Wanderlust Diaries Part 1

Hello friends! Once again I am apologizing for the late post. Life has included all kinds of ups and downs over the past weeks and it’s been genuinely difficult to keep up. Alas, here I am, back and better than ever before! This post is dedicated to all my past and future travels! Just like many other Millenials/Gen Z folks, I have been struck by wanderlust. Wanderlust (as defined by Google) = is the strong desire to travel). But I see it as so much more than just hopping on a plane and landing at a destination. I think when you’re able to travel and explore the world on your own, it’s almost a cathartic feeling- a spiritual awakening perhaps. Experiencing new places, new people, and new cultures will open your eyes to the world and change the way you perceive it. It can even boost your creativity and motivate you to accomplish your goals once you’re settled back at home after an arduous adventure. I love traveling, and even though I haven’t gotten nearly as close to all the places I wanted to go to, I’m SERIOUSLY looking forward to doing so. Because there are just so many places that I want to right in detail about, I decided to break this apart into a series- one destination per post. The first one is Sydney, Australia- a solo trip that I made during December (winter break) of 2019. Enjoy! And feel free to reach back out to me for any questions/comments/suggestions/travel tips!!

Sydney, Australia Part 1

I already knew for a long time that I would end up in Sydney, just based on the fact that my aunt/uncle/cousins have lived there for many years now. But when I went, I decided I would fly all by myself- marking my first ever international solo trip. I hopped on plane to LAX with a dream and (not a cardigan, because I was going during Sydney summer time), and wound up in sunny, beautiful, and laid-back Sydney via Virgin Australia flight. The total flight time was close to 20 hours, making this the longest length of air travel I have been on. Once I landed, I immediately knew what everyone was talking about when they said Australia was laid-back. The people there are just so friendly and relaxed. It’s a very outdoorsy place- with people prioritizing physical/mental health over stress. That’s why it’s known to have one of the best work-life balances in the world. Sydney (and Australia in general) is known for its vibrant food culture, pristine beaches and blue harbor waters, as well as its shopping. And of course, the creatures, including adorable koalas and kangaroos. Here are some of my Sydney favorites:

(1) Bondi Beach, one of Australia’s most iconic beaches and got a glimpse of people surfing, exercising in the outdoor gyms, and swimming in the massive Iceberg pools. My cousin and I took an Uber to Coogee Beach, and took the long walk from Coogee to Bondi. We soaked in the sun and beautiful views of the ocean below. We saw people parasailing, paragliding, and tons of other water sports happening in the ocean beneath us. Along the way, there are many viewpoints and perfect photo opportunities- especially since there were panoramic/360 degree views of the ocean all around. Although I didn’t actually go swimming, Australia’s broken ozone layer caught me way off guard and gave me the biggest/only sunburn I’ve had in my life despite packing on the sunscreen beforehand. So pro tip, whether you’re going to the beach or even just taking a drive in the car, make sure you wear plenty of sunscreen to protect your precious skin!

Bondi Beach

(2) Queen Victoria Building (QVB), iconic and historic shopping centre located in Sydney’s CBD (central business district). It was first opened in 1898 and its colonial-style architecture consists of beautiful domes, with one grand dome accompanied by 20 smaller domes. It shops include Australian-made stores, entertainment/leisure stores, music/books, homeware, food boutiques, and multiple cafes and restaurants with all different cuisines. I loved the unique design of the mall- historic, yet modern at the same time (the interior was designed in a modern fashion). Although I didn’t actually do much shopping itself, I got to absorb the surroundings and soak in all that QVB had to offer.

QVB (Queen Victoria Building)

(3) EY, Ernst & Young Sydney office. Obviously, EY is a big 4 accounting firm and has thousands of locations around the world but the Sydney office stood out to me the most out of any other one that I have visited. EY Sydney is located in the heart of the city, overlooking the world-famous harbor and is next to the famous Four Seasons Hotel. I really liked the building’s modern design, and it was so fascinating to see the views of Sydney harbor from the very top (we were able to see it as there was a large conference that got finished up). Right when we walked in, we saw hundreds of people piling out of the building in blazers and business suits and that made me more excited than ever to start my internship in the summer (I scored an internship in technology risk consulting for financial service clients for the summer of 2020). The hustle and bustle of the people was really motivating to see and getting to explore the office in a completely new country was definitely a memory that’s permanently etched in me.

Interior of the EY building: “building a better working world”

(4) The Blue Mountains. This was about an hour and a half drive from Sydney, and we actually went off-roading in a Jeep to explore the Mountains. This place had neat rock formations, quaint villages, and overall epic wilderness. The views of the forestries were also immaculate. Because we went off-roading (a somewhat risky endeavor), there was always a risk for vehicle malfunctions and we ended up getting our Jeep stuck across a branch after heading down a way-too-steep path. (See picture below lol). We ended up having to call a fellow Jeep owner on Facebook marketplace to help us get out of the pickle that we were stuck in (see picture below). Overall, it was probably the most adventurous I’ve ever been and we had a taste of what it was like to be stuck in the wildnerness for prolonged periods of time. Super super fun, and highly recommend.

Off roading in the mountains and guiding my cousin on where to drive
our jeep getting stuck against a branch after going down a very steep path
getting rescued by two other jeeps

–Sydney, Australia, Part 2, Coming Soon!–

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