You don’t always need a plan. Sometimes you just need to breathe. Trust. Let go and see what happens ~ Mandy Hale.
You know how people say it feels like a year not a month since they saw someone or something? Well that is how I feel today. Because I honestly can’t fathom how I have managed to visit Bali, three new countries and land in Vancouver already in one month. It’s ridiculous, that’s what! So here is a recap of what I have done and seen this past month since leaving my home, friends and family in Australia.
This journey officially began on Friday 24th May at 9:00am (to be precise) when my first plane left the ground in Brisbane. The first week was spent in my beautiful Bali. I shopped (only venturing to the beginning of Kuta then running away quickly) read, ate, relaxed, swam, bruised myself (how unusual) drank and got massages and various other spa treatments. I also got the opportunity to visit my sponsor child in a local village, who stole my heart – but more about him later. And cute photos. Seriously, you could eat him, he’s THAT adorable.
We also went to Nusa Lembongan off the coast of Sanur for the first time. It was all about relaxing there and adventures on the motorbike. It was beautiful but Legian is still my favourite place, especially because my family has such lovely local friends on the beach, and I didn’t feel like I got too much of a chance to spend time with them this trip. But I will see you soon Jerry, Mary, Christine and Harry!
I was in Bali until the Sunday, when I said goodbye to my parents at the airport at 10pm that night. I knew it was going to be hard, but let’s just say that if anyone thinks they are emotional, they haven’t met me. It was bad, and there have been moments of self-doubt since. But Skype is my hero. It has made the distance seem minuscule, and I am so grateful for that. From Bali I flew into Tokyo, which was a culture shock, but I really enjoyed my time there.
I mastered the metro (including awkwardly grabbing a Japanese man’s hand when the train jerked and I had nothing to hold onto) saw Mount Fuji and visited many of the different suburbs, including Asakusa (good souvenir shopping) Shibuya, Harajuku and Shinjuku (C.R.A.Z.Y) Ginza and Tokyo Bay (good general shopping) and Ueno Park. I had a bit of a food battle, but other than that I think it is a great location for solo travellers.
Aloha Honolulu! I fell head over heels for this city. I was only there for three days but when it’s love at first sight, that’s all you need. In that time I shopped way too much (my backpack hated me after that) ate some amazing food (steak plates are amazing. You’re welcome.) went for beach walks and visited Pearl Harbor. I have already told my parents we’re meeting there whilst I am in Canada. They’ve already started saving.
From Honolulu to Los Angeles. I loved visiting LA and seeing the streets and places I had seen so many times before on the TV and movies, but if I was to return I would spend my time in Santa Monica by the beach. I did a hop-on, hop-off tour which took me from Hollywood and Downtown LA to Santa Monica and Venice Beach and back again. I also did a Warner Bros Studio Tour and Movie Star Homes Tour, which were both fun for a celebrity-stalker like myself. No judging. I also loved going to the Farmers Market and the Grove. I stayed at Banana Bungalows on Hollywood Boulevard which was a great location for first-timers like myself, and held great social events every night.
Now it was onward and upwards to San Francisco! I really loved San Fran, although it was a bit cold for summer… just saying. I spent a day at Yosemite National Park, which was just magic. It was a landscape I had only seen in pictures, but was even better up close. And although the bus broke down on our way out of the park, I got to experience the Iron Door Saloon in Groveland. I also got a 2 day hop-on hop-off pass for the same price as one, bonus! It even included a trip to Alcatraz, which was definitely worth it. I was mesmerised by the view of the San Francisco skyline from the island and I completely understand why the prisoners would have wanted to escape when all you looked at when outside your cell was the beautiful city you’d left behind. I feel like I need to go back to San Fran though as I didn’t get to experience everything I wanted to, including Chinatown and Golden Gate Park.
And then Tuesday came, which was my D-Day. I had a “mini Hayley freak out” before going through immigration as I had heard horror stories. But it was a breeze — the officer didn’t even look at all the paperwork (insurance, bank statement) I had prepared as per the guidelines. So I am now legally allowed to work and holiday in Canada for two years! Vancouver has been pretty good to me so far as well. In between writing, job hunting and room-rental-searching I have done a tour of downtown, been to a BIG shopping centre (I needed shoes, okay) done a walking circuit from downtown to Granville Island to Science World and back and been out for drinks in Kitsilano with more Aussies than Canadians.
Just writing it down makes my head spin. It has been an amazing, exhausting, exciting and exhilarating ride this month. And I promise to come to you next month from my summer room sublet and with an awesome job in hand. Remember to like me on Facebook for regular updates and pretty photos of Vancouver!