Some days, without a doubt, mark a change in your life path. Those dates will always be etched in your history. 18th April 2015 was a life changer for me.
Courtesy of ”On This Day” (via Facebook) we can re-live our memories a-year-to-the-day from last year, the year before that, the year before that and beyond …
Today a Facebook post from one of my best friends reminded me I had left Australia for adventures further afar, in New Zealand, on this very day just 365 ago.
Reality check! Where had THAT year gone?!
Much of the below I have thought about writing before now and haven’t got round to it for one reason or another. Today one of the best years of many lives must be revisited …
Welcome to STRAYA!
I arrived in Australia in April 2014, first stop was Melbourne with my best friend from Uni. She showed me all the best places in Melbourne and let me share her ‘comfiest bed in the world’ (still undisputed) for a few weeks. I landed from 4 months travelling South East Asia solo (but never really on my own of course). At the time I had money to burn from from savings pre-travel and Australia welcomed me with open arms. Melbourne was brilliant. I loved it!
Then I skipped on to Sydney and met up with a friend from my London days, she drove me over the Sydney Harbour Bridge in her 4×4 with the roof down on my first day in Sydney. It was unreal! Will never forget that ‘WOW!’ feeling. Sydney, I was here!.
I left Sydney to spend 6 bonkers weeks in Brazil for the World Cup (this is another post on its own yet to come!).
Returning to Sydney at the end of June 2014 I ‘lost 8 days of my life’ in parites, pizzas and S*A*S*H with my soon to be best friend for life, Lucy. After said 8 days we decided to skip Sydney early to ‘do our farming and save some money’ …
Farming. Bundarberg. July – November 2014.
Oh farming. You beauty. Goon pong pretty much every day, drinking every time the train went past, parties in the park, making Central the best night out ever (even though it played the same music week-in-week-out without fail), smoking on the little road behind the hostel because we knew we could get away with it, more goon pong, beer pong tourny’s which ended up being hard fought / serious / TO THE DEATH contests with the ultimate champs being the envied heroes of the hostel, getting Subway on the bus home from the farm and literally feeling like we had never eaten before, tuna cans for days:
Every fruit and veg in the world, sun block and mozzie spray, pervy farmers, being the slowest packer in the world (me), getting fired for dropping boxes of oranges (me), Slim the dog, seeing Hump Back Whales off Burnett Heads, witnessing the love story of Lucy and Nyall (currently living part of their Happy Ever After in Coachella!), taking the absolute piss out of the team that ran the hostel (naming no names here, we loved them really;), sneaking people in for ‘sleep overs’ from other hostels at the risk of being kicked out and getting away with it every time, someone pissing in my suitcase (YOU STILL OWE ME $70!), getting up to no good in the beer garden, toilets, balconies, bathrooms, you name it it was happening, missing buses to the farm and nearly losing jobs, farming in the 40 degree heat, trying to ‘save’ money but spending loads of it on $10 cider jugs instead, HALLOWEEN!
TOGA night, the night Charlie turned Central into Ibiza, the kitchen from hell (that I never cooked in, thank you everyone for keeping me alive), Hungry Tums being the food dreams (and what goon hangovers were made of), getting threatened to be kicked out of the hostel on numerous occasions for all of the above …
The list really does never end! Farming in Bundaberg from July – November 2014 was one of the best things I have ever, ever done and I know that everyone I shared it with feels the same. It was the best, wouldn’t have swapped our group of people for the world.
Following farming me and Lucy (the girl I just so happen to have tattoo’d on my body, twice) went to Bali in Indonesia for a 2 week holiday, to relax, recover from the crazy of farm life and to splash some of our hard earned farming dollar in the sun!
Bali was out of this world. I have written on it before and will do again but to sum it up in a shorter version for right here I’ll just say I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Me and Lucy left the planet together.
Kicking the ass out of ‘Living the dream’. Sydney. November 2014 – April 2015.
We returned to Sydney, purposely timed, for Stereosonic festival. We met Nyall, (Lucy’s love) and the rest of our friends from the farm who wanted to share a ”best weekend ever” and it didn’t let us down. We had arrived back in Sydney on a massive high from Bali and that high just kept going. Steresonic for two days followed by S*A*S*H on Darling Harbour until the lights came up was an unreal welcome weekend back!
We all began looking for houses and the struggle was real, many agents / house owners wanted nothing to do with a big group of backpackers (who could blame them?!).
One of the boys struck gold though and we all moved into a house on Oxford Street, just up the road from Bondi Junction station and a short bus to Bondi Beach itself. We couldn’t believe our luck.
I currently live in the house next door to our original house and to think back on all the times we shared first time round reminds me how lucky I have been and how lucky we all were really.
We knew we were lucky and we made the most of it! To go into detail of everything we did would be impossible but some the highlights would have to include …
Highlights of the High Life in 196
Christmas and New Year that lasted ”8 weeks” with 17 of our friends living with us at one time to celebrate the festive season in the sun. Going to Newtown for ’12 pubs of Christmas’ and making about 40 new friends each in one day. S*A*S*H on Sundays, the races at Randwick on Boxing Day, house parties galore, ”REF!!”, nearly eating the whole of Bondi Junction Dominos (sometimes twice day …), arguing over the bathroom, $100 challenges for a whole weekend of partying:
Finding MASSIVE spiders hanging on our walls, having random unplanned visits (mainly from our crazy Irish mates) most weekends until Monday came again, working and spending money like there was no tomorrow while ‘trying really hard to save’, Disco King dancing in the garden, DJ’s smashing our garden to a new level of ‘house party, playing Ring of Fire (a lot!):
New Years Eve with around 40 of us going to my friends balcony party under Sydney Harbour Bridge complete with DJ and NYE fireworks going off overhead, NYD at Space Ibiza (again with a massive troop on a fun mission!):
Going to Palm Beach to find Alf and the rest of the Home&Away crew, Bondi, The Bucketlist, hiring a boat for a private party that was out of this world and following it up with dressing up like a Rainbow for Mardi Gras:
So much happened during my first year in Australia, just some of it I have touched on here! I think if anything, important dates like today (and I know we all have these kind of days), remind you of how much you’ve done in your life, how lucky you are to have had the chance to occupy those moments in time and moreover how much the people you shared them with mean to you.
If the next 8 months of my second year in Australia is a snip what my first year offered I can be happy that I did everything I wanted to … living the dream as much as I could with people that made it all the icing on the cake.
Hope this post has stirred some great memories in the minds of my many mates (now both near and far) that I shared them all with.
Thanks for being a part of it all. What a HOOT! We made a hell of a year for ourselves!