Category Archives: Australia

Wish for a World Wonder

It’s funny how we form these strange goals for our lives.

To be the first in my family to get a house.
To be the best surgeon in my field.
To gain three Doctorates.
To have 6 kids.
To move to a certain city.

Listening to tour radio at Stonehenge.
Listening to tour radio at Stonehenge.

My goal…as ridiculous as it may seem…is to see all the world wonders. It is possible? Sure. Is it realistic? Maybe not. I don’t have the funds or time at the moment, and I see myself in the near future having a child of my own to be with. I have the Wonders list hanging at my desk in my office. The Wonders of the: Ancient World, Medieval World, Natural World, Modern World, Underwater World, and Forgotten Wonders.

Pizza in Pisa
Mom eating Pizza in Pisa with the Leaning Tower!

Some are going to be a little bit more challenging than others. Palau, for example, will be quite the adventure to get to! It is so important for us to experience these wonders, because who knows how long they will be around to view! I heard a rumor that the Great Barrier

Sydney Ferry Ride
Sydney Opera House, Australia from a Ferry

Reef wont be around in the next ten years! I have to find a way back there. I think it is good to have goals for travel. Not only is it something to look forward but when it is accomplished, it feels like the ultimate battle has been won.

Look them up! See how close you are to one of the world wonders and why not take a spontaneous trip to say that you experienced it! They are everywhere!

Tokyo View
Wayne in Tokyo with Mount Fuji in the Background

The Mysterious “Round the World Ticket”

In 2008 I moved to Colorado. I will not admit that I moved for love. Some may say that I am kidding myself then. The truth is, when I graduated college I moved in with my mom in Chicago and it felt very anti-climatic. I was itching to travel or move and to do something interesting and spontaneous. Then in May of 2008, I met Byron on a

Colorado Living Westminster
When Jacqueline came to visit me in Colorado

graduation trip to Mexico, and he was from Longmont, Colorado. We were instantly drawn to each other. Always on the phone. Texting too. He visited me and I him. It felt like it was fate to see where that relationship might go, and I was still itching to find some new adventure. So I planned and saved and planned some more and moved to Colorado (about 25 miles from Longmont). My heart was broken a week later when we broke up and I was having an extremely rough time. He was my very first love and one of my best friends. It was a bad break up to say the least. I stayed in Colorado through 2011 with the help of his friends and family

First love
Byron and I with friends when he came to visit me in Chicago

(funny enough), and with the help of my mom who brought me home for a summer.

While living in Boulder in 2010, I was browsing around online travel sites to try and help in distracting from the sadness and a friend of mine from Chicago was talking to me on Facebook. He asked me if I had heard of gapyear.com. I hadn’t. This was where it all started. Gapyear.com was the starting point of my research. I went onto gapyear immediately and for the first time ever, I read about the famed “Round the World” Ticket. It was that moment, that I set my mind to go do it. I read all over gapyear.com. I went onto several other search engines. I browsed

Brisbane travel
Brisbane

around on airline sites for the “Multiple Cities” ticket. I finally checked STA Travel (which I was familiar with from studying abroad in Canterbury, England). I emailed and received a response from an extremely wonderful and helpful representative named Peter. He gave me advice and threw some rates at me. I used the information from Peter and compared other prices I found. I settled on what Peter had offered and I was able to purchase through them as I was on the “Youth Pass” (under 26).  I bought my ticket to San Diego/Sydney/Melbourne/Malaysia/Cairo/London in May of 2010 and left January 22, 2011.

Sydney Ferry Ride
Sydney, Australia Early in the morning on a Ferry

As for the “Round the World” ticket that people speak of with unlimited dates, times, and destinations, I have yet to fully find out all about it and any companies that sell them for a reasonable amount. Go ahead and type in “Round the World Ticket” into Google and see what comes up if you would like to start your

Malawi children
Teaching highfives to the Malawi kids

adventure. It does sound too good to be true, but I know it exists out there. As far as I know, gapyear.com, STA Travel, and some airlines have something similar to the idea of an “Round the World” Ticket. I will update you if I find out more of this golden magical ticket!

“To Travel is To Live”

Brisbane
Brisbane

“To travel is to live.” –Hans Christian Andersen

So many great artists and philosophers and writers have acknowledged the importance of travel to enhance our lives. It feels like it should be a basic need. At this point in my 20 some odd years, my entire life revolves around travel. Past and future. I write about my past experiences to (hopefully) encourage and help others. My future is always on my mind, and it always involves how much money I need to save for my next trip, how much time must be set aside for it, communicating with those I am traveling with or to, and researching all plans. It has consumed my every thought. Currently I sit at a desk and just stare at a computer and almost feel as if I am decaying in front of my very eyes. To travel, for me, is to breathe.

Beauty in Brisbane
Beauty in Brisbane

Perhaps, to others I sound lazy. “Oh. She just doesn’t want to work.” But truthfully, this never ending routine of bed to bus to work to bus to bed, is unfair for any person to endure. What enhances my life with this same routine every day? Am I just to wait until the next exciting thing happens to break it up? The next concert. The next engagement party. The next birthday. Getting married. Having a child. I just have to continue the routine and wait until these momentous events are to occur in my life?

It was well into my second week in Brisbane. I had just arrived into the city from taking the rush hour train with all the business people on their way to work. It had been a late night of dinner and a night out on the town with a lovely gentleman I had met the week before, so I was vigorously hunting for a nice hot cup of coffee to start my day. I succeeded in my search in King George Square across from City Hall. There was a little coffee kiosk with outdoor tables to sit at. I sat there with my Australia travel book sipping on the cappuccino I had just bought and watched everyone walking by. The Central Station for busses and trains was close by too, so occasionally I would see someone in a suit or pencil skirt running through the square. I sat there and watched, and only one thought could come across my mind:  how happy I was. I was so content. I was struggling with money because I had to make it last for another 6 weeks and three more countries. I had no idea where I wanted to go with my career. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to move back to Chicago. I didn’t get to go to the Great Barrier Reef because of two cyclones. I was not in a relationship. By all logical reasoning, the one feeling I should NOT have felt in the square that morning was content. I had so much to work on and worry about as far as my future was concerned, but there I was happier than could be. No other thought could creep into my mind.

Watching people live their lives, going to work, going to school, having relationships and families, was enough for me to remove myself from the autopilot we all put ourselves on and appreciate that very moment that I was having. I had been sitting across from a

Inside Brisbane Cathedral
Inside Brisbane Cathedral

majestic nearly 100 year old building in a country half way across the entire world from my home and just sitting on a stool with a coffee. What could possibly make you feel life more than in that moment? There is so much I think about every single day. So much I worry about. And most of the time, none of it really matters. It’s moments like this one in Brisbane, Australia where I feel like I could actually breathe. A time and place where worry was not taking over. Travel, for me, is to live and breathe.

I just have to keep reminding myself to turn off autopilot, and see where I am.