When One Door Closes, Another Opens

It has been over a year since I embarked on a trip of a lifetime. Whether you are a brand new subscriber or a long term reader I would like to take a moment to share a personal perspective.

Those who have not changed while travelling are either lying to themselves or have refused to engage with the foreign element surrounding them. Confronted with the prospect of relying on only myself, I had no choice in becoming completely independent. Self reliance is the most freedom I have ever felt and it has given me sovereignty and the capacity to go anywhere I so desired. This steered me to a new found sense of resilience and resourcefulness.

Brisbane - my home in Australia

Brisbane – my home in Australia

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Kat the Koala

Walking through the gift shop I was surrounded by koalas. Soft cuddly toy koalas, koala t-shirts, koala books and koala key chains. The walls were covered in framed portraits of known faces such as hair dye lover Hayley Williams, kung-fu expert Jackie Chan and relationship addict Taylor Swift. They were all holding a koala. I purchased a ticket for my chance to join them.koalas

Angela and I made our way to the photograph area and joined the queue, waiting for my chance to cuddle one. We were in Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, one of the few places in the world you are actually allowed to hold a koala. As we got closer to the the front, we were watching an elderly Asian lady struggling to get to grips with her animal, it was not going to get its picture taken without a fight. Angela asked me if I was excited. I pondered the question and replied “nervous”. Before coming to Australia, holding a koala was on the top of my agenda so there was high expectations. Continue reading

Brother of the Beard vs The Fijian

Truman

Brother of the Beard in the outback

On some chilly morning in Bridgend, I struck up  a conversation with a work colleague I had only spoken to a couple of times before. He was telling me about his plans on how he was going to quit the company and go travelling for a year. This was the catalyst I needed to pursue my dream. Almost a year from that date, Truman was coming to visit me in Brisbane.

Truman had previously come to Brisbane briefly for a Slash concert and slated the beautiful city. Nevertheless, he was going to come for a longer stay so we could catch up and share travel stories. He sent me a text at work saying that he was in a room with some “bloody hipster” with green shoes. Room 618 was my room. I arrived in the afternoon to an empty dorm but moments later a familiar figure walked through the door. It was Truman! Despite his initial indifference to the city, once he had see the real gems he begun to appreciate what makes Brisbane such a great place. Continue reading

F.R.I.E.N.D.S

Queue the FRIENDS TV show theme music. It was only three months ago when I was sitting on my bed on my first day of travelling in that hidden hotel room in Beijing, China. All alone. Then came a knock at the door and in walked my first ever travelling companion and room-mate, Andy. Over the next three weeks, we experienced a lot of crazy adventures backpacking across the entirety of wild China. Now months later, he was on his way to visit me in my new Australian home of Brisbane.andy

The night Andy arrived was absolutely hectic. It was poker night at the same time of State of Origins game. This is a real big deal for the Aussies as their states of Queensland and New South Wales go head to head in rugby to see who are the most gifted athletically, which is important in the grand scheme of things Australian. On top of all this, it was also Steve, Elisa and Shaun’s last night at the hostel before their road trip up to Cairns. After getting him checked in we rejoined the others at the bar where we proceeded to party the night away until I retired at 3 AM as I had to be up in three hours to go to work. Continue reading

Mission Impossible: Skydiving

The alarm broke the silence of the six bed dorm but I did not stir as I had been awake for an hour or so. Walking down the hallway I peered outside the door to see that it was still pitch black outside. I swiped myself into the communal bathroom and splashed cold water in my face to regain full consciousness. It was a restless night as I came to terms with what lay ahead of me. I would be jumping out of a plane. sky

In the dark I bounded with nervous energy to the bus stop, trying to pump myself up. Despite the lack of sleep it was impossible to fathom a nap on the two hour trip to Byron Bay. Slowing drifting away, I felt calm until being handed the disclaimer form with one line stating ‘successfully surviving a skydive is down to luck’.

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The Misadventures of Ryan and Bryce

The words of the guide still rang through my ears as we approached the steep drop in the river, “this is the most dangerous rapid on the whole route”. I paddled with all my strength to get us into the correct position, yet it was all in vain as the current slowly spun us around. The raft was now heading to the drop…backwards. Helplessly, we dropped off the edge of the world into the unknown.russell04..

Sugarcane fields and mountain backdrops were all the eye could see from the van. One of the instructors from the white water rafting company addressed us and talked through the day. “You must all be adrenaline junkies,” he started in his American twang (he was ex-marine), “the grade 4 raids of the Russell River are up there with skydiving, scuba diving and bungee jumping!” We all looked at each other confused. Is this what we really signed up for? Continue reading

Depths of the Great Barrier Reef

The ocean spray hit against my face as the cruise boat sped across the ocean surface. Nathan, Alan and I were sitting at the front as Alan desperately held on to hat as is it tried its best to blow away. We were on our way to the Great Barrier Reef.

As we became stationed, the introductory divers were summoned to the rear of the boat. As I stepped out to the loading platform, I took a deep breath. Water as far as the eye could see…Australia was no longer in sight. I had this idea that the reef would extend out of the water but here at our first stop, it was all hidden under the surface. Our dive instructor Taka came by to see if we were almost ready.

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