…or she fell very slowly, for she had plenty of time as she went down to look about her and to wonder what was going to happen next.
There’s a strange place where nearly everything can kill you, but you don’t seem to mind. Where the trees flower incredible colors and exotic birds are common. Where going means leaving. And being lost is becoming aware of what you’re missing. I found my Wonderland but, unlike Alice, I wish I had never left.
I suppose I should start at the beginning. The fall was an incredibly long one. Flying from Dallas to Sydney takes about 17 hours and, while it’s a nice plane with personal TVs and free alcohol, there is nothing that can make it feel like time is passing quickly. I left on a Monday night and arrived Wednesday morning. I collected my well traveled duffle bag and wandered out into the throngs of people awaiting their international arrivals. Would I even recognize the White Rabbit when I saw him? As it turns out, he’s quite unmistakable. And besides, the sign reading “Miss Awesome McAwesome Pants” could not have been meant for anyone other than me.
So the adventure began, with a little difficulty. Every time we got in the car together we ended up completely lost. Not even the GPS could save us from it. I’ve never been happier to be lost. But eventually we ended up where we were aiming to be and I had the rest of the afternoon to myself. Kind of. I went for a walk in the Eucalyptus forrest and then took my first ride on a motorcycle (don’t worry I wasn’t the one driving) to the viewpoint at West Head. My adventures in Sydney ended up being some of my favorite. We had sushi, went to the beach, explored the city, and never stopped smiling. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much in my entire life. I’ve never felt more welcome anywhere in the world than I felt with Adam and his family. But, after a few days, I got onto another plane and flew to Melbourne.
I’m sure I did this part of the trip all wrong. I didn’t love Melbourne as much as I feel like I should have. I started every morning with a yogurt and granola breakfast and then ran next to the river or through one of the Commons. I was sick with a miserable cold most of the time I was there so, my outings were limited. But I still managed to take a trip to the zoo, visit the Fitzroy gardens, see some of the remarkable graffiti, and watch the fireworks on the last night of the Moomba festival. Probably most importantly, Melbourne is where I did my McDonalds experiment. And one day I will write a post about all the McDonalds I’ve seen.
After several days, I got onto another plane and took the short trip to Hobart, Tasmania. I had my shortest stay there. But, with the cold mostly gone, I managed to do quite a few things. I went to the top of Mount Wellington, visited the Cascade Brewery (where I tried every single one of the beers), made some new drinking buddies, and ended up at a club with a bunch of people whose names I may never remember. And that was all in one day. The next day, while I nursed my well deserved hangover, I started looking at jobs and rent costs. I was a little over half way through my trip when I realized I didn’t want to go home. But I still had another stop before I needed to worry about that.
Back to Sydney I went. This is where I have to work from memory because I didn’t write down anything after the first night back. I remember things so clearly, but can’t seem to put an order to them. There were more hikes through the forrest and a couple nights in watching Disney movies. Another night we got hot chocolate and sat across the harbor from the Opera House (the view is beautiful during the day, but it’s even more so at night when the only sounds are the water hitting the rocks and the breeze playing in the trees). And, on my last day, I took a train into the Blue Mountains and explored Katoomba. If I could go back in time, I would have stayed awake all night soaking in the very essence of Australia. Or, maybe, I wouldn’t have left.