat right next to the toilet. Although the queues, noise and smell were not too bad, it was the light which shone directly in my eyes whenever someone opened the door to the toilet. I violently cursed (in my head) anyone who vacated the bathroom and left the door open. Could they not see I had been awake for 36 hours and needed my beauty sleep?!
I had one moment about an hour before we landed in Sydney where I was just overcome with nerves and panic. I just kept thinking to myself ‘What the hell am I doing?! Why am I doing this?! I want to go home!!’ If you’re reading this and you’re about to do you first big trip or first solo trip, you will almost definitely have this moment of worry. I had the same feeling as I was about to land in America last year. My advice is just to remind yourself of why you are doing this trip. All those hours of hard work and all that money you saved up. You earnt this, you want this, you need this. The feeling will pass, I promise. As soon as you step off that plane, you’ll remember why you’re there.
So now I had landed. I had reached the other side of the world and as I waited a whole hour for my baggage, all I could think was ‘Shit, they’ve left my backpack in London!’ Within that hour I had planned what I was going to do, who I was going to call, but all the while considering doing this after a nice long shower and nap. Fortunately I spotted my pack riding the conveyor belt underneath plenty of other luggage, so I wondered if it had been there the whole hour and I was just being completely stupid. I was tired ok!!!
I found the hostel pretty easily; I stayed in Wake Up! Sydney central hostel for my first three nights. When I got to my room I met Jo, my first travel fwend! (I told you, you were featured Jo!) She had been drinking the night before and so invited me to breakfast with her. It was nice to be able to get on with someone so easy, and I’m sure she’ll be the first of many that will understand why I quit my job to go travelling. Jo had just been around Asia for three weeks and had arrived in Sydney only a couple of days before me. I was so happy to make a friend so quickly and we both agreed it was fate that she was hungover and in the room the moment I arrived! The rest of the day was spent showering, resting and then walking around unsuccessfully to find food. So it wasn’t a very eventful first day on the other side of the world, but it was definitely what I needed.
The next day Jo and I went on the free city tour around Sydney with our Hostel. A lot of walking and blistered feet, but it was the best way to begin my trip. We both had a moment when we came to the Opera House viewpoint. We finally felt like we were really here. This is why we’re here. And then of course a lot of picture taking happened; an America gentleman who was part of our group even asked if I would be in his picture. I was simultaneously flattered and creeped out.
Just as the tour ended, a massive thunderstorm took place limiting what we could do for the rest of the day. The hostel had a deal for $5 pizza and of course, who could pass that up? However, after drinking my first beer in Aus, the jet lag finally hit me and I had to find a bed.
Bondi was stunning. The sand was cool and the sun was hot. It was a fairly cheap bus ride using our opal passes for the first time (much like an Oyster card). The journey was made interesting by a guy from New Zealand who sat next to us and commented on how fat people don’t go to Bondi and how they were killing themselves by getting rich and stuffing their faces whilst also complaining he hadn’t had enough drugs and alcohol to deal with this bus ride.
Now heed this fair warning; do NOT underestimate the sun. Although Jo and I had smothered ourselves in sun cream, it was not enough. We both came back from Bondi with massive burns. We had evidently missed certain areas… so now I look permanently embarrassed (those who know me understand how red I go when I am embarrassed) with odd red patches on my belly, inner arms and thighs. Brilliant. So learn from my mistakes kids and take a bath in sun cream before entering the sunlight!
Dinner that night was found in China town. Inexpensive and massive portions! I would completely recommend experiencing this if you ever visit Sydney!
Keen to find some postcards and souvenirs, the next day was spent at a place called Paddy’s market where we found a wonderful display of kangaroo testicles. Something which one of my managers at work had asked me to bring back for him… Unfortunately I was disinclined to keep these in my pack for a whole six months, so maybe if I come across them again towards the end of my trip!
I finally completed my mission of finding the perfect cut off denim shorts. Ones that were not high waisted, too tight, too long but long enough to actually cover my big arse. And there they were, waiting for me in a shop called factorie. The happiness I felt was almost equal to the moment I saw the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Not. Even. Joking.
I think I’ve just about maxed out how much I can put in a blog post without it getting boring. Over the next few days I’m going to be climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge, exploring some museums and finding the perfect pair of Havaianas before moving onto Byron Bay on Thursday. I hope that’s enough to keep you all hooked! I’ll also kinda of review the hostels I’m staying in and whether it’s worth switching your SIM card over.