I had two distinctly differing experiences in Australia:
2. Being an occasionally-unemployed, financial candidate struggling to survive and obtain a work visa.
In Summer 2010 (Winter in the Southern Hemisphere), I visited my friends in Melbourne and Sydney for a terrific, two-week vacation while teaching English in South Korea.
The Melbourne boasted a unique Central Business District with quirky alleys and arcades filled with shops, restaurants, and cafes. Coming from a congested, South Korean metropolis, Melbourne offered a literal “breath of fresh air” with its suburban cityscape.
In addition, Melbourne is surrounded by amazing stretches of natural beauty. I was entranced as we journeyed on the Great Ocean Road experiencing the spectacular sights that surrounded us – the endless stretches of ocean tickling the beaches of Victoria, the gorgeous mountains that graced the coast, and the refreshing winds that traveled from faraway lands. It was exactly where I wanted to and needed to be.
On a funnier note, I struggled with a few cultural differences: my failure to remember which direction to look while crossing the road created a few near-misses as a pedestrian, and their accent consistently threw me off. But it was all in good fun. A week later, I flew to Sydney to stay with another friend.
Sydney buzzed with life. I loved the excitement of the city and enjoyed the many landmarks. Those in Australia often mention that Melbourne is more “cultural” than Sydney – while I do agree, I would use the word “unique” rather than “cultural”. Sydney represents your typical Alpha World City as a diverse, population-dense financial center, and is also the most iconic city in the Southern Hemisphere (I would argue).
I had a wonderful time in Sydney, exploring its different parts, meeting locals, and traveling to different places, near and far.
My second journey to Australia posed an entirely separate adventure. I detailed my saga in another blog post: “Dreams Matter – How I Discovered Life in Just Four Months” – that pretty much says it all.
The generosity I received in Australia profoundly touched me. From Victoria to New South Wales, I received a warmth and love that I’m truly thankful for.
Some of the best photos I took in Australia: