Australia: Last Stop
After over 30 hours of travel from Sri Lanka, I arrived in Brisbane, Australia on December 19, 2017. I visited my friend Katherine who I’d met in September, 2016 in Kathmandu, Nepal. It was by chance we shared lunch one day in a crowded veg shop and she and her friend had no place to sit. I invited them to join my empty table and we’ve been friends ever since. We explored a bit of chaotic Kathmandu together and traveled north to Pokhara, making a few stops along the way. Back then, I thought I’d finish Asia and be in Australia by April or May, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. I extended my time in Thailand by one month back in December 2016, and shortly after I left, as you all know, I tore my ACL and meniscus in Myanmar. My time in Thailand added up and it took me forever to get out of Southeast Asia in general. So, 6-8 months later and 30 hours of travel to get to this, my 6th continent, here I am.
Due to time constraints and the need to get back to life and work, my experiences here are cut short. As I was planning, I just couldn’t justify spending any more money than I already have on this Asian Adventure and furthermore, I’m tired. Spending time in Brisbane with Katherine and her daughter was great. I was able to stay in a home, we traveled around, I saw kangaroos for the first time ever, lorikeets and cockatoos fly freely, and we visited the Gold Coast. What’s even better, after a year and a half of travel, I visited someone I know. Friends-something that’s missing during long term travel. I had a 10 hour overnight layover in Sydney and caught up with a French girl I’d met in Cambodia. That was fun too, not to mention I got to see the iconic Sydney Opera House.
Melbourne is where it’s at in Australia. It’s like the must see city. It’s definitely a nice place and overall, I feel like I experienced reverse culture shock since I arrived. The development, western amenities, and availability of goods and foods are still shocking at times! Coming from Asia, it’s an expensive place and because I’m not making money here, it’s also quite an adjustment… So much so I think I had a few episodes of heart failure at first, LOL.
I’ve lived for a year and a half with my meager belongings on my back and I’m tired. I don’t want to live out of a backpack anymore. I want some variety. I want to take care of myself. I want to be a productive member of society, I want to eat healthy and get back into fitness. Seeing as so many things are available here, I’ve taken advantage of some shopping and have some extra baggage to carry back to Colombo, but this should tide me over until I make my next visit to the states in April.
So, what to do in Melbourne? I was able to purchase a 2 week pass to a gym in the city. I’ve gone nearly every day, if not two times a day. I met a somehow related family member (there are lots of people here with the name Batsakis), I visited the Melbourne Cricket Grounds, watched a day of “The Ashes” Boxing Day Test Match, partied on New Year’s Eve, hiked 1,000 Steps on New Year’s Day, and was lucky enough to make it out to the Great Ocean Road with my housemate. Southern Australia at its finest and 2,000 miles south: Antarctica. I may never get closer.
Although I did some shopping here, I was able to entertain myself with some otherwise affordable activities. I got into a routine with the gym, exploring the city by foot, and sipping coffee in a variety of cafes while working on meal plans and nutrition focused articles for clients. In a lot of ways, it was a normal two weeks.
I could have written a “Must Do” blog for Melbourne, but there are plenty, so this is my own two week summary.
Australia was great. I’m so thankful for the opportunity and time spent here. My 6t continent, a nice break spent in a developed country, and best of all, it’s just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Sri Lanka. Well, not really, but if I ever want to come back it’s a possibility!
My recommendations? If you come to Melbourne and want to be like me, take advantage of the healthy food available, go to the gym, (Doherty’s has various locations throughout the city), pick up some supplements, and check out the Melbourne Cricket Grounds! And walk, walk, and walk…!