Author – Arjun Chitakodige Shivashankar
Travelling to Australia or some other place may be just a travel to someone, but for me, this travel was an life-altering experience. I was probably hating myself before this journey and I was fed up with my daily boring life. Born in a small town called Shimoga, I didn’t think that one day I will be travelling around the world. When I stared my journey in early February 2016, I was like a hungry lion waiting to conquer the world.
The Counting Stars song by OneRepublic always reminds me of that…
“Old but I’m not that old
Young but I’m not that bold
And I don’t think the world is sold
I’m just doing what we’re told”
It was an amazing feeling to land in Sydney… the place, the people and the weather… I could feel the energy emanating from the city. As I reached there, I felt a strange kind of a positive vibe within myself. I didn’t know what to do and where to go, but as I began my journey everything went in a flow, as though it was planned before and I am just executing it!
Sydney is so vast that you need at least 4 days to see and cover all the places across the city. I stayed in place named Bondi Junction with an amazing family led by Ben, who warmly welcomed me and gave a royal hospitality. The family ensured a superb road trip, along with yummy home food and an insightful exchange of thoughts on religion, culture and people, which I will remember for my lifetime.
I had landed in Sydney during summer, which enabled me to do a lot of things, since days were long and nights were short. I was advised to take the Metro to see the place around the city. The best places to walk along are: the Darling Harbour, Sydney Harbour Bridge, the museum, Taronga Zoo and the famous Opera House. Further, a day trip in a ferry to the nearby island and Manly beach, and a tram ride to the central station and the Saturday open market are a must. I preferred to travel along with backpackers so as to get the best tour deals as they have good knowledge on discounts. Here are the places that you should not miss in Sydney:
The beautiful Bondi Beach is a great location for sea surfing and chilling by the beach side. If you haven’t try surfing before, here is a good place to try. You could also just sit on the big rocks and watch the waves and the surfers trying to conquer waves. I took a 20-minute walk from Bondi Junction to Bondi Beach for about 3.5 Km, which felt amazing.
Blue Mountains National Park is another beautiful nature spot situated away from the city. Covered by the Blue Mountains range, it is a popular destination for rock climbers, mountain hikers, canyoning and other adventure sports. Travellers can take a train or bus to the place and stay there for a day and return. The visit to the waterfall and the ropeway experience are unforgettable!
Soon it was time to say goodbye to Sydney, which was quite difficult because of my beautiful experience. I had experienced the power of waves, the beauty of mountains, the simplicity of people and joy of sharing. Sydney taught me a lesson in helping others without any selfishness, which gives us more joy. Walking alone and suddenly someone asking for free hugs will make you feel you are not stranger to this city. When you are lost in the streets struggling with a map in hand, it is heartening to find someone smiling at and helping out to guide the path.
Whitsunday Islands was my next destination, which lie midway along Australia’s Queensland coast and are bordered by the Great Barrier Reef. Surrounded by mountains, blue waters and cockatoos, this place is truly a paradise and I was in love with it at first sight. It’s always advantage for travellers to stay with fellow backpackers as it is affordable, cheap and best place to meet other travellers.
Staying at the Airlie Beach in Whitsunday Islands is good option, since in the morning you can go for sailing trips, and you can come back in the evening to relax at the lagoon and listen to some live music. This place is surrounded by numerous islands and picturesque beaches. Whitehaven beach, Hamilton Island and the outer barrier reef are the most prominent ones. Travellers can opt for sailing trips, scuba diving and skydiving. Obviously the best season to visit this place is summer when you can just lie down and enjoy doing nothing.
I must say that I conquered my fear of heights and fear of swimming during this trip. I courageously did skydiving from the height of 14,000 feet and did scuba diving in the ocean. It was an amazing experience when I jumped for the first time and felt the fear inside me, but as I adjusted to that I began feeling like I am flying in the sky like a bird. Similarly, when dived deep inside the ocean, I felt so calm and peaceful inside me, where I was able hear my own heartbeat and every single breath feels like I am fish.
Law of attraction
I would like to share some thing about the “Law of attraction”, which my friend Elin from Germany told me about. This new philosophy states that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts, we can bring positive or negative experiences into our life. This means you meet only those people who are like you in your life and I found it is very much true. I experienced this in Airlie beach, where there are lot of people in my hostel but only a few liked to hang around with me. I met so many people in this journey, but only with few I made friendship, which is because of the law of attraction!
I have met some amazing people in this journey, who are beautiful from deep within their heart. They have a lot of love and compassion towards others who are required in this world. Ben and Family, the people I stayed with, Elin, my first ever friend in Australia, Alberto, the cool and smart guy from Spain, Gaby and Austin, my US friends, Inga, 19-year young traveller, Marcel Rodrigues, My Brazilian friend and Mirko, my Good friend from Germany.
Before doing this trip I wanted to run away from my problems, but this journey helped me to realize that problem is not outside, it is within me, where ever I go, it will follow me. This was just not a journey to see places, but also to realise who we are. So now instead of running away, I am facing and conquering my fears and problems. I realised that a journey is always both outward and inward; it is about seeing new places, knowing new people and also knowing ourselves.
Image sources –