So, it is now Tuesday, and I have been here in Sydney, Australia for two days. It’s actually been three weeks since I left my job, and two and a half weeks since I moved away from “home” (that is in quotes because I’m not 100% if I consider Indiana my home, but it’s a home-like place for me anyway, most of the people I love are there and my kitty). I moved out, visited my grandma, my dad, and two good friends, and THEN I took a 26-hour journey (a short flight to Los Angeles, layover, 15-hour flight that turned into an 18-hour flight due to a medical emergency that had us stop at Honolulu in the middle of the night, and then getting through customs and transport to my hostel). Now I’m here, and I’m not sure if it’s completely hit me yet! Hopefully when it does hit me, it will be like a friendly, light punch. Or a wave of fresh air.
So far, in between a bit of walking around central Sydney and sightseeing, I have been trying to get situated – bank account, tax forms, local phone number, all that fun stuff. Most of this is going smoothly, but my current struggle is clothing myself. I packed super light – a carry-on sized suitcase and a daypack-sized backpack – and I’ve been wondering if I packed too light! I don’t think I realized the incredible heat that is Sydney and how much I would be out in it. I managed to find a decent pair of shorts that I don’t look weird in (more difficult than you would think because of my short legs) that should be versatile and good for walking, and maybe less hot than my jean shorts. But then there are the shoes. I’ve been wearing my favorite pair of Sketchers that I have probably walked thousands of comfortable miles in, but they are super hot for this weather (it’s been 80s F most of the time but feels like the 90s in the constant sun, and it’s humid, and it’s supposed to get up to 104 this week). I know a lot of people love hiking sandals, so I thought I’d get some of those, but apparently my super-wide feet have an even harder time finding sandals than other shoes… oh, right, that’s why I’ve never bought hiking sandals before! Or maybe Australians just never have wide feet. I’ve been to several stores and dropped way too much money on two different pairs of sandals that, after walking a mile or so in them, both have ended up really hurting my feet because they aren’t quite wide enough. So, I may just have to have hot feet and not wear dresses (because they look super weird with my Sketchers). I am trying not to stress about this… after all, I will be headed to Melbourne in a couple of weeks, where it’s not quite as hot. It will all be good, Bethany!
One fun thing is that I signed up for a surf camp next week. The Work and Travel Company I’m using just made it sound so fun: 5 days that won’t cost much more than if I stayed in Sydney, meeting a bunch of new people, and learning to surf (because it takes more than just a couple lessons, for sure). I’ve never surfed before, so let’s see how this goes! Nothing but surfing and eating for a week doesn’t sound too bad, right?!
Other than feeling inadequately prepared with warm weather clothes and shoes, and wishing it was less hot, I am loving Sydney! It’s really beautiful. I’m staying in a 6-bed hostel room mixed with both genders of people from around the world. I know a lot of people are freaked out by the idea of hostels, but it’s not bad, actually – it’s clean, there are lockers to keep your stuff safe (once I went and bought a lock, of course), and the people are nice. No horror movie stuff happening here. I am generally a more privacy-oriented person, and it can be a bit loud at night, but a hotel room in this part of Sydney would be at least quadruple the cost. This area is very central and within walking distance of most of the sightseeing, and location is the most important thing to me! Talking with other travelers and having access to things like a kitchen and laundry are pluses too.
The rest of the week, I’ll be doing some activities with a group of travelers from around the world, including paddleboarding tomorrow (that should be interesting as well since I’ve never done it!), a trip to the Blue Mountains, and a walk between Bondi and Coogee Beach. Pretty much everyone in the group (and in the hostel) is much younger than me, either just out of high school or just out of college, because there aren’t a lot of 27 year olds who just decide to leave their job and go to Australia! But my freckly, makeup-free self can pass for an 18 year old pretty easily, at least appearance wise, so it works out. I went to lunch with the group today and think I’ve made a new friend I will mesh with for the rest of the week: a Swedish 19 year old named Maja. She is a fellow solo traveler, pescetarian, not extroverted or a partyer, and I love Sweden so there’s always that to talk about! My bunkmate is also Swedish. They are cool people – maybe there is a pheromone or something that puts me with Swedes because I’m 1/4 Swedish. I have noticed that most travelers here are European, especially British and German, but I’ve also met several Belgians and Italians. No Americans yet, but I’ve been told they’re here somewhere. Just like when I lived in London, I’m considering saying I’m from a major city like Chicago so I don’t have to keep trying to explain where the heck Indiana is (I usually end up saying it’s near Chicago anyway).
I’m planning on posting on average once a week for a while, but it all depends on how much time and internet access I have. Here are a couple more of my favorite photos from my first couple of days: