Trips, Teaching, and a Terrible Foot – November at a Glance

Another week seems long and drawn out thanks to Melbourne rain washing away the nice weather of Cup Day. After counting the number of winter months I endured, only to come to Melbourne and deal with its (albeit not snow) cold, drizzly, miserable winter tendencies…I’ve had enough. By now, even coworkers are saying spring should be in full bloom. What gives, Melbourne. What gives…

But it hasn’t been all storm clouds. I only uploaded my trip photos last week, and realised I haven’t provided detail since that wonderful two-week escape nearly two months ago. I’ll try to recap as best I can.

I left Melbourne the Friday of term 3 ending with my friend Tyler to head for four days in Sydney. It seemed essential to cross it off the list, to see the Harbour, Opera House, reunite with a French friend from the previous holiday, and get in some beautiful beach. Sydney provided wonderfully. We did all of the above, visiting Bondi Beach and Manly. Manly was my favourite, and we enjoyed a great lunch on the water after taking the ferry across. I know I will definitely go back. Walking along the waterfront in Sydney is a great thing to do and the weather infinitely better than in Melbourne.
The ferry to Manly Beach
We also went out whale watching, and saw only the mist from a blowhole… but dolphins swam alongside the boat, so it wasn’t a complete loss.
Sydney Opera House
Our hostel was fairly nice, and I actually made a nice Irish friend who has since moved to Melbourne to look for work 🙂

Next was on to the Gold Coast. We spent a night in Brisbane and managed to catch a Festival with an amazing lights show. Apparently, its not known for much else, but we/I misplanned and we ended up coming back to Bris a few times between transfers to other places. It’s a big city with nice botanical gardens, but Syd and Melb have much more to offer.

The gold Coast (Surfers Paradise) is basically one long beach facing multiple apartments and high-rises. Skyscraper city. The beach was nice, and our hostel had a great vibe, but I would pass on going back to this place over other beach-front towns. The highlight was our pub crawl with the hostel, and catching up with my coworker Camille – who picked us up and took us to Barwon Heads for ‘a proper beach day’. I got my real tan (read: burn) in GC.

After Gold Coast, we headed to Noosa. Noosa was short-lived since our real adventure was on Fraser Island. Fraser was the highlight of my entire trip. We left early in the morning in Jeeps to head to the beach… where we drove on sand for the majority of our trip. We took a ferry across to the island and met our entire group. Fraser has so much to offer. Natural lakes, beautiful inland trails, wildlife, dingoes, etc. I was so ecstatic to have the chance to swim in water where I didn’t have to worry about sharks, stingrays, jellyfish, etc. NO FEAR! I could have stayed in forever.
Jellyfishin'
Tyler and I met some lovely Irish ladies who became our friends for the trip. We stayed up late every night drinking goon, playing cards, dancing on tables…. our tour guide was also fantastic. A funny, cute 30-something with a real appreciation for the land. I firmly believe a guide can make or break a trip and he was spot on. At night, we went out onto the beach and learned about bioluminescence. The stars were full in the sky and full below us- you would run your feet over the sand and sparkles would light up everywhere. Magical, and hard to explain until you witness it. 

Byron bay was our last stop on the list. We lucked out and got an entire suite in the hostel with kitchen, living area, etc to share with two other people. The feel of Byron Bay is so relaxed. The beach was great, tons of cute shops, eateries, etc. Nimbin is a hippie town not too far away, so I think the feel pushed over onto Byron a bit. We only stayed two days and I wish it had been longer. 

UPDATE: November 18 (three days later)
It was back to Melbourne soon after, and I’m shocked to realize that was nearly two months ago. There are slow days, and then moments (like now) it feels like quicksand slipping through your fingers. This weekend has GONE. Long story short, I screwed up my foot somehow (medical mystery) and it’s currently wrapped up in bandages after a visit to a podiatrist. I have to buy orthotics and “rest” for four weeks (yeah right) if I want to walk like a normal human being again. 250$ later and I haven’t even bought the footwear… There seems to be too much to pay for right now. Moving flight to May. Rent. Medical bills. Deposit on a working hostel in Tasi. The visa back home. But I’m going to be alright. Right? Anyway – this weekend was a good one, even with the gimp foot. Friday night we celebrated Marty’s birthday at a karaoke bar. We filled 20+ Canadians into a tiny room and sang the night away. Saturday I met a new Aussie friend for lunch along the river. I do miss a good girlie gab sesh… Met an Irish bloke for a cider and some banter… then off to a going away dinner for a lovely friend named Kristin. She’s the first to head back home. It was great being out with so many wonderful Canadians, but it’s sad to see everyone start to go back home. The life of a traveler… people are always coming and going… I think I’m learning to be a lot more present in my life here. I still whine about the doldrums, rain, unruly kids and days I don’t want to teach, but it still is an adventure. I just need to work hard to harness that sense sometimes.

On that note, I look to January and plans for regional work. I debated being an au pair, teaching in the outback, etc. I think I may move to the Huon Valley and Tasmania to pick fruit for my 88 days. I’ve heard its picturesque, and the hostel I have in mind will drive you to your word. They help you to find your jobs as well.
I may go to Tasmania for a long weekend in December to check it out beforehand. So that’s the plan. Work until end of December, have a few weeks off, then head to get my 2nd year work behind me.
I do miss home sometimes, like when my sister posts up videos of my nephew… or I think of Christmas… but I need to see this through. I went to St Kilda beach with a friend today and sitting on the sand, looking out at the water… I felt a lot better. I’ve waited so long for a proper summer, to lift up my moods and make me see the potential in this great big country again. I’m currently drowning in report writing and work right now, but in a few weeks it’ll all be behind me. In front of me? A huge expense of GOODNESS KNOWS WHAT. It’s terrifying. But you know what? It’s pretty damn thrilling too.
Fraser Island fun
Sorrento, Victoria

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