To fully explain, allow me to go back a year, to early 2015, when I received an email from an old friend looking for someone to go along to Costa Rica with her. She had won a trip for two with a tour group called Contiki, and her original companion had to cancel on her. I've always enjoyed traveling and usually feel like I'm not doing enough of it, so before I could think up any reasons not to go, I replied that yes, I was interested. The best and worst things I do almost always begin with an impulsive decision.
Come April, we went down to San Jose, and met up with the rest of the group. I had no idea what to expect. I can tell you now, it was an amazing trip, so much fun, lots of adventures (white water rafting, repelling down a waterfall, staying in a pimped-out tent in the rain forest and waking up to the sound of a tree crashing down somewhere nearby), great people, and eye opening for me.
The full trip was 12 days, but I didn't feel like I could take more than a week off of work at a time (it's discouraged though not outright banned), so I only went from Saturday to Saturday. Leaving was incredibly hard, up at dawn and into a jeep back to San Jose, knowing the rest of the group, now friends, would be going zip-lining later that day and then moving on to Manuel Antonio, the beautiful beach town, continuing to have lots of fun without me. And when I got back to work, catching up from my week away wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be, making it feel all the worse that I hurried back. Some of the people I'd met on my trip were either using all of their vacation time to do this trip, or putting themselves in debt; others were in one part of longer trips that they had taken time off from everything else to do, just travel around while young and free enough to really enjoy it. It was inspiring to me, and made me wonder why I was dedicating myself so fully to a job that wasn't paying off in many ways, while the years when I could also be young and free enough to go anywhere were swiftly passing by.
It didn't take very long after I got back home for this idea to start formulating in my mind.
The top of my travel list for a long time has been Australia, and following the Lord of the Rings movies, New Zealand as well. But since it takes so long just to get there, you have to dedicate serious time to going. I could wait another 3 years until I qualified for a month long sabbatical, but who knows where I will be in my life in 3 years, if I would still be at this job, if I would have people in my life counting on me to be here, etc. Part of the idea was to stop waiting, not to let myself get complacent again and let time go by without actually doing anything.
Over the course of the summer my plans began to gel. An Australian Visa is good for 3 months at a time, which helped to give me a time frame. And I decided I wanted to do some more Contiki tours, as the first one was so much fun, so their dates gave the trip more shape.
So here it is, my finalized trip:
2 weeks on New Zealand's North island, touring from Auckland down to Wellington with @nitabasu including a visit to Hobbiton
1 week in Melbourne hanging out with my awesome cousins, @gracey3000 and @fredsiggins
2.5 weeks in West Australia touring all over, and very importantly, seeing Quokkas
5 days getting certified in Scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef off of Cairns
2 weeks touring down from Cairns to Sydney, including surf lessons
4 days in Bali
3 days in LA to see some old friends on my way back home
I'll be blogging and posting pictures as I go, so stay tuned for more updates and accounts of my amazing adventure!