The first post of this blog is about my last day in Australia four years ago. On that evening, I attended a show at the Opera House with a hostel roommate-turned-new friend. They were showing the Wizard of Oz film, and the symphony played the score live.
The following is an excerpt from a post on my old site:
As I walked around the city for the last time, I soaked in everything as I passed by, drinking in every detail and attempting to commit it to memory.
When I returned to the hostel Andrew was there, and he happily shared about an interview he had coming up. A couple of hours later when he returned, he said it went PERFECTLY — hoorah! While he went back into town, I figured out what to wear to the Opera House before packing my bags for the next morning.
When I came downstairs, I saw it was pouring — naturally on my last night, as my travel friends agreed that I certainly do bring the rain with me wherever I go. Adrian came down and asked if I wouldn’t mind going back up to the room for 10 minutes so the rain would stop and he could go out :-). Daren arrived a few minutes later in his car and drove us close to the Opera House so we could grab some dinner. We managed to dash to the show with only moments to spare!
As we took our seats, the whole 3-week experience started to flood my heart and mind again. We sat there quietly listening to the symphony warm up and get in tune, and I thought about how blessed I am. How fortunate I was to be sitting in that place. How perfect it was to spend my last night in Sydney in the Opera House. How I’d met the most wonderful people during my trip and I’d miss them more than actually being overseas. And, how I wasn’t ready to leave. I was slightly jealous that my new friends would continue their adventures in Australia and in that moment I realized how much I’d grown personally in those 3 weeks — how I wanted to keep experiencing and learning from this other culture and place I’d grown to love.
As the film started and the symphony played the opening score, I relaxed and let myself take everything in. When Judy Garland first appeared on screen, I thought of those famous words, “There’s no place like home.” It’s true, but I had started to feel the same way about Australia. I had become quite comfortable over the course of just a few weeks, and being in Sydney felt natural.
A few hours later back at the hostel, I climbed into bed and sadly thought about how I would be getting up in 6 hours to to catch a 7am shuttle. And I started to cry — different tears than I’d ever experienced. I hadn’t yet processed everything I’d seen and learned. The inspiration, gratefulness, appreciation, joy, sadness, everything I’d experienced during the trip hit me at once.
For weeks after writing that post and many others, I ached to return to Australia. I kept in touch with Andrew, Adrian, and Daren, three wonderful guys I’d had as roommates. It was this trip, and in particular the third week, that showed me this wasn’t a one-time thing. I would travel again — and I have. It was this trip that firmly planted the seed that long-term travel should be a part of my life at some point. That time is now.
In just under 6 weeks, I will be back in Sydney and ready to write about “Life in Oz”.