Safe and Sound in Sydney

Safe and Sound in Sydney

Written by Heather

Topics: Life in Oz

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!

14 Comments Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Dad says:

    Nae…I loved reading your six observations/ideas. Though they seem like common sense, I realize that I would have overlooked a couple of them had I been taking this trip instead of you. Missing you in Virginia but keeping you close to our hearts through prayer. I love you. Dad!

  2. Dave Hunt says:

    Glad you arrived safely! :)

  3. House says:

    Well said Heath, glad that you made it safely to the hostel and are able to kick back a little bit. Hopefully you’ll be able to begin checking out the sites around town and begin showing off your mad photography skills :)

    Take care and remember that we’re all only a few digits away (besides I never sleep, so feel free to ping me on Skype whenever).


    • Heather says:

      Thanks Dan :-) I took my first photos yesterday but the sky didn’t help at all and I’m still learning how to use my camera. Should have popped in the CD manual to learn about the manual settings O:-) And as you know, the wifi here hasn’t been good enough for me to use my netbook but for a few minutes at a time. I woke up early (5am) so I’m writing this on the hostel’s one free computer while everyone else is sleeping!

  4. Melissa says:

    Glad to hear your first day went so well. Super score on the free bus too – major WIN. :-)

  5. Rebecca says:

    i did the WHV in Aus (and NZ!) back in the day (2007-2009) and excited to just find your blog when you are starting out!!!

    i am the opposite when it comes to packing. granted, i am also from LA, so my (first and only) flight didn’t leave until night, i always pack the day i leave. and i did great! the way i do it, is walk around the week before with a pen and paper and just when i remember anything, write it down. most of the stuff ends up on the list twice (better then never!) and i star the stuff that is a maybe. i freaked, because when i finished all my must haves, i still had tons of room for my maybes…but i fit it all!

    seems like things have changed tons even in 3 years. 3 years ago, only total nerds and people who were chained to their comps brought them (all i had was my jump drive for 2 years and it worked perfect!) but it sounds like today, loads more come with tiny laptops. i don’t know which camp i would be in (prob the earlier one, just a drive, as i hate the responsibilty of a computer, no matter how small)

    can’t wait to read more!

    • Heather says:

      Rebecca, thanks for finding and checking out the site :-)

      You’re right — I’ve never seen so many people on computers before. My how times have changed!!

      I’d love to hear more about your WHV experience. Send me an email on the contact page!

  6. Nicole says:

    So glad to hear that all went well with your arrival in Sydney! Your blog looks fantastic & I can’t wait to read each new post as your adventure unfolds! :)

  7. Poi says:

    Glad to know it’s all gone well so far.

    I think I’ll have to think about the sleeping pills, I can never sleep on planes or any type of transport so this might be a must with a long flight.

    Look forward to reading how your first few weeks go.

  8. Susan says:

    Heather – I’m so sorry I didn’t see you before you left. I am glad you arrived safely and that I’m able to follow you here on your blog. It’s very interesting…and I’m still jealous!! Can’t wait to read more. Stay safe!

  9. Kate says:

    Yay I’m glad that you made it to Oz safe and sound. I was just about to say that I’m so jealous of you being in Sydney and then realised that I am in NY and will be in Sydney in a few months!

    The thing about the laptops is so true. I thought there would be a few but it is literally nearly every single person. If I hadn’t brought mine I would have been gutted!


    • Heather says:

      Glad you’re safe in the states!! Enjoy NYC — I’ve only been a few times but I really like it. Hopefully I’ll know a thing or two about Sydney when you arrive so I can help if you need it…or just want a travel buddy for a few days :-)

  10. Robin says:

    I’m so pleased you arrived safely. Just been catching up on all your posts. I echo Nicole, your blog is brilliant. Its amazing how much it takes me away from my desk and into Oz. Stay safe

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