I only have ten days left in Australia. This is extremely bittersweet as Bond Uni and the infamous and breathtaking Gold Coast has become my home. Home is really just a state of mind. I think you could travel anywhere and make it your home. As I think back on the last 3 and a half months that I have spent here away from Indiana, my mind can’t really grasp everything that has changed in my life. That sounds pretty dramatic probably, considering I’ve only been away for a little over 3 months and after all, how much can change in 3 months right?
I think all of us here at Bond came looking for something.
Maybe it was looking to have a good time and live it up for a semester.
Maybe it was trying to figure out what the hell you want to do with your life.
Maybe it was trying to figure out where you want to end up, or who you are.
Regardless of the reason, Bond changed us all a little bit. Here we all are, stuck together, and suddenly the realization that there’s a whole world out there hits us. I mean we can seriously do whatever we want. Sure, it might take a lot of work or a lot of money, but we CAN do it…we have the opportunity.
I guess that’s what has changed most about me during my time here. I finally realized that just because you’re SUPPOSED to do something, doesn’t mean you have to. Maybe it’s expected of me to get a job in public relations and stick around Indianapolis after I graduate, work for a few years, make my way up the professional ladder, meet a nice bloke and start a family…but that’s not what I want to do. There’s a huge difference between doing something because you think you should and doing something because you want to.
Classes ended last Thursday for me and on Saturday our little group headed down to Byron Bay, New South Wales for a mini vacation inside a vacation. We rented a house and relaxed for about 5 days. There was no wifi, no cell service, just 7 people and made up camp games and makeshift trivial pursuit. We cooked a meal every night, washed dishes BY HAND, and tried to figure out how to avoid shark attacks.
We hiked, we saw waterfalls, and we took a day trip to a town called “Nimbin.” Nimbin is notorious for its dependency on marijuana. I think if they didn’t sell “hash brownies” that the entire town would be bankrupt. Aside from the fact that it’s a drug town, it’s located in the beautiful Australian countryside in the mountains and has absolutely breathtaking views. This “town” is basically just one street and up and down the street are about 20 stores that are actually just garage sales inside a room. The OCD tendencies deep inside of me were having a mild panic attack at the lack of organization in these “stores.” The citizens of Nimbin aren’t exactly what I would call “shy.” We were asked at least 7 times if we wanted to purchase any cookies or brownies- don’t worry Mom, we didn’t.
Somehow we managed to make the hour drive to Nimbin and back even though our rental car from 1985 broke down several times on the highway.
Aside from visiting Nimbin, we also explored beaches that weren’t “tourist destinations.” Hidden behind huge rocks and trails, these beaches were the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen in real life. If I were ever going to live in Australia, it would probably have to be in Byron Bay.
I really can’t believe that we have such a short time left here but I know now that this certainly won’t be my last destination outside of the US…onto the next adventure.
Things I’ve Learned:
- It is actually possible to go on a vacation without Wi-Fi and cell service and still have fun.
- I CAN COOK. Kind of. I made Sloppy Joes. Alice and Shauna didn’t even know what this meant.
- I hate birds more than ever. I was casually sitting at our picnic making a chicken wrap when all the sudden a bird descended on my arm and snatched my chicken straight out of my hand. I probably have bird flu now.
- People from the southern parts of the states totally fit into stereotypes: they say “ya’ll” and love sweet tea.
- Australia is extremely hitchhiker friendly. It’s really not even dodgy. It’s kind of normal. We gave a couple of Italian blokes a ride on our way to the waterfalls…and I’m still alive.
- Australia will give you an 18-month visa if you agree to work on a fruit farm for 3 months when you first get here. I’m talking you have to get up at like 6 am and pick fruit all day.
- Technology is amazing. Shauna’s grandmother passed away and we were able to stream the funeral so that Shauna could have a proper farewell.
- Just because you learned how to do a cartwheel when you were 6 years old doesn’t mean that you can still do one present day.
- Lauren and I tried to learn how to play soccer by throwing the ball at one another’s foreheads. Bruised heads and we are still terrible.
- Not even chopping onions can make me cry.
- Australian radio stations are SO WEIRD. I can’t even explain. There are no genres. They play the most random compilation of music. One minute it was Lil’ Wayne the next minute it was Celine Dion and then some Brad Paisley.
- Coconut milk doesn’t taste anything like a pina colada.
- There are ladybugs on the beach in Australia. Why? I don’t know.
- Ireland isn’t just one country. Nope, it’s Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK, and The Republic of Ireland, which…isn’t.
- In England, it isn’t common to prepay for your petrol. I guess they are trustworthier than Americans? :)