A Travellerspoint blog

Australia

Western Australia

sunny 30 °C

Day 1 – Sydney, Australia - First Impressions

As I sit here, realizing the true magnitude of my decision to leave everything behind and follow a decade old dream, I suddenly realize - in my scatter-brained head - that I left my purse on the Airport shuttle bus an hour ago… Shit fuck. Day one in Australia just became extremely limited.

In amongst tears of regret, frustration, and heartache, I decided to hit up the beach to try and shake my despair. As soon as my feet hit the sand and the cool ocean breeze dried my tears I felt a rush of exhilaration come over me. It was refreshing… for a while, until the jet lag set in and I literally couldn’t stop from puddling into a pool of emotional exhaustion. I should mention, and most of my friends would back this, I don’t typically get emotional and my head is usually screwed on pretty straight. This feeling was foreign to me. It took a while, but eventually I saw the light and decided that running was so incredibly necessary to clear my head. I ran the strikingly beautiful sea wall from Coogee to Bondi Beach and gradually, a very welcomed smile spread over my face.

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Before I went to bed that night I decided that I wouldn’t cry myself to sleep, that idea seemed illogical. Instead, I would think of the beautiful things I had to look forward and drift away with my dreams. While enchanted in a dream of diving with dolphins, a drunk and very confused man trying to crawl into my bed awakened me… The lesson learned here – a “private” room in a hostel is never truly private.

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Three Sisters - The Blue Mountains, Sydney, Australia

New beginnings – Perth WA

After a few days of living in a hostel I couldn’t take it anymore. I would modestly say that I am a seasoned traveler; Partying with teenagers until sunrise just isn’t my style anymore. I needed a different scene – fast. I booked a flight to Perth without knowing much about the west coast other than what people had told me, I neglected to do much research… But something was drawing me there. I stumbled upon a website called Airbnb where people list their spare rooms for rent, it was more cost effective than booking a “private” room at a hostel so I decided to give it a shot. My decision was spontaneous and not well thought out but booking this room was the best thing I could have done. I stayed with a girl named Melanie and we quickly became friends. She is laidback, sporty, fun, aaaaand best of all -- a beer lover. I was incredibly home sick and Mel’s company was the only thing drawing me out of my melancholy. She introduced me to her friends, took me to yoga, salsa dancing, kite surfing -- A great first impression of Perth and exactly what I needed.

I settled in a suburb called Fremantle or Freo as the locals refer to it. It’s a laidback hippy/tourist town with a beautiful harbor and a relaxing vibe. I landed a decent job in Administration with a luxury pearl company MG Kailis Pearls – a local icon in Freo. I have learned an incredible amount about pearls and about a business that is based on desire for luster and shine (rather than the malt profiles and IBUs that I am use to!).

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Fremantle is famous for its Cappuccino Strip where a flat white is always made to perfection


Western Australia – Thriving in solitude

I settled into a nice house in Fremantle, walking distance from work. Girly movie nights and weekend brunch dates have become a weekly occurrence with one of my house mates Rebecca – a sweet Malaysian girl who moved to Australia a few years ago. But as comfortable as I have become here, Freo hasn’t captivated me. I shouldn’t compare nature… But if there were one thing missing from my life in Freo it would be the forest. The landscape is sparse with succulents and sea grass littering the sand dunes and edging the beaches. It is beautiful in it’s own way; who doesn’t dream of white sand beaches and turquoise water. But I could never truly feel at home without the earthy scent of rainforest surrounding me.

I can’t pretend it has been easy to leave the comfort of my fabulous friends and family back home; I feel like a part of me is missing when I look back and don’t see my dog staring back at me. But I didn’t leave home because I wasn’t happy; I left because I needed to learn how to be alone. If I have learned anything during my life travels it is to break attachments and live life without expectations.
An Indian guru once told me:

“We come into this life alone, we die alone, and loneliness is only a symptom of not knowing yourself.”

Taking the advice of a wise woman I began to thrive in loneliness. Of course what better way to do that then to start an exercise routine. With my endorphin levels sky high and my body feeling good it was time to break out of my shell and get my travel on!

On my 28th birthday I decided to take myself to Rottnest Island, only a short 30 min ferry ride from Freo. The island has no vehicles other than a tour bus, but the best way to get around is to rent a pedal bike. So apparently I was naive to think that my rigorous fitness routine would prepare me for this… Peddling around a remote island in the hot desert heat is far more difficult than I expected. But had I not set this expectation I wouldn’t have been disappointed… Regardless, the true natural beauty of the island made the challenge worth every minute. In this moment I realized that this is why I came to Australia. I was truly thankful to have the opportunity to spend my birthday on a secluded island thriving in solitude.

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My birthday beverage of choice from Ferral Brewery in WA, Borris - Russian Imperial Stout. A strong contender in my list of WA's best brews!

In the following weeks I made my way up and down the west coast of Australia. I headed south on an epic off-roading/camping extravaganza with my friends Melanie and Jazzie. We recruited some of Mel’s friends in Margaret River and continued our journey through Leeuin National Park. We arrived after dark and quickly set up camp before parking our chairs and cracking our beers. Shortly after, I jumped out of my seat at the sound of loud thumping approaching us and was amazed to see a family of Kangaroos storming our campsite – seriously epic. We spent the weekend camping in Contos, cruising the beaches of Boranup, and visiting the breweries and wineries. This trip was the highlight of WA for me, but the pictures speak for themselves.

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Stopped for a visit of Mash Brewery where I learned to appreciate their rye porter
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A day trip to Swan Valley with my lovely Perth friends (top picture, from the left: Melanie, Simon, Justin, and Jazzie). large_IMG_9089.jpg

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[i]A brewery with its own lake! Whaaat! Bootleg Brewery in Margaret River. Best brew for me was their Ragging Bull

I thought spending Christmas without my family would be difficult, luckily I was adopted by my lovely Perth friends and spent a fabulous Christmas playing cards, feasting, and drinking delightful Western Australian wine. After an enjoyable Christmas with my new found Australian family, Mel and I headed North on a kite surfing trip with a few of her friends and their new kite surfing company.

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A traditional Danish Christmas game - whoever gets the almond in their dessert gets a gift!

I’ve never had any intention of learning how to kite surf but the opportunity presented itself and my “yes please!” attitude has always served me well. In recent years I have had the unfortunate experience of watching people die from the relentless elements of the ocean; these happenings have left me with a lingering fear of the ocean. Facing this fear with the added element of wind, a kite, and a board was truly terrifying but I was keen to try. I didn’t have any expectations of doing well at kite surfing but I surprised myself. After being tossed across the ocean, pulled in every direction, and hammered by giant waves I managed to get up on the board and was pleased at how well I progressed. I can’t say that I will continue kite surfing, it is an extreme sport that poses severe risks. After I left the kite surfing crew one of the instructors took a huge bail and broke her tibia… That was enough for me.
I had the group drop me off in Exmouth so I could see the Ningaloo Reef and revel in loneliness once again.

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Exmouth & the Ningaloo Reef

I can’t say that my first impressions of Exmouth were entirely welcoming. The kite surfing crew dropped me off at a car rental company just outside of town where I had booked a car earlier that day. Unfortunately the office was closed and my ride had already left… I quickly came to the realization that my mobile service provider didn’t work in Exmouth. In the sweltering 42-degree heat, along with my camping gear, I was alone -- without a phone. I made my way down the road in search of something that resembled a business. I eventually came across a junk store and was relieved at the sight. I walked in and addressed the lady stocking shelves, she barely acknowledged my presence and to my extreme disappointment was incredibly rude “I don’t know anything about the car rental company and I can’t let you use a business phone.” I explained my situation to her only to have her lash out at me with furry. Unable to hold my composer I left the store with tears streaming down my face. Ten minutes later I turned around to find her chasing after me with her cell phone. Turns out she knew the lady at the rental company personally and called her for me. I was both enraged and relieved at the same time but eventually was able to get a rental car without any more drama. I spent the remainder of the day finding a service provided for my phone, searching dive shops, hotels, and flights home. I found a hotel around the corner to very happily rest my bags and breathe in the sweet smell of air conditioning.

I awoke early the next morning eager to start my adventures. The dive shops were all closed for the holidays so I decided to rent some snorkel gear and cruise the Ningaloo Reef from the shores of Turquoise Bay and surrounding beaches. I arrived at the beach early, the sea was calm and there was not a soul in sight. I spent the day frolicking with giant tropical fish, exploring colorful corals -- luscious with life, and swimming with a fascinating sea turtle that seemed to tolerate my company.

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After a fabulous day on the water I felt satisfied with my west coast experience and was ready to head home to Perth. I flew home on New Years Eve and managed to stay awake long enough to welcome 2015 from the luxury of my own bed, comfortably and blissfully alone to bring in the new year.

Posted by H-Dizzle 22:47 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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