Tuesday, May 17, 2016


It's been a few years since I've been on a trip by myself.  It seems like when I'm single, traveling alone is my thing to do.  I really love to travel, but I don't want to wait to be in a relationship to experience the world.

The first time I went on a trip solo was over 8 years ago.  I had gone through a divorce and a break up within 2 years of each other.  I lived in a new city and the holidays have always been a difficult time for me.  So, I decided to book a trip to the city I've always been fascinated by, Paris.  After that, the next several years I went to Rome Italy and London by myself.

Like I said, it's been a couple of years since I've ventured out on my own, but now that I'm single again I decided there's no time like the present.  So, I cashed in some of my airline miles and booked a hotel 2 days before I left.  Then it was off to the land down under.

I left Saturday night and had a 3 hour flight to Los Angeles.  Then, from LA it was a 14 hour flight to Sydney.  The flight honestly wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.  I brought my bed pillow to help make me more cozy and the guy sitting next to me gave some great advice. He said, stay up as long as you can and then go to sleep the last half because by the time you wake up we'll be landing.

Random Fact: During A 14+ hour flight you can watch about 7 movies.

Upon landing Monday morning in Sydney, I headed to the hotel to check in. Since my room wasn't ready they were nice enough to let me go to the gym so I could freshen up. Once I was sparkly clean I headed to The Rocks and walked across the Sydney Harbour Bridge .

After my walk, I met up with a gal who's a friend of my boss. Sheila is from the states, but lives in Sydney now.  We went to the Opera bar where we had some drinks, some snacks and soaked up the amazing weather.  

One thing I found interesting is that people don't keep tabs at bars.  You pay as you go, which is annoying. They also don't know what mimosas are!

After our lunch, we grabbed an uber and headed to the famous Bondi Beach.
It was a national holiday that day. Anzec Day is kind of like our version of Memorial Day.  People were all over the beach and just hanging out out on their blankets.  

We walked up the hill to check out this cool pool area.  It's a pool, but it's filled by the ocean.  

Then it was to the bar we go.  We hung out, had some shots, and enjoyed the scenery.  Seriously the bar was packed with nothing but men! 

One thing I noticed about the men there was they don't go out and look for chicks.  Apparently, if they're out with their mates...they're out with their mates.

So after our shenanigans, day 1 was done. 

The next day I decided to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Even though it's expensive to do, I highly recommend it. It takes several hours and you actually get kind of a workout. Let's not forget the amazing views. 

I met a couple of American guys on the climb.  One of the guys lived there, while the other was traveling around before he started a new job and was visiting his friend.  We grabbed some beers after the climb, and the guy that lives there now gave me some great ideas of things to check out.

Wednesday was kind of a free day.  I really wanted to see Kangaroos and koalas.  I was going to check out an animal sanctuary on the outskirts of Sydney, but the the lady at the front desk of my hotel suggested the Sydney Zoo.  Let me tell you it was a waste of time. 

Tasmanian Devil  - They're so cute!  

However, I did see a wallaby, a Tasmanian devil, and got my koala picture.

After that, I headed back to the hotel to put on my bikini.  I decided to take the ferry over to Manly Beach.

Once I got to Manly Beach it was getting kind of late.  The sun goes down around 5pm.  I was able to take one beach selfie and sit there on my blanket for a few minutes to enjoy what was left of the sun.

Random fact: Burger King in Australia is called Hungry Jack's.

I did a little shopping in Manly Beach. I found myself a really fancy bikini that I spent too much money on, but I felt like I deserved it.  

Now it was time to head back and do a little dinner.  My friend Monica saw this video on Facebook for a restaurant in Sydney called the Buffalo Dining Club.  They're known for pasta dish that's mixed up in a wheel of cheese.  Once I watched it...I was in!  

So I showered up and put on my walking shoes and walked the 2 miles to the restaurant.  

Once I was there I had to wait at least an hour to get a table.  Since I was there by myself it was a bit harder to fit me in, but once they did get me in, I was super starving. 

They sat me at the tiny bar near the kitchen where I got to watch an Aussie version of David Beckham make my dinner. 

I ordered a glass of wine to start things off and get my mind right.  Then it was time for the real food.  I ordered the Cacio e Pepe, which is salt, pepper, olive oil and parsley in a pecorino cheese wheel. Since I didn't want to just carb load, I got a side of brussel sprouts and chorizo.
Best brussel sprouts ever!
Cacio e Pepe
The next day I decided to book a flight to Melbourne.  Apparently, that city has a completely different vibe.

Once in Melbourne, I got myself a rental car, which wasn't as hard of a process as I originally thought it would be. Now, learning to drive on the other side of the road and learning the controls was a little intimidating.

I got on the road and turned on the radio for the first time on the trip.  

(Sometimes when I'm driving by myself I think a lot.  The whole reason for me going on this trip was to put behind me some of things that had recently happened in my life.) 

While listening to the radio and keeping my mind off things,  I realized that they cuss on the air in Australia.  The songs all have the profanity in it...even the F-word!!

I always like discovering new music when I travel.  There were a couple of songs by the artist, Flume, that I heard over and over.  So I downloaded them when I got home.

During my drive I was hoping to spot a kangaroo.  I found the sign and a dead one on the side of the road that someone had hit. However, no live kangaroos

My 2 hour drive to go see the 12 Apostles was complete...I made it!  The 12 Apostles are these amazing cliffs and rock figures in the ocean. 

Once I was there I was making the most of daylight I had left.

I was running around to get a pic from every vantage point.

There were several spots to look out from. One of them was called London Bridge.

Next stop was The Grotto.

And then the sun was starting to set.

Time to head back to Melbourne.

I spent the night in Melbourne at a decent little hotel.  The city reminded me a lot of my home town of Portland, OR. It's funky, artsy, has a lot of strip clubs, and rained just like Portland.

The next morning I drove around for a bit, but it was raining so bad that I wasn't able to see much.  So my Friday in Australia was kind of a waste because I ended up going to the airport early and hanging out.  

Saturday was my last full day and it was a success.  The American guys I met on the bridge climb told me about a market in The Rocks on the weekend. He told me about a guy that sells stuff made of of kangaroo balls.  So that was my mission.

It says "Genuine Kangaroo Scrotum" on it!
Several things were made out of Roo Balls. One of them is a coin bag of sorts like the one above.  The other thing he had was bottle openers and wine openers. 
Needless to say, I bought a ton of stuff! 

I shopped around for a bit and then bought myself more stuff that I don't need, but I had to have...a didgeridoo! 

Once I made my unnecessary purchases I headed back to the hotel.  Then it was off to lunch with a friend that I haven't seen in years. 

Several years ago I met a girl that was from Australia and she was new here in Houston.  She didn't really know anyone at the time so I invited to start hanging out. Before you know it we're hanging out and hitting up the town.  

She moved back home to Sydney and we lost touch.  When I booked my trip I sent her a message on Facebook to see if she could meet up.  Thankfully she did, and when I met her for lunch on Saturday she was just as sweet and lovely as I remembered.  

A lot in our lives had changed over the years. She got married and was dealing with ailing parents.  I had been engaged and now I was back to being single again. We talked and talked.  She gave me great words of encouragement knowing where I was in my life, because she had been there too. 

Seeing Teneale was a perfect way for my trip to come to an end. 

The rest of my day I spent walking around and soaking in the last bit of Sydney that I could.  I hung out down by the harbour that night. I met a woman that started up a conversation with me and ended up hanging out with her for a bit having drinks at one of the bars/nightclubs down by the water.  We talked a lot about relationships and it opened my eyes to some things.  

It was now past my bedtime. I said my goodbyes and headed back to the hotel to pack up and go back to reality. 

This trip was an amazing one for me.  I'm so glad I decided to pack up and do something for myself.  I needed to clear my head and see if I still had it in me to do something daring. Turns out I still have it.  

I'll be back for sure and maybe my next trip I'll be able to share that experience with someone. 


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