Monday, April 18, 2011

Travel Logg

Day eight; A place that you've traveled to:

We all dream. We sit and say things like, "Someday, I'd like to go to Paris or see the pyramids". I used to say that I'd love to see Australia. Then we get caught up in our daily lives and "someday" seems to get pushed further and further away. Our careers seem to take over our lives. We find ourselves saying things like,"I couldn't leave my job long enough to do that".

Sydney Harbor Bridge and Opera House
The truth is, you can. This world rotated around the sun just fine before you graced it's surface and will continue to do so long after you're gone.

One day, in early 1997, I was showering and thinking. I do my best thinking in the shower. And I thought, "What am I waiting for?" When I got to work that morning, that thought kept going through my head over and over again. So, on my lunch break, I went to the travel agency that was located in my building and told them to find me an Australian adventure that I would never forget. The next day, she called me back to her office and laid out my options.

I ended up taking a month off work for a little walk-a-bout downunder. I first flew to Los Angeles to visit with my sister whom was working at UCLA at the time for a couple of days. Then it was a 13-1/2 hour flight to Sydney where I spent a week roaming around the metropolis that it is. I landed around midnight Sydney time and to circle the city seeing the harbor bridge, opera house and centerpoint tower all lit up was surreal. I took one tour to get my barrings about me then lost myself in the city.  Let me tell you that one week was not enough. Darling Harbor was very kewl and I even found myself lost in Kings Cross one afternoon well into the night.
From there I boarded a train to Melbourne. On the train, I met a woman that was traveling home from Sydney to Melbourne. Although she was in her 50's, this was the first time she had been outside of Melbourne and she was very excited to have met an American along the way. We talked for 5 hours on that train before parting ways. I spent 5 days in that beautiful city. It was more laid back than Sydney. Every street seemed like a garden. I loved the trams everywhere and there was a buzz in the city with the Australian Open Tennis Tournament going on across the Yarra River from my hotel.
Train Station, Melbourne
After that, I got on a plane that I thought was headed for the outback. I had no idea that there was a layover in Adelaid. As I got on the plane at 8am, I was seated next to two young men that had just flown in from Thailand overnight. They had been drinking all night and were on their way home from a long vacation. I could have let their drunkenness bother me but I chose to embrace it and figured that I too was on vacation( or holiday as they referred to it) and had a couple of drinks with them. When we reached Adelaid, they wanted me to get off the plane with them. After a little hesitation, I said OK! We spent the better part of the afternoon together before they dropped me back off at the airport for the remainder of my rescheduled flight. It was a choice that I have been proud of since I did it. Those guys were amazing and I'm glad that I met them and spent the time with them.
At my hotel in Alice Springs, they were starting to worry about me because of my late arrival. So I let them know that I got a little distracted. 
I spent a couple of days in Alice Springs relaxing by the pool with a swim up bar. I was fortunate enough to be there the one night a year that it rains. And rain it did. We're talking about 30 centimeters or about a foot of water fell out of the sky that night. I had to move from my dinner table by the pool to an indoor table. What was a dry river bed the day before when I awoke the next morning was a raging river. Funny thing was is that it wasn't humid at all. It was nice that the flies stopped trying to go into my mouth and eyes though. I was able to go to a Corroboree with some  aboriginal people and experience some "delicacies" in the form of a witchetty grub that we dug out of a tree root and ate. Hey, I didn't go all that way to not experience everything. 

Stew @ Uluru
From there I went to Uluru or as Americans call it Ayers Rock. What an amazing landscape everywhere you look. So different than the green that we see in the Midwest of the United States.

And for my last leg of the trip, I went North to the tropics. A little town called Cairns on the North/East coast. From there I experienced the rain forest around the Daintree River and took an excursion with Quicksilver Cruises to the outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef. Again, it rained while I was out there and pictures didn't turn out so well. But the colors of the reef were absolutely amazing as I dove down and swam with the fishes.
Bond Falls, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland, AU
Along the way in my travels, I learned that it is a big world that exist outside of our everyday life. There are many fascinating people and places out there. I did this trip alone causing me to be a little more adventurous as to who I talked to along the way. It was an amazing time in my life and I found someone I never expected to find on the other side of the planet.
 I found myself. And I realized that I kinda like me.

Some day I'd like to take Eddy there. Or anywhere that he'd like to go really. Where have you been or would like to go that you've always fantasized about?


That corgi :) said...

That does sound like a wonderful expedition and I'm sure one you remember often with fond memories still many years later. I think you gave wise advice to "go out and do it" and not wait until a better time or a better situation because that time may indeed never come. LOL about your best thinking in the shower, I often feel that way myself; my most profound thoughts do come while taking a shower too.

I can't imagine getting that much rain in that short period of time! Truly an adventure indeed!

My problem is I don't like flying so although I might want to go to Israel, I know I most likely will never make it there. However, a very memorable trip that we did take was to Washington DC about six years ago. I really enjoyed the area there, getting around on the Metro, and visiting with my sister/her family/my mom that live in that area; it was the last time I saw my mom alive so I think that is why it stands out as memorable.

enjoy the day


Calling Ravens said...

Wow-sounds like an amazing trip!! I really love the way you said you met yourself and "realized that I kinda like me."
That is excellent!
Thanks for sharing a great trip/story!

Jim said...

Stew, good for you for listening to yourself! What a great trip it was.
I would love to spend time in Paris, at a cafe watching the 'world' go by.......sipping whatever and sampling croissants by the dozen!

Then off to Tuscany in Italy!