Day 1. The beginning.
While I may have made it to my ultimate promise land, Australia, it definitely didn’t come stress free.
The journey started off with a full day in NYC, where the weather was beyond perfect, and I saw some of my favorite people. I had an unexpected and interesting send off from someone very important in my life, and found myself feeling lighter than I have in a while. I can’t completely explain why I feel like this day was the end of a really big chapter in my life, but something cosmic was shifting as I prepared to leave NYC for this epic adventure.
I think it may have been that a few of my worlds were colliding, and that this has been a trip I’ve wanted to take since I was really young. I haven’t traveled this far away ever, and if I’m being completely honest, I’m hoping that I fall in love with this country as much as I have dreamt, and relocate for a while.
Add to the fact that I know I won’t be returning to the same apartment that my life had found stability in, and it becomes all the more apparent that the most important chapter in my life thus far, really is over.
NYC is incredible, but it starts to feel small, overwhelming, and excessive for no reason. The rat race is never ending, and I think I’m just ready for something new, something different, something unknown. I’ve been craving knowledge and the opportunity to learn for some time now, and think that traveling is one of the ultimate ways to learn about life.
If I’m being honest with myself, I know that if I do return home, I won’t be coming back as the same person I left. You never can after something like this, you just understand the world a little better, which helps you understand yourself better.
Even as I sit here writing this, I’m staring at the ocean, a city, and a beach, how could you not fall in love with this?
Anyways, only time will tell what is meant to be.
Getting back to the tale at hand, I found myself rushing to pack as the minutes flew by, and I realized I needed to leave my apartment asap. Lying to myself about how bad traffic would be, and against my better judgement, I called an Uber, and finally found myself embarking on the first leg of my long journey to get to Australia. Within 5 minutes it became apparent that my Uber driver was lying to me about how congested traffic really was, and after 25 minutes not going anywhere, I decided I had to “jump ship” and get on the subway.
At this point panic started to kick in as I was mortified I wasn’t going to actually make my flight, and miss my dream trip. I caught the subway, got to Penn Station, and had to wait 15 minutes for the next NJ Transit train to Newark. I had less than 2 hours till my flight was boarding, and this didn’t fall into the suggested 3 hour arrival time for my flight.
I’m someone who fully believes in karma, and while I was stressed about not making my flight, I knew deep down that the universe would align, and everything would work out. As it always does.
And as life would have it, I did make my flight, and a very nice woman let me cut her in line for security, which sped everything up so much that I actually was a full minute early to boarding time.
My 5 hour flight from NY to Vancouver was painless, and I ended up staying awake the whole way. It was a strategic move, so that I would be more likely to sleep the 15 hours it was going to take to get to Sydney. At my layover, I met a super friendly Canadian, Emily, while sitting at the bar doing the whole "solo traveler thing." We discussed world politics, the difference between our countries, and shared a really nice moment bonding over the desire to help heal the world in our own ways. I’ll probably never see her again, but it’s those type of interactions that stick with us, and add value to our lives.
At 11:15 pm, it was finally time to commence the final leg of this long journey, and because I had found my way to food and a new friend, as I often do, I forgot to ask the lovely people at Canada Air if they could change my seat. I’m not fussy, but sitting in the middle seat for 15 hours just didn’t sound fun, so when I did finally remember the only thing they could accommodate me with was a better middle seat that would possibly have no one next to me in the other middle seat (it was the middle row with 4 seats).
I found my way to seat 22e, and just as I thought the coast was clear, an Aussie gal heading home sat down next to me. Being the kind gentleman I pride myself on being I offered to trade my rather comfortable middle seat with the girl in front of her, so that these two friends could sit next to each other. However, I definitely ended up trading down as I ended up next to quite a broad bloke and had one of those annoying boxes blocking my leg room. As I found myself getting slightly frustrated at this uncomfortable seat, which I had also grossly overpaid for.
Side note: I was originally supposed to go to Australia with my then beau for the holidays, and we booked our tickets kind of last minute, so they were rather expensive, but because we broke up, we agreed it would probably be best if we didn’t take the trip together, and I would go later. The flight I was on was a lot less expensive, and I couldn’t help but feel slightly cheated at having spent so much money, and being stuck in the seat I essentially put myself in. However, I told myself that this was just more karma points, and life would pay me back.
Any who, I planned on staying up for a few more hours, so that I could sleep the majority of the flight. I lasted an hour in the air before I fell asleep watching a movie, which is something I never do. I didn’t even need to take the NyQuil I had packed to help fall asleep because I was so exhausted from being up for nearly 24 hours, and with just 3 hours to go, I woke up supremely close to my final destination, and in my mind, paradise.
One more movie watched, and bam, I had made it to Sydney!
I have heard from countless people that Sydney is more like Los Angeles, and Melbourne is more like San Fran or New York, but coming here I promised myself that I would make my own judgements. With that said, landing in Sydney with the grey skies that have plagued the city for the past few days, it did feel a bit like Los Angeles during “June gloom.”
However, as I drove from the airport through the city to Bondi, where I’m Airbnbing a room from a friend of a friend, I felt and saw what makes this city so magical to so many people. There is a slight European vibe to the city, and the combination of beach meets city is more prominent than anything in LA.
I arrived at my Airbnb to meet, Nikki, who I’m renting a spare room from, and found my journey complete. The skies miraculously opened up to reveal the sun, which the forecast had not expected, and my first day in Sydney had officially begun.
Nikki was sweet enough to show me around Bondi, where we found ourselves a few hours later sitting at the beach just enjoying the sun, and it was at this moment that I knew the universe was showing me its karmic beauty. That for all the stress in getting to the airport, for the shitty seat I had to endure during my long flight, and the trials and tribulations of the past 28 years, life was smiling at me.
Here I was in Sydney, Australia enjoying the sun, which wasn’t supposed to, and hadn’t been out in a few days, talking to someone that was only a stranger a few hours ago, and truly just enjoying life. It may not sound very exciting to a lot of people, but this is the type of thing I live for. Enjoying beautiful weather, meeting new people, and experiencing a new culture. This is living.
The day was made even sweeter as I got to meet up with a bunch of Aussies and some other New Yorkers that are here celebrating Mardi Gras (Sydney’s version of Pride). It was funny to walk into a place I had never been, full of a lot of people I had never met, but have it feel somewhat familiar. Life is interesting in that way, and if nothing else I can honestly say I already love Sydney.
I’m looking forward to sharing this month’s adventure with you all, and I know it’s going to be incredible, simply for the fact that I know I have the power to make it so.