Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Australia & Fiji, 2011 Part 1: Travel is a wondrous thing that purifies the soul.

Well it’s been a whole month now since James and I arrived home safe and sound from our trip. Our trip was full of experience, adventure, learning, pure amazement, excitement, and connection. It’s hard to believe that our trip of a lifetime has come and gone and we’re now back to the reality of daily life. I wanted to share a few moments from the trip before we get too caught up in the daily lives of “ The Wood’s”. I wrote about our journeys everyday in my journal… usually while waiting for my physio to finish up. So here are some tidbits of the Kim and James travel experience.

Our journey began filled with emotions. Here’s a little piece of my journal, which I wrote on “departure day”.
“We’re on the flight to LA and as I look out the window at the blue sky filled with billowy clouds, I just can’t believe that I have the love of my life next to me and that we’re on our way to Australia. There is no way I thought this was in our future when I look back two and a half years ago. I keep thinking of Eva and how excited she would be right now if she were on her way to Australia. I’m definitely bringing a piece of her along for this ride. This is a pretty incredible feeling. So don’t ever forget it.” Written Apr. 2nd, 2011.

After 30 hours of travel, a few hours of sleep here and there, a half-ass physio session in the “Air Pacific” office in LAX, and with our bellies full of crappy airplane food… we arrived in Sydney Australia!
After getting our bearings, sorting out my bag of medications (appropriately named “the med bag”) and putting the essentials in our tiny fridge (insulin, pulmozyme and beer), we went for a wander to see the great sights Sydney had to offer. Our time in Sydney was short but jam-packed full of sightseeing and exploring. One of my favourite moments in Sydney would have to be feeling James’ arm wrapped tightly around me while we both gazed at the incredible city landscape while standing at the very top of the harbour bridge. We were then surprised when a small rainbow decided to make an appearance amongst the overcast gray sky. At that moment, I said hello to my Grandma Win and smiled. “ It was the kind of moment where your heart skips a beat and you breathe a breath of contentment and you experience that rare feeling of – life is beautiful.” Written Apr. 6th, 2011.
Another favourite moment was definitely seeing my very first kangaroo and koala bear. Being able to hand feed a kangaroo and pet a koala was absolutely amazing for me. I learned that kangaroo’s are one of Australia’s symbols because they can’t walk backwards thus always striving to move forward… something I admire very much.
Walking along the coast walk from Bondi beach to Tamarama and seeing the Opera House for the very first time were also things I’ll never forget.
Meeting up with my long lost friend from high school, Carrie King, was another favourite moment in Sydney. It had been 9 or 10 years since we had seen each other but we were able to pick up pretty much exactly where we left off. Only true friends are able to do that.
After 4 days in Sydney we flew to Brisbane to start our road trip…, which was the start of a whole new adventure! After several “oh shit” moments due to getting ourselves lost a few times and not finding the Wicked Van rental place until late, then having to drive to a campsite which we hadn’t even booked yet, while learning to drive on the other side of the road in the dark and trying to find a gas station because we were left with an empty tank and having ZERO camping supplies… AHHHHHHHHHHHH… STRESSFUL! Finally we found the gas station after several wrong turns, loaded up the tank and we were on our way to find Kangaroo Pt, AKA, a place to park all night where you won’t get towed, with public toilets and a sink to wash up and where clueless travelers spend the night when they haven’t booked a campsite in advance… lesson learned.
What a night! Our checklist the following day included buying groceries and camping supplies! Because sleeping in our clothes with our travel towels as blankets after eating our gas station groceries was surprisingly not as glamorous as expected.
 After a bit of a rocky night, stocking up on groceries and supplies, we were FINALLY on the road in our Wicked Camper van… heading north.
Our first stop was at a little town called Landsborough which was close to Beerwah which is where the Australia Zoo is located which was AWESOME!
Our second night camping was much better than the first… although I did have some nightmares about deadly spiders crawling in the van… yikes!
The next day we spent at the Australia Zoo. I was in total heaven. Normally I’m not big on Zoo’s. Keeping animals from their own natural environment for our pleasure and entertainment is just something I’m not into. But, this zoo was different. I was pleasantly surprised at how much education they provide around conservation, animal endangerment, why these things are important and what we can do about it.  Watching a guy feed an enormous crocodile, being able to hand feed an elephant, watching a tiger play in the water with a gigantic cat toy and holding Tasmanian devils named Rex and Franklin… well it was DEFINITELY a highlight of the trip for me. What an amazing place. I was like a kid in a candy store… or better yet, a kid in a ZOO! I’m so thankful to be able to cross off these things on my life list. This day was AMAZING!!!
After a whole day with the animals, we sadly said goodbye to the Australia Zoo and continued our journey north towards Noosa.
Noosa was so beautiful. “I really loved Noosa and I could definitely move here. I figure my weekly sinus appointments could be done right at the beach. A good swim in the ocean is as good as the flushes I get at the ENT office right? This beach is a much nicer office to wait in anyway.” Written Apr, 11th, 2011.
After booking a tour on Fraser Island at the visitors centre, we headed up to Hervey bay where our tour would start the following day. 
Time for a break… coming up, Australia & Fiji Part 2: Our Wicked Roadtrip continues…