Tag Archives: Travel

Reflection on Three Years in Sydney

Leaving Alice Springs, flying over the Red Centre

Leaving Alice Springs (Norther Territory) flying over the Red Centre

Three years in Sydney… How have I been away for three years? I’ve reached a point where I’m not quite sure if three years is long time or short time to be living abroad.  Depends who is asking.

In some ways it feels like ages. When I moved here I thought I would stay for 2-3 years at the most. My aim was to experience Australia in a more in-depth way than just a temporary holiday. I wanted Sydney it to be a home for me. I wanted to create a life here, with a career, friends and community. Reflecting on it now, I feel as though I have that, and I’m very grateful.

I moved to Sydney alone, not knowing anyone here. I remember wondering a lot in my first months when Sydney would become ordinary or completely familiar to me. I also wondered how long it would be until I had friends where I could be myself and let my guard down. I desperately wanted to feel comfortable in my surroundings. I’m not sure when it happened, but much has changed since those days.

Despite loving this place, I never thought Australia would be home forever. I always wanted it to be temporary, as part of my life, not the rest of my life. The thought leaving now, devastates me. While I have no plans to leave in the immediate future, it still isn’t a permanent home.

I know three years is really just a small blip on the radar. I have expat friends who have lived in multiple countries, travelled the world and have been away from “home” much longer than I have.  It’s actually funny how non-unique your own story starts to feel over time with the more people you meet. I find it can be both comforting and annoying at times. I guess that’s probably more a life lesson that translates beyond just moving abroad.

Before moving here, I had never really considered the idea of long-term travel or even living anywhere other than Australia. My dream wasn’t to just become an expat or live abroad; it was specifically to come live in Australia. However, lately these three years are feeling like they could be just a start.

Uluru at Sunset

Uluru at Sunset

One of my best friends came to visit earlier this month from the US. We spent a week in the Northern Territory for a camping adventure in the outback and to see Uluru (Ayers Rock). It’s something that’s been my ‘to see’ list since studying abroad in Australia, and I’m glad I finally made it there, it was a great way to celebrate a three year anniversary.

Thank you for wonderful times and great memories over these last three years Sydney. Looking forward to many more to come. Cheers!

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Filed under Expat, Sydney

30 New Places in 30 Days

My July challenge was to visit 30 new places within 30 days. It could be anything from trying a new restaurant or something simple like a street in Sydney I hadn’t walked down before. I am constantly reminding myself to try new places and not forget to explore what’s in my own backyard. The purpose of this challenge was to make me aware and purposeful of experiencing new places in Sydney.

Here is my list and a few notes on some of the 30 new places I went.

Had to Happen

1. Had To Happen — Mexican restaurant in North Sydney. Not my favourite in Sydney but also not the worst. I’d go back and try it again. They had decent prices and I’ve been told they do an all-you-can-eat fajita special.

2. City Hotel — We went here for a big 4th of July party put on by an American Expat group. I’ve never hung out with so many yanks in this city all under one roof. It was fun times. I had a pulled pork sandwich and Budweiser, but I know the menu and drinks were unique to this particular event.

3. The Commons — My foodie partner in crime, Trish, recommend this place. We actually went looking for a roast dinner (which they didn’t have that evening). Neither of us cared much for what we ordered, but I liked the atmosphere of this place and would try it again. The entrees were yummy.

4. Sam I Am — adorable little bar in Glebe. My friend Alicia picked this place to host another 4th of July party we had with some friends. We booked the room on the top floor which has a ping pong table.

5. Phamish — This was a great discovery and dinner pick. Vietnamese restaurant in Darlinghurst. I’ll be going back for round two for sure. Hat tip to Don for picking it. sometimes he has good ideas.

Jenolan Caves

6. Jenolan Caves — I recommend this as a place to take friends or family visiting Sydney. Take a full day to visit the Blue Mountains and take a cave tour. There are several options that vary in length and difficulty. We went on an easy walk but I’d like to go back to actually go caving. They were beautiful to see.

7. Incu — Cute shop on Oxford Street in Paddington. They carry TopShop for both men and women in the upstairs section.

8. Bourke Street Bakery — Another Surry Hills spot I can’t believe I went so many months without trying. I had heard all good reviews and finally tried it out for myself in July. Yum!

9. Pieno — There is lots of outdoor seating at this Surry Hills brunch spot. It’s right next to the Winery and Thomas Deux. It’s not my new favorite place for brunch, but we all enjoyed it. I would bring a group back here again.

10. Fakeclub — Some dirty club in the cross. Don’t go here unless you’re too drunk to care or understand where you are anyway.

11. The Opera Bar — Can you believe it took me almost a year of living in Sydney before having a drink at The Opera Bar? I hosted a tweet-up with a friend here in July and got a group of about 30+ together for a few drinks. It was a great spot because we had lots of room to move around and my friends who were visiting from out of town of course loved being next to the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. I loved it too, Sydney is beautiful at night.

Aroma Festival

12. Aroma Festival — This was a coffee and chocolate (I think) festival held in the rocks. It was adorable and they had a lot of vendors but it was so hot out that weekend I wasn’t in the mood for a coffee. So that was sort of a fail.

13. Cotton Duck — Tried out this Surry Hills restaurant thanks to Secret Foodies. Great food and great atmosphere. I recommend it and I also recommend checking out Secret Foodies if you haven’t heard of it yet. It’s a pop-up dining experience in Sydney, organised by Ms. Darlinghurst.

14. Grasshopper — We went here for our last Travel Massive meet-up. I was feeling so-so about it until the next day when whoever runs the bar’s Twitter account was rude to my friend. Now I’m over it. Not planning on going back anytime soon, too many other new places to try.

15. Pizza E Birra — amazing, amazing pizza here. Pizza shop on Crown Street in Surry Hills. We celebrated Sara’s birthday here and everything we ordered was delicious. Can’t wait to go back.

Other spots included Tropicana, Harumi, Lincraft, Sydney Winter Festival, Urban Bites, new GG espresso in North Sydney, Via Del Corso Pasticceria e Caffe at Westfield,  Alma on Stanley St. in Darlinghurst, Chisholm at Jenolan Caves and more.

What new places have you been recently?

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Filed under 30 Day Challenge, Sydney

Moving to Australia

I believe in the importance of setting goals, always looking at the big picture and trying new things on a regular basis. I think it’s a combination of these values that is driving me to move to Australia after I graduate this year.

I had the opportunity to study abroad in Australia for a semester and returning there has been on mind ever since. I loved the culture, people and lifestyle. I know that I really only got a small taste of that during my four months there.

When I was younger I refused to leave my mother’s side and now here I am ready to graduate, pack up and move thousands and miles away from home. My time at college has been part of a transformation and amazing journey, but the best part is I know I’m only getting started. I have many more jobs and careers ahead of me, communities to join, and networks to build.

A wise professor taught me that people often say “life is short” and seem to adopt a seize the day attitude when in reality, life is quite long. We have time to complete or attempt the tasks we set out to accomplish. My international move has less to do with being spontaneous and more to do with looking at the bigger picture of my life. A few years of my life living in another country might seem like a big deal, but really it’s not long at all. I may end up living many places in my life.

I never want to stop learning and experiencing new things. I think that curiosity keeps us sharp, and empowers us. Mahatma Gandhi said “Learn as if you were going to live forever, live as if you were going to die tomorrow.” I can’t think of a more appropriate quote to reflect on as my senior year comes to an end.

I look forward to having more updates to share with you soon.

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Filed under About Me, College Life, Travel

NYC Trip

Just got back from a trip to New York City with the family. It had been awhile since I last visited and we had a lot of fun. I put together a short video and picture montage to share. Apparently now that the quarter is over I have lots of free time to work on strange little projects like this. Enjoy!

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