The count is officially over: 84 hours and 24,466 miles of traveling and I am back in my homeland of North Dakota. I may not technically consider myself an Aussie yet, (even though I drove on the left side of the road the first day I was home) but I do miss Sydney and the people of my program more and more every day. I’m not going to lie, it feels exceptionally nice to be home with my family back in a familiar city where there is about 3.5 million less people, my own transportation, and home cooked meals but there will always be a piece of me left in that city. I didn’t only grow a year older in Australia but I grew as a person- gaining confidence, maturity, independence, and appreciation.
Since I’ve been home, the one question I keep getting is “what was your favorite part of the trip?” My answer every time is just as cheesy as it was the first time I said it but it’s genuine- the stars. The cool thing about being in the Southern Hemisphere is that the sky is completely different at night. There is no Big or Little Dipper, Orion’s Belt, or Northern Star; but there is the Southern Cross and most nights you can even see the Milky Way. The stars revealed to me that I am right where I should be, even though I doubted that for longer than I should have. The stars emphasized the giant step I took out of my comfort zone to travel solo many miles away from home. Most importantly, they reminded me not to take my time in Australia for granted. Because let me tell you- I’d do almost anything to see that clear night sky one more time.
Even if I didn’t come home with the attractive Aussie accent, I managed to pick up a few tips and tricks along my way and I decided to share the most important ones for any potential travelers. Or if you just want to see where I went wrong:
And finally, do absolutely anything and everything you can possibly do. I have no regrets from my time in Sydney. I have not looked back at one experience, adventure, or excursion and wished I wouldn’t have done it. I took my own advice from the start and lived by the words of my first assignment- “We know what things cost but have no idea what they are worth.” I saw the Great Barirer Reef, tasted wine in Hunter Valley, skydived over the coast of Wollongong, surfed the waves of 7 mile beach, bungee jumped in Queenstown, New Zealand, got a tattoo (sorry mom and dad), celebrated my 21st birthday, sat off the cliff of Clovelly Lookout, ate my body weight in gelato, and walked through the rainforest of Cairns. I’d say im pretty close to knowing what my time was worth, and it’s defiently more than just my credit card bill.
Sierra Kreft is a student at North Dakota State University and is blogging from her summer abroad with the Sydney Internship Program Summer in Sydney, Australia.