Tag Archives: travellers

The People Make the Place

On the note of the holidays, being away, and leaving Australia, I thought I’d talk a bit about the sweet ass people I’ve met…and meeting people on travels in general.

It is interesting to think that people I’ve known for less than 3 months have become as familiar to call as my friends from home I’ve known for years. More so interesting about the East coast is that it’s like a massive college residence…The same group of people heads to the same places at the same pace…everybody knows everybody’s business, has people they like, others they don’t and there’s even a bit of a popularity hierarchy. That being said, all of us ended up in Sydney for the holidays, and dramas aside we were family for xmas and new year 2012/13. That based on the fact that in this new country we are all in together, our 3 month long ‘relationships’ were the best ones we have, and those people were the only ones we wanted to be with. Oddly enough I didn’t actually miss home because holidays were so social…it wasn’t until the week after the New Year when everyone started to move on that I realized the family that we’ve all built in Oz.

I found it weird that it seemed like I’ve known everyone for ages…but I’ve known most of them for the entire time I’ve been in Oz…Australia is what it is because of the people, and them leaving makes it different, and me leaving Oz is leaving them. Every experience I’ve had in Oz (well most…due to knowledge that my parents and their friends read the blog) have been documented here in detail, have been photographed and whatsapped to friends back home, and updated in statuses on facebook…but ultimately these people are the ones that were actually there, that know what each party was like, how soaked we were on the whitsundays, and how awesome our flat was in Bondi. Knowing that realistically I may never see 90 % of these people again is leaving me with a bit of a bittersweet feeling as I continue my adventures.

As I keep quoting Eat, Pray, Love…Liz mentions ‘accept everyone you meet as a teacher’. When I consider that combined with the cliche that everything happens for a reason, it is quite interesting to look at the turn of events that has led me to the relationships I have with my Oz family. Some of whom I spent a couple days with, others months.

Basically, if I hadn’t flown to Cairns on Halloween I wouldn’t have met half the people I did…because I was the foreign girl who faceplanted in bite the box… Specifically I wouldn’t have met Elliot who fed me goon like water, which got me out and partying where I met Shannon and Simon. The next day I lent make up remover to Simon in the common area where I met Stacy and Jasmin. Because the Irish girls continued travelling, Simon and I used the bar tab at PJ OBriens, became good mates and started travelling the coast. If I hadn’t become friends with Titia I wouldn’t have gone out irresponsibly before my 7am bus leaving Cairns, but because I did I met Tim, Dave, and Fraser who I saw in Airlie, Byron, and shared a flat with in Bondi! If I hadn’t wanted to see my friend Brennan in Townsville we wouldn’t have gone to Magnetic Island…which means Simon wouldn’t have rode horses in to the sea…yeah,… no big gain, but I did see Brennan!…In Airlie we met Kristy and Nicki who spent the holidays with us in Sydney as well, and we met Izzy, Gemma, and the Twins who I’ve seen again at Wake Up in Sydney…because we were predrinking with the 3 boys..Off to fraser island where I realized the kind of traveller I don’t want to be…(we’ll leave it at that)…and also how to ‘give feedback’ to foreigners…I also met Danielle and Emma who I got to know better in Byron bay. Then off to Noosa where I met up with Josh from home and was re-inspired to continue my travels beyond Oz and met Anna who turned out to be one of my biggest teachers on this trip, and only because Jasmin was working at the hostel so I felt peer pressured to go out. If it weren’t for Jas I wouldn’t have met German, who was a gem and got me to go out with Emma, Lyam and ‘big dave’…Then to Brisbane then Surfers (nothing much happened there…just accepting that I was once as immature as schoolies, and that it’s ok to let people learn for themselves and not be an uptight bitch) then to Coolangatta…where nobody goes, but where I met Rachel, Ellie, and Lucie who have become some of my best friends in Oz (staying with them in Sydney right now!), I also wouldn’t have hurt my knee which is what made me sit down and actually reflect in Byron Bay where I spent the first week with Anna going to crazy parties, and watching sunsets with Danny reflecting on life and my ‘crazy’. Then to Spot x where I met girls and germans that I liked, and might have actually mellowed out for the first time, but also realized how much of a pity party I throw for myself when I watched Steph not complain once about her injured ankle. And if I had never gotten together with Eva in Sydney I would have never thought to apply at lululemon again where I ended up spending most of my holiday working, meeting sweet people, and getting my aussie accent! Ultimately that’s a super abbreviated version and vague in spots…but it’s fun to look back at the sequence of events, and the points where saying ‘sure why not’ or ‘fine i’ll go’ end up being the sweetest nights or leading you to the sweetest people. It makes it hard to argue against the saying ‘everything happens for a reason’…or at least we make a reason out of it. If I hadn’t gone out in Cairns I wouldn’t have met my roommates for the holidays, which would have made my Oz experience completely different.

Basically I couldn’t imagine any place I’ve been without all the people I met while there. Any place in the world is ‘what you make of it’ but based on the law of attraction, you chose the people you surround yourself with and that come in to your life. So be totally jacked on life, happy to be where you are, and ready to have a good time…because surely you don’t want to be forced into a situation where that isn’t who you’re with and your opinion of something or somewhere is anything less than amazing. Everything you do costs money and time. To not absolutely maximize it to the best of your ability is probably the dumbest thing you could do. The more I travel the more I realize that everything is a choice…everything. As much as making the wrong one can teach you, nobody intentionally makes a wrong decision to learn from it…they chose what they think is best at any given moment then learn later. You don’t know the outcome EVER, which is why I say to chose ‘yes’ over no…because as much as you don’t know if it’s the wrong choice, you also have no idea the exponentially crazy awesome potential of it being the right choice. But because you thought it was the best choice at the moment, regret is useless. Useless. Almost as useless as me inventing what other people are thinking about me and trying to act based on assumptions (Assume = ass out of u and me.

Anyway, to all the lovely friends, old and new that have made Oz what it’s been so far, Cheers (because you’re mostly English)! It’s been a slice, and I wouldn’t change a thing if I did it all over again.

And to think, I have a week of seeing old friends in Melbourne ahead of me still…lucky lady I am. Travelling…try it sometime…

Cairns 2.0

The last few days in Cairns have been great! I must admit, Thursday after Halloween I had no idea how I’d fill the time for the week I booked at the hostel, now that I leave tomorrow I feel like I could stay for weeks (which is what most people end up doing). The only thing pushing me to go is the fact that I have 87, yes EIGHTY SEVEN bug bites (I say bug because I haven’t got a clue what bugs they are) [ALSO, apparently sunscreen or baby oil stops sand flies and most mosquitos because they can’t get through the oil] (I was told this after bite 82), and it’s about to be 45 celcius with 100% humidity.
I have gone for runs in the morning the last few days…at ‘half six’ (6:30 am) because it gets too hot by 7:30. The Cairns promenade/esplanade is 6.5km from one end to the other and back, so it’s been slightly taxing on my previously sedentary limbs, but great for getting my mind back on track. I would probably have been wasted on ‘goon’ (10 dollar box wine…only sold past 4 pm because they don’t want aboriginals drinking it earlier…supposedly) nightly and extending my time in Cairns like the others. The downfalls: legs too sore to snorkel, sweat=premature laundry, BUG BITES, additional unneeded tan lines. I also played soccer for an hour in 35 degree, breezeless heat on Saturday which was royally terrible and contributed to bruises on my legs. So my legs are now unshaved (can’t get over the 27 bites on my right lower leg), bruised, and covered in bug bites…good thing I have my rumored boyfriend to love me anyway.
What does everybody around the world love? Gossip. My friend Simon (from England) …who has a girlfriend of almost 5 years…and I have been getting along well and hanging out quite a bit… Mostly because we both don’t smoke, like $1 cheeseburgers and 30c cones, need internet, don’t want to always be wasted, and are travelling alone starting in Cairns. If Simon were a girl it would be ‘so sweet you found somebody to travel with’ but instead it’s become ‘so you too ;)’. The good part is that we both find it quite entertaining because as Brits or Aussies would say, we’re just mates. So to milk it, we enjoy cooking meals together and being back sunscreen partners. Ahhh the comfortsof home. Oh, he’s also been teaching me ‘English’…instead of ‘Canadian’.
On that note, I’ve realized the only way I can tell Americans and Canadians apart is manners and the sound of the ‘a’ in the word Pasta. Unless of course they’re from the East, Mid West, or South USA. So really, I’ve gotten less mad at people thinking I’m American based on accent…it’s when they’ve known me for a week and ask where in the states that I’m from that feelings get hurt.
Even further tangent…I don’t know anybody’s name unless I’ve spent over 5 hours with them sober…until then they are their country. So really half my friends are Holland, the other are Germany…The only people I’ve really liked have been Aussies and Brits….and I know their names. Also, if you feel awkward, just think of me on a Barrier Reef trip with people I’ve been with for the last week asking ‘what’s your name again?’ The good part about backpacking is that there is a common understanding that nobody knows names…also that laundry sucks…also that eating carrots, apples, and crackers for dinner is part of a balanced diet. Also, when you electrocute yourself trying to unplug your cellphone from the adapter in the bathroom, people have also done it (2outlets in 8bed dorms).
I’ve also met a lovely girl named (or ‘called’) Ashley from England. I only spent a few hours hanging out with her but she may have been the most influential person on the mindset of my trip thus far. She has travelled New Zealand by herself for a year, then Oz for a couple months and has now set off to South east Asia. She is the one that inspired me to get over my hangover and go for a run (she has done 2/3 of her trip dry), and also made me feel okay about being overwhelmed by travelling alone. Pretty much the entire week in Sydney (besides while having fun with people) I was contemplating when I could come home that would be the least embarrassing (seeing as how I set out for a year+. I didn’t think my TFN would ever come, I didn’t think a non-creepy job offer would make its way through, and I didn’t think I’d meet any other travellers. Since meeting her and being in Cairns with loads of others who are fruit picking, not because they’re desperate but because they want a 2nd visa, has been a great shift of mindset for me. I definitely don’t want to (at this stage) stay for a second year…but it’s making me realize a year isn’t really all that long , and that the 3 months I was considering staying is way too short. I’ve also realized that while I have a good amount of cash but wanted more, most people here came with a quarter the funds I did…so I’m feeling much better about things. I’ve also met some hard to understand and frequently wasted individuals that have had sweet jobs, so by comparison I think I’ll be fine.
Done with the deep—ish thoughts…promise. Yesterday I headed off to the Great Barrier reef with another Canadian, Simon, and 2 Dutch from our hostel. A guy approached us at the public pool in Cairns and offered us a trip out for $50 bucks…so less than half price. The reason I’m writing now is so you know I didn’t die. Basically he (Steve) is sailing around the world, currently Australia, and stops at tourist points to transport travellers for a day for extra cash. He has 6 other travellers living in the boat as he makes 6 week trips from point to point along the coast. It was very bush league, but very fun. The sail to and from Green Island was gorgeous and the food was great. The barrier reef sucked where we were as did the snorkelling equipment, although I wasn’t really that disappointed. Most people actually didn’t see great reef in Cairns so I may try from another point…or just buy a postcard. I do really need to figure out how to swim properly though…when my mask filled I thought I was going to die.
Today we’re off on a free rainforest walk and BBQ organized by Nomads (our hostel) which should be fun….then off to plan the next leg of the trip…and maybe do laundry.