Made it to Darwin, Northern Territory!

Hopped on the last flight of the trip, leaving from Melbourne to Darwin yesterday evening. The flight was about 4 hours long and I was so tired I slept most of the trip, messing up my sleep schedule a little. So worth it though! Flying is exhausting.

We got to Darwin at around 10:40 pm and were greeted by warm rain and humid air. It was too dark to see much around, but I could tell the terrain was definitely more tropical here. The people were also dressed differently in Darwin than in Melbourne. Seemed less city like and more rural.

After picking up the luggage, I took a taxi to the hotel. Showering for the first time in over 24 hours and finally being alone was very welcomed. I got to bed a little after 12 am and quickly fell asleep. That was the first time I got the chance to lie down in a while, so the feeling was pretty darn relaxing.

I woke up this morning to 83 degree weather and a light rain. Got “Brekkie” at the hotel after checking out.

Now I’m just relaxing, updating the blog and reading my history book about Australia. This my current view…

I’ve got about 5 hours until I have to meet up with the tour group just up the street.

Planning to just walk around and take in the city. No better way to get to know a place than just walking the streets.

I can’t believe I’m officially starting this adventure tour tonight.

Melbourne = Mel-been

I am in Australia! Specifically, Melbourne, Australia, which as the title indicates is actually pronounced Mel-been.

The journey started with a flight from Dulles to LAX, where I ran into a few people wearing their JMU gear after the incredible win on Friday. We unseated the 5-time national champions of the NCAA FCS teams. GO DUKES!

I of course wore my JMU Alumni shirt and shamelessly yelled “GO DUKES” at others sporting their spirit too. When I got on the plane, the shirt helped strike up a conversation with a guy in the Marines in the row ahead of me who watched the game the night before with some friends. As fate would have it, two kids were seated next to me and the dad was seated in front, next to this Marine guy. The dad asked to have my seat and I said of course and sat next to this Marine guy for the flight. He was friendly and our conversation kept my mind off the anxiety I was feeling earlier, of starting the journey.

I think that the best part about traveling by yourself is how approachable you seem when you are not attached to others. I have found that I more easily make friends and meet really interesting people when I am by myself. This time was no exception. We even got dinner together before we parted ways.

The next flight was a doozy, 15 hours from LAX to Melbourne. There was a group of high-school aged kids who were visiting the US and now heading back home. They were mostly dressed in patterned harem pants and had unkempt hair. They were singing and just happy to go home. Their excitement made me excited for the energy in Australia. I settled in after boarding the flight and tried to begin to adjust myself to my new timezone by sleeping most of the flight after dinner.

We landed in Melbourne at around 10:30 am, with my third and finally flight leaving at 7:55 pm. Since there was time to spare, I decided to get a bus into the city to explore for a few hours.

Using my handy-dang Trip Advisor app, ​I choose to see the Queen Victoria Market, which was closed, since it was Monday. So it goes! I did get to walk around and see all the stalls, though most of them were closed up. Seems like it would be very lively when open.

I got lunch at a local spot with Spanish inspired dishes. I learned new words like “capsicum” for “bell peppers.” Also, when Australians are trying to put emphasis on something, like “that’s really hot” they’ll instead say “that hot as.” The “as” adds emphasis.

After lunch, I headed to the Central Mall which was HUGE! There was this interesting tower in one part, surrounded by glass. I didn’t figure out why this there! It was striking though.

I took this mall as an opportunity to buy sunglasses and just see what Australian fashion was like. There were so many stores I had never heard of and so many cool styles and designs I would never see in America. I love beautiful things, so this was still fun, even if I didn’t buy anything but cheap sunglasses.

It was getting close to the time that I needed to head back, so I walked about a mile back to the bus station and hopped on a bus back to the airport.

And, that would leave me here, waiting to board the final flight.

I honestly can’t wait to lie down in a bed and sleep until I wake up. I’ve been awake and either sitting or standing for a good while now. I don’t have to meet my travel group until 6:30 PM tomorrow, so not setting an alarm sounds like the perfect way to relax before the trip really begins. It’s the little things!

Well this escalated quickly…

I am now in Melbourne, Australia about to board my final flight to Darwin to join the travel group and all I can think is “well this escalated quickly…”

Not too long ago this was just an idea, then it was a fun research project, then it was real financially due to bookings and now it’s real because I am finally here…well almost.

Why am I doing this? So many, many, many reasons that it is hard to keep track. Honestly, it would be easier to have one reason. Like, this was an “eat, pray, love” journey to rediscover myself. Or, this was just a 20-something traveling with her free time and lack of responsibility. Or, just because I want to, so I am. It’s all of those and more. The exciting part is that I won’t know the reason until it’s over. That’s what makes it an adventure!

The days leading up to the trip were stressful because I was trying to be in two places at once. I was trying to get in Christmas parties and celebrating with my family. I was trying to finish up work projects and make sure everything would move on without me in the office. I was trying to finish my class and get through finals. And then there was packing for this trip and being excited about the adventures ahead in Australia. The anticipation and stress had me sick to my stomach, so much so that I was not eating.

No matter how many times I am in this situation, with too many things going on at once, I seem to always be overcome with the anticipation so much so that it stresses me out worrying that I am not prepared enough. Which I always find silly when I am sitting on the other side, having over-thought the details and worried about nothing. I can be too focused on the future that I forget to live in the moment. Too focused on the future that I’m not actually living my life.

When others gave me “best wishes” for this trip, they often conveyed that they wanted me to take this as an opportunity to just be and go with the flow. Don’t plan, don’t think, just be and do.

I’m going to try to honor these wishes, mostly because this is my wish for myself as well. As a 20-something in that awkward, just out of college, first job, first-just-about-everything, there is a lot of importance placed on planning for the future. One of my best friends affectionately calls this stage “b-dulting” as opposed to “a-dulting” because it still doesn’t feel like we are true adults with control and ownership over our lives.

This stage reminds me of that glorious period of time in life when you are just awkward and nothing more: middle school. When you’re going through so much change that you’re still clumsy and all over the place. That is what it feels like at this stage of life, too. Goodness, life is cyclical.

This trip however is not me “b-dulting,” this is me taking ownership over my life, asserting my dreams as possible and doing exactly what I want. It’s getting me outside of my comfy routine into a month of nothing but newness.

There will be uncomfortable moments along the way, I am sure of that. But, those are only learning moments, not stumbling blocks or regrets. There will be triumphs over fears and worries that will build my confidence and self-efficacy.

Not to mention, amazing experiences. Because this whole post is just me overthinking and anticipating the meaning of this trip…which I am not supposed to do.

So, here is the beginning to an adventure with less thinking and more doing! Promising, huh?!