Friday 20 July 2012

Winter Wanderlust - One Week in Sydney and Melbourne

That wasn't the first time I bought a solo ticket going to an unfamiliar destination. Sometimes, being alone has the incredible power to transform timid tourist into fearless traveler. As one of my new-found friends there says, my trip is all about soul searching – a contemplation of my own thoughts, desires and conduct. And maybe, he was right.

Everything about the place is new, and the feeling of excitement grew when the journey from airport to my hotel started. It was a breath of fresh air - from the cold weather I have to deal with, to a laid back atmosphere I’ll be enjoying for the next couple of days. Australia is so much blessed with beautiful wonders Mother Nature has to offer. The magnificent views of ocean cliffs, well-nurtured wildlife reserves, eye-catching contemporary establishments and rich historical edifice – that was really a great experience, and the best I’ve seen so far. Given a chance, I would like to visit again, take another break and wander around other cities, to learn more from their early history and culture.

I enjoyed every moment I’ve spent there. During the day, I walked the beach, played with cute little kids, sat in cafes, strolled in busy streets, hopped on and off the busy trains, ferries and buses, conversed with solo travelers, and took as much photos as I can – people, places, things which captivated my sight. At night, I ate sandwiches, noodles, beef and rice, intoxicated myself with tons of caffeine, feast eyes on sparkling fireworks, battled with cold weather while leisurely walking from Circular Quay, to Darling Harbour,  to Central and then back to my hotel. I was astonished with the laid-back style of living they have there. It wasn’t like a normal thing for me. Shops were closed at exactly five in the afternoon, as they give importance to “family time” so much. That’s far different from the life I use to have in Singapore – a fast paced environment surrounded by workaholic peeps. I had so much of expectations too before getting there. And those expectations lead to comparisons – trains’ cleanliness, vandalisms, young and old people begging for money, young and old homeless people sleeping at the corner of some streets. I felt so blessed. From a normal dinner we usually have in some fancy restaurants in Singapore, never did we imagine ourselves getting there, together, sharing each other’s thoughts, conversing about each other’s current relationships, on that cold Sunday night, at one corner overlooking the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. I was with Lheny – a close friend and workmate as well. 

Aside of course from the temporary freedom from mountain-pile of work, the best thing I love about traveling solo is meeting new friends who are worth the keep. I’ve seen a lot of wonderful places, and met many amazingly kind people. How could I ever forget those who made my entire trip extra blissful?

  • Carolym and Amalia,  two young Filipina who attended the Hillsong Conference (same with Lheny) whom I’ve met during the Blue Mountains Tours, and I guess we’re really meant to be friends because we’re also together during the Great Ocean Road Tour in Melbourne. They’re both working in Singapore too by the way.
  • Jeannine, a young English lady who has great passion for travel, and has been living most of her life away from her family. I wish your dream to live in Antartica would come true.
  • Nelly, a Korean lady same of my age who has been traveling around Philippines and Australia to study English, whom I’ve met during the free City tour in Sydney.
  • Nellie, a young and cheerful soon-to-be-bride I’ve met while walking around Bondi Beach. She’s my long-lost friend I guess; there’s already a connection right after we met. I hope you really learned a lot from my “experience” though.
  • Richard, Nellie’s super friend. A twenty-six year old single guy who loves feasting eyes on sexy ladies on bikinis. *peace* mishooo both (sniff sniff)
  • The Indian couple, Malaysian couple, The Three Musketeers (3 young men from Pakistan?), Amanda and Therese (from Singapore), the tour guides – Steve and Damon, and those people whom I’ve asked to take a photo of me – you are all amazing people (even if I can’t remember your names, my bad).
I hopped on a plane; it’s going to be a long journey to get home. The entire experience completely nursed the broken me. And I missed my friends. I missed my bed. I missed the place where I can rest. Now I am back here, to a place I know I am safe, close to people I care about. It feels good to be home.

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