If you haven’t caught it on Twitter or Facebook yet, I’m safe and sound in Sydney! I’m just finishing up my first full day so I’m a little tired but nothing like last time
Things I’ve learned/observed/experienced so far:
1) Do yourself a HUGE favor and pack your bag early. I procrastinated and waited til 3 days before I left. In those 3 days I ended up taking items out after asking myself if I *really* needed that shirt or was “fill in the blank” necessary for the next month. If I would have packed the week before, I think I would have made a few more smart decisions. My bag is small (and has impressed a few folks already) but it’s heavy due to my stellar packing skills (and mom gets a shout out for helping!).
2) Have a support system drive you to the airport. Mom, dad, and I held it together relatively well, using the card ride to think about childhood memories and funny family stories. Once we got to the airport, I was fine until the final goodbye…and even then I managed to keep it to just a few tears. Thank you mom and dad!
3) Plan sufficient layovers when flying on different airlines, with flights booked separately — and figure out how to spend them. Since my American Airlines flight from Dulles was on time, I had 5 whole hours until my V Australia flight took off. Good thing: I wasn’t in danger of missing my flight. Bad thing: I couldn’t get wireless ANYWHERE at LAX, was too cheap to buy a book or magazine, and my backpack (carry on) was too heavy to walk around for hours. I was bored out of my mind. I should have bought a book.
4) Take two pills and wake me in the morning. Okay, I’m not endorsing or encouraging you to take medication, but it worked for me! I have never slept on a plane for more than 90 minutes, and I knew I’d be a wreck if I was up all day Friday, the entire 15 hour flight to Sydney, and then up all day Sunday. So I got some stuff from my doc before I left, popped them as soon as I got on the plane, and slept the first half of the flight. Brilliant.
5) Score a free trip from the airport to the hostel! Four years ago Katie and I paid $12 for a shuttle from point A to B. Yesterday I opted to try the train…more expensive but quicker. Turns out the train wasn’t in service, so instead they offered a free bus to the central train station. Can’t beat that!! My hostel is within blocks of the train station, so I had a easy walk in the drizzle to get here.
6) Everyone has a laptop. Really, everyone. Until now, I used an internet cafe or a free computer at the hostel to keep in touch with friends and family. But since I’ll be gone for a year (or so) I invested in an Asus netbook a couple of weeks ago. Right now I am typing this from a lounge packed with people on their iPhones, full sized laptops, and netbooks. A few people are watching TV. A decent number are cooking. No matter what time of day, I walk through the lobby and a group is typing away.
Speaking of food, maybe it’s time for me to stop typing and grab something from my bag in the kitchen. I bought food for breakfast and lunch or dinner and plan to buy out one meal a day (usually for veggies). Sumo Salad anyone?
I had a silly productive day today — more on that in the next post!