It’s been two years now, since I took that very big step that really changed my life.
Two years from now I went on my half year trip around the world. It was my first time outside of Europe traveling by myself. This journey changed me and my life in a way I wasn’t expecting it to.
I wouldn’t be who I am and where I am now if I would have taken that chance. It was the reason for all this to start.
Therefore, I decided to integrate some of my old posts about my very first trip into this blog. When I started my trip, I’ve also started a blog in German to keep my friends and family back home up to date. And as I’ve already mentioned in a previous post, I started to regret not writing in English quite soon.
However, here’s my travel diary from this life-changing adventure back in the days.
Chapter 1: Up, up and away!
It is finally done! I’ve made it. I’m honestly looking forward to this day for years. My flights are booked, my bags are packed and my anticipation is huge.
Tomorrow, 18 of October 2015 it is time to conquer the world. It’s time to go on my very first, but for sure not last World Trip.
First, some details on this trip:
From today on, I’ll be gone for five months. 3 of which I’ll spent in Australia (where I’ll meet one of my oldest friends Cosi), 5 weeks on Bali and 3 weeks on Hawaii.
I have booked an around the world ticket, so I had to set all my flight dates in advance, but it was much cheaper this way.
In addition, I’ve booked a hostel for the first two to three nights at every destination, so it’ll be more relaxed for me.
Everything else will be decided when necessary and I’ll for sure tell you.
Finally, I had to get a visa for Australia and for Hawaii too, which was done by a few clicks. I need to apply for my Indonesian visa in Australia as it isn’t valid for so long.
Apart from that I have just read a bit about every country, more because I was curious and couldn’t expect this trip to start soon enough than really being afraid of anything.
And now, it is finally time to fly! This time I try to travel with a suitcase, we will see if it was a good idea or not ;).
As soon as I’ve landed, I’ll tell you about my first impressions and how I’m dealing with the jet leg…
Chapter 2: First day down under.
I just wanted to let you know, I’ve landed in Sydney and am feeling great. I not even have a jetlag.
My flight was very comfortable, the food was not as bad as I imagined and I had a seat on the window the whole time. It also wasn’t as bad as I thought to switch airplane. All in all, it was a pretty nice flight.
On my flight to Abu Dhabi, where I had to change plane the first time, I had a very friendly Australian sitting next to me. He was a big help when filling out the immigration formulary and gave me a lot of tips on things to do and see in and around Melbourne.
In Melbourne, I then suddenly heard a voice from behind: “Got to go further huu?! Now we’ve been in the same plane since our departure in Munich.”
As it seems there was a man on the same flight as me from Munich to Sydney, he’d recognised me but I on the contrary, have never seen him before…
Quite a funny coincidence. though.
He was then very keen on telling me all about his experiences and tips for Australia and Hawaii. Now I’m very well prepared for all that comes. There’s nothing I could have done more to get ready for this trip.
My first night in a hostel went by quickly and I had a good night of rest. Therefore, I was able to start into my first day in Sydney with new energy. After a quite extraordinary breakfast, at least for me, I was ready to go get some groceries. I had eggs and salmon on toast with loads of cream (at that time I had never eaten a similar meal combination like that before).
In addition, on my to-do list for today was:
- Look for a new hostel (found one for 16€ a night and free gym membership, what made my heart beat faster)
- Explore the city
- Working out
- Do some planning on what I want to do the next days
When checking off point two from my list, I was mainly walking through Surry Hills and Kings Cross, two of the more popular suburbs of Sydney. I’ve also explored the Sydney Harbour but I for sure will do one of those free city tours soon, to get some background knowledge.
From what I’ve seen so far, the city really impressed me. It is very green and so warm, just the way I love it.
Also, the people here are so friendly and welcoming, I couldn’t belief it at first. If you get lost, you won’t stand there for longer than a minute and someone’s going to help you. Furthermore, there are so many, who just want to show you around, tell you the benefits of the city and where you definitely have to go.
In Australia, there is no way you ever get lonely or depressed. Everyone is just happy, smiling and helping where there is help needed.
If it continues like that, I’m gonna have so much fun here!
That’s it for now, I’ll keep you up to date about my next adventures.
Chapter 3: Pretty much to see
“You won’t get further if you don’t step out of your comfort zone.”
That’s what describes the last few days best.
Since the last time, a lot has happened and I’ve made some experiences. But first things first…
First, I’ve moved from my hostel in Surry Hills to one in Kings Cross. This one is a lot cheaper but also less pretty and comfortable but this is not supposed to be a luxurious holiday. In addition, the new hostel has a free gym membership which I personally really see as a great benefit.
After moving, I’ve been to a few markets like Peddie’s Markets or the Fish Market, where I’ve bought my groceries. Now I’m able to cook for myself, which is commonly known as the cheapest version to eat when backpacking. Also, I can calm everyone who’s thought Australia would be expensive. It’s just true in some ways. If you watch where you by your stuff you can get everything very cheap. Even if you eat as healthy as I do. Most of all if you surprisingly get 10 bucks from an old lady to buy yourself some lunch you can save a lot. I just can’t belief how great those people are!
Furthermore, I didn’t have to spent a dollar on water so far, as there are water fountains everywhere.
On my third day, the weather was not quite the way I’d hoped it to be, when I decided to do a free walking tour through Sydney. I did the tour anyway. In addition, I walked through the city by myself, exploring the Harbour Bridge, Botanical Gardens and also tested the gym. As you can see, I really live the “stepping out of my comfort zone” kind of life.
As the weather got better the next day, I decided to do a day trip to Maroubra to get my Visa for Bali. It was all very easy. Of course, I did have a walk down Maroubra Beach to check out the waves and see the ocean for the first time in Australia.
In the afternoon, I’ve been to the botanical gardens again – this is my new favourite place in the world – and explored the suburbs Kings Cross, Surry Hills and Central as well as The Rocks and the Barangaroo Park, which has just opened recently.
For dinner, I went to a noodle marked, which was a part of the “goodfoodmonth”. These kinds of events happen here a few times and I really enjoyed all the good food.
Finally, I went to Manly Island on Saturday, to continue my search for the best surf spot. There I went for a long walk, it feels like being in the jungle. Luckily it was sunny and warm and I got a bit of a tan.
Of cause, I’ve met a few more very nice and friendly people. How could it be any different!?
Besides the people in the hostel (who are mainly German), I’ve met a hand full of people who’re very keen on taking photos of me in front of any sightseeing spot. Furthermore, I got a private tour from two guys in Manly. They helped me when I got lost and showed me the most beautiful view of the Sydney skyline. Also, we had a quite funny conversation about dangerous animals, and one of them just said: I’ve never seen a snake in my life, growing up in Australia. And because that’s not enough I’ve got a date at Bondi Beach, next week to go for a surf.
After I’ve been walking over 20km for the third day now, I’m going to bed exhausted but happy. I love that country and I’m excited about more great adventures.
Chapter 4: Back again!
With a lot of new experiences.
Since my last post, a lot has happened…
Let me start at the beginning.
I’ve been to Federal Wildlife Park, where I saw Australian animals for the first time. Also, I visited Blue Mountains, which where like almost everything in and around Sydney, very green and beautiful.
There I’ve meet the wonderful twins Vanessa and Jasmine. With whom I got along very well from the very first moment. We spent the day together and people surprisingly thought we were triplets. That was quite funny.
On the way back, we met a German learning Australian and practiced our teaching skills right away.
We decided to meet up again the next day and explore Bondi Beach and surroundings. Compared to the first time I was there; the beach was very packed but still beautiful. We took a lot of pictures from graffiti art and some others from the beach. After that we did the costal walk, with its stunning sculpture by the see exhibition. It was so exiting.
Unfortunately, we got into a heavy rain like almost every day, the last few days. Luckily there was a tiny cave where we could hide though. Inspired by our idea all other tourists who were passing by joined us. Guess we are our own attraction after all. 20 people in a small cave, hiding from the rain.
Also, I got very comfortable and homely in my hostel and my roommates are great too. With five Germans, out of 8 we are definitely in majority.
The next day I decided to do another workout and a walk through botanical gardens. And in front of the famous Bavarian Beer Café I had a date with my favourite twins. We walked across the Harbour Bridge and experienced a great view of Sydney skyline.
The next days I went grocery shopping again. I have to say, eating healthy is not a big deal here at all. Most of all because there are so many organic and healthy restaurants where you can get a proper, filling meal for under 15 dollars and if you shop at local markets, vegetables are very cheap too.
Also, I’ve explored Watsons Bay where I got to experience Australian hospitality again and I got another lift home. That is for sure something you’d never get to know in Germany.
Furthermore, I met my first surf buddy.
As my first surfing spot during this trip I chose Maroubra Beach. It was freezing cold and the waves could have been better but it was still fun and the waves are still 100 times better than in Europe. They have power, are big and breaking much nicer, more consistent and with a shoulder that is open for longer.
Although my board was not quite the best fit (it was a 6,5-mini gun) I caught a couple waves and then had to go out because I was freezing to death.
In the evening, I was in a club with the twins and it was probably the worst experience during this trip. Partying in Australia as a non-smoker/alcohol drinker is really an adventure as this is not at all the way of backpacking here.
However, it was a great time so far and I can definitely say: I’m in love with this country!
Chapter 5: A very surprising city.
After I’ve arrived in Melbourne Monday morning, I went straight to the hostel where my friend Alex from back home was staying. My main reason for coming here, besides exploring the city, was visiting him. After just one glance on a map I knew where to go. This city is so predictable.
The city is built in squares, which makes it very easy to orientate and find places.
After I’ve seen some stunning buildings and fancy restaurants, I finally met Alex. He overslept and forgot to pick me up at the train station, but never mind.
He introduced me to his friends and we made a tour through the city.
One of the guys needed a new job and we went to hand out CVs in one of the more alternative suburbs of Melbourne. I took the opportunity to explore the city.
The next few days where quite similar. The weather in Melbourne is very unexpected and there is a high chance of heavy rain, right after you’ve left the hostel. Nevertheless, I’ve walked along the Riverside and have seen a few parks like Botanical Gardens and the CBD.
Melbourne is exiting, young and full of amazing buildings and a lot of free spare time and sports activity. Therefore, I needed to attend one of the free fitness classes on Federal Square and met a lot of friendly and active people. The highlight of this week was still Sunday, on which I did the Great Ocean Road. Fortunately, this was besides Saturday, the only sunny day, so I could really enjoy this tour.
I don’t want to say much about that trip though. I rather let pictures speak for me.
I want to mention the small but still important things as well, that made me smile.
Surprisingly, and I will probably never get used to it, people very often thought I’d be Australian, mostly because of my great English, which was a big compliment for me. Also, sometimes I was thought of being Swedish or at least Scandinavian but no one ever thought of me being German. Finally, I can proudly say, I haven’t had a sunburn in three weeks, which is for my type of skin quite a great success here down under ;).
Therefore, I can just get to the conclusion, I’m born to live in this country. I love it and I never want to leave.
For now though, I want to say: Bye, Bye and see you later!
Chapter 6: Reunion and a whole new world.
I’m back with more.
After I’ve left the cold and rainy Melbourne on Sunday, I made my way back north.
Final destination: Byron Bay.
First though, I did a stop in Sydney again for four days, to see a few friends again. I really didn’t want to drive for 28 hours straight. I think I don’t have to say anything more about Sydney, I just love that city and it never gets boring. Even if you’re just walking around, you will always see something new.
On Thursday I took the overnight bus to Byron Bay, to save money for another night at a hostel. Byron Bay is known as the Surfers Paradise and I got my first culture shock when I arrived. It was just a tiny town with one street and a beach. Nevertheless, I liked it from the very first moment. All those chilly surfer vibes really remind me of France and I already love them.
My hostel here is also great. It’s like a small village. In the middle, there is a pool area and some tables and every room is in its separate “house”. Mostly I like the weather here. Its 35 Degree Celsius and sunny all day long.
Unfortunately, there were hardly any waves and the ocean was flat like a lake. Also, the wind was pretty strong what reminded me of Fuerteventura during summer. However, I don’t give up hope. At least I’ve got time to buy a surfboard now.
The highlight was, that I’ve had a reunion with my loveliest friend Cosi. Although we haven’t seen each other for almost a year, it seems like it would have been yesterday.
I also met her travel mate and good friend Molly, whom I loved from the first moment.
After a few days here I can say, the weather hasn’t changed a lot. We had a thunder storm here and then but it was still warm and I had time to walk around. As there wasn’t much to do here besides surfing and the waves didn’t get that much better, I’ve done what I had to do and did some laundry and grocery shopping.
In addition, I went out, like it’s common for backpackers, especially in the biggest party town on the east coast. I met a lot of great people. Here you can go to any party, from reaggy over paint party to electro and there is no evening without a party. But for those who want to sleep, you better get used to not having more than four or five hours a night.
Enough of partying though, during the day it is also quite nice at the beach. You can get some tan and go for a swim or sometimes even surfing. I bought a 5’10 fish with fins and leash for about 200 dollars. Couldn’t be better.
Of cause, I went surfing right away, especially now that Cosi is with me. It wasn’t easy to surf such a short board in waves under one meter. But I had some successes. Mostly I was happy though, to surf with Cosi again. We started together when we were twelve. Met in France and now surfing together again on the other side of the world. Everything is like we’ve never not seen each other. Isn’t that amazing?
My time in Byron Bay was very funny, exiting and unforgettable. Nevertheless, it’s time to continue my trip today. I’ll do a Roadtrip with Cosi and Molly down the coast again.
Destination: Melbourne, again.
During our trip, we hope to catch some great waves, so cross fingers for us…
And as soon as there is something new, I’ll let you know.
That’s it for now, part 2 of my throwback to this wonderful time will come soon.