The girl in front of me on the flight to Sydney leans forward and taps the women in front of her… “Excuse me miss, I think my friend kicked her thong under your seat, can you check for us?”
My ears inevitably perked up, and I looked around to see if anyone else was as easily excited.
The woman reaches down and pulls the flip-flop from under her seat and hands it back to the girls.
Disappoint sinks in, as does the realization that I’ve arrived in Australia.
Despite the slight verbiage differential, this is my first English-speaking “Tourist 2 Townie” mission and the first time I’ve had local friends already on location. You take for granted how important this is when arriving in a new place.
Thanks to these factors, I was able to hit the ground running!
I made it a point to arrive while there was still some summer left, and I’m so happy I did.
After only two weeks in town, it’s safe to say that Sydney is quickly becoming one of my favorite cities in the world.
I know it’s a bold statement, but to me there’s nothing better than a big metropolis combined with a seaside lifestyle (i.e. Rio, Istanbul, Barcelona, Chicago in the summer).
By American standards, Sydney is like a mix between San Francisco and San Diego. It has a strong Asian influence (really good food), a great surf culture and an abundance of green space. On top of that, it’s clean, safe and super friendly.
As for intro activities, I explored the beaches, attended the Australia Open of Surfing, went to my first Aussie Rugby match, watched a movie in the park, and marched in the famously gay Mardi Gras parade. Here are a few pics…
Cool customer with the best view of Manly Beach and the 2016 Australia Open of Surfing.
The dark and dramatic sky over my first Super Rugby match between the hometown Waratahs and the Queensland Reds. The crowd was a lot quieter than at an American Football game, especially for this rival match-up, but it was great to learn the rules and customs from local friends.
The city of Sydney does an amazing job of putting on events and festivals throughout the summer, and one of the coolest is the Moonlight Cinema in Centennial Park. You can bring in your own food and drinks and rent bean bags right there.
Mardi Gras in Sydney might be one of the craziest things I’ve ever done. It’s a giant parade through downtown Sydney in celebration of all types of love! I had the opportunity to dress up and parade with the GLAAD organization in front of thousands and thousands of spectators.
Stay tuned for the first episode of “Travel Deeper Australia” where I’ll share more visuals and tell this wild story and in much greater detail.
If my first few weeks in Sydney is any indication of how this trip will pan out, than I’m in for a great few months ahead!
In the meantime, I’m kind of addicted to SnapChat at the moment, so if you want to follow along -> @GarethChat