! My friend Dave even convinced me to ditch my 500ml favourite shampoo that can't be bought on the supermarket shelf, he was right though and I begrudgingly tossed it in to the cull pile.
Bronte has become my home away from home, a peaceful sanctuary where I can relax & chill with an awesome crew of people. I love the vibe, the people, the beach, the sweet smell of salt air, walking along the sandy shores & cliffs (& of course the Blu Ducks Cafe)! Even the wildlife are friendly here! Once I climbed an ancient sea side tree, nestled into the fork of the tree & sat like a yogi for an hour. While in meditation and in a state of bliss a cockateil decided to come and land on my head!!! This trip to Bronte however was not so chilled….I was about to leave the country and I was starting to get nervous. WIth two days left in Sydney I spent one hectic day at the beloved Bondi Junction organising a travel card, unlocking my Internet stick, replacing my iphone & apple charger and a visit to the Kathmandu store meant I finally would have an organised bag. Soon enough through I was relaxing in the Bronte pad feeling organised and ready to say goodbye to Oz. Later that night Chriso cooked up an absolute storm for Jules, Grant, Dave, Dan and I. The following night I felt like I had stepped onto the set of 'A Country Practice' eating my last dinner at none other than the Bronte RSL
! Dave rocked out in his flano and he had bangas and mash. I couldn't quite go that Aussie so I opted for garlic prawns instead. Put twenty in the pokies for good luck, paid nothing. I thought that was just un-Australian!!!
Wednesday had finally arrived and it was time to head to the airport. Mum & Dad were so cute they insisted on driving 5 hours to farewell me from the airport, although I was busy organising a few things on the phone before I left the country and didn't get to talk to them a lot it was still nice to have them there to say goodbye. Mum & I queued to 'check in' my bags and as we approached the counter the lady looked at me with her pursed lips and blank expression. "You'll need to either fit that in your bag" pointing to my sleeping bag, "or put it in that" pointing to some clear large bags to the right of the counter. Not wanting to have to go to the back of the line I unzipped the back section of my bag and tried to squash the sleeping bag flat while trying to zip the bag shut. I became aware of the rather impatient airport 'checkin' lady and the ever growing line behind me. Suddenly I became like one of those irrational people from a reality TV show, I don't quiet know what came over me as I raised my voice and said 'Mum can you help a little here…mum you just zip it…Judy just zip it!!! A few minutes later we had success, I apologised to Mum and we walked away laughing. We met Dad in the bookstore where he pulled out a present and said in a very cheesey 'Dad-like' fashion - 'Tada'! "Oh a compass" I say, unsure of how to accept this useless device in a modern world of GPS & google maps I remain frozen with shock unsure what next to say…. until my brain stops and the words flow out "you know Dad, thanks for the thought but I'm really not going to need a compass I know you guys want to give me something but I really don't have the room"
. I continue to look around the bookstore when they say "ok well let us buy you a book for your travels". I thought this sounded like a good idea and told Dad that I really wanted to buy a lonely planet book. He finds the travel section and comes back with two of the same book 'Europe on a Shoestring' , hands me one of the books, and looks at the one his holding and says "yea this looks really good, I'll buy one for me too and that way I can read about the places your visiting and find you on the map". Ok now my Dad is computer savvy but you really wouldn't think it now, it was time to pull out Captain Obvious…."Dad you have the Internet, follow me on that". I could see his logic though. I ended up deciding that after I had already ditched one five inch book that I didn't need another. I opted for Nelson Mandela's 'conversations with myself', a book I'de been wanting to read for a while. When we finally finished in the bookstore I sat down and made a few phone calls while mum filled in my customs form & Dad went and bought me some lunch. Dad arrived soon after and handed me a my first lot of pounds & some lunch. Finally I started to feel a little relaxed, bags checked in, phone calls sorted and I have some pounds. As I started to eat a very unappetising salad my Dad proceeded to take happy snaps at every opportunity, "Nez hold up the pounds- smile". It was the first time in my life that I had to say "Dad really..can you stop taking photos". With lunch down the hatch it was then time to head to the departure gate, a few tears from Mum & a few final snaps from Dad and I was up, up and away! I wasn't sad, I was ecstatic, a little nervous of course, my big adventure had finally begun. I was about to leave Australia for the first time EVER & I knew I was about to have a fun filled wild adventure!!!
Having said goodbye to everyone in Wagga I was now ready to head to Sydney to chill before the big flight ahead. I was lucky enough to grab a lift with the Lindners who were driving Pip (the youngest of the Lindner clan) to Sydney before she boarded her American bound plane. The trip went really quickly and Pip and I shared lots of travel plans and spoke of meeting up in Europe at some point. As we arrived at my destination I jumped out of the car full of beans to throw on the pack, I was ready & rearing to be 'THE BACKPACKER'! A few meters, a hill & a flight of stairs later I realised I needed to ditch more 'stuff', I unzipped my pack & found a mass of cords trying to escape my bag…hmm not only did I need to ditch the extra pack of hand wipes, two extra toothbrushes, the sun lotion, the five inch think novel, & the plastic bag filled with an assortment of old magazines that I had been meaning to read for the last 3 months… I also needed to organise my bag so I didn't feel like my things were trying to throw me a surprise party everytime I needed to open it