While my life at this very moment might not be jam-packed with backpacking adventures and sight-seeing tours – there’s plenty on the horizon to be excited about. Just to whet your appetite (and remind me why I sit here and answer phones all day) – here’s what is on the horizon for me.
A late night visit to the annual Sydney Noodle Markets that overtake historic Hyde Park and turn it into an Asian street market.
A day trip out to the breath-taking Blue Mountains west of Sydney. With Fallon’s friend Adam in from the United States, we’ll be doing a little hiking, riding the trains and cable cars at Scenic World, and maybe browsing some of Leura’s boutique stores.
We’re heading down to the south coast to take a two day surfing course with Adam. I’m ashamed to say that I’ve lived in Australia for 25 of my 27 years and I’ve never even attempted to catch a good break.
December 17th – New Zealand
This is one I’m really excited about. With Fallon and I going our separate ways in early January, we decided the best way to go out was to go out with a bang. Our ‘farewell tour’ will take us on a whirlwind eleven day circuit around some of New Zealand’s most beautiful sites.
Just to rattle off a few of our destinations:
– A day hike up Franz Josef Glacier
– Kayaking on Milford Sound
– A day of black water rafting in Waitomo
– Zorbing in Rotarua
– A zipline canyon tour near Christchurch
– Backpacking around Christchurch, Queenstown, and Auckland
December 29th – Fiji
As if that wasn’t enough, Fallon and I will be ringing in the New Year on Robinson Crusoe Island in Fiji. While a zipline tour and a little scuba on Fiji’s soft coral reefs is on the agenda, the order of the day will be a little R&R after what will have been a hectic itinerary in the Land of the Long White Cloud.
Fallon and I say our goodbyes on January 2nd as she flies back to the United States, but I’ve got a tour of my own to keep my mind occupied. Five days at Mango Bay Resort in the island’s south will give me plenty of chances to sip cocktails, do a little snorkeling, and meet new friends – and I’ll be being joined by my mate Grant; my brothers Dominik and Leigh; and Dominik’s girlfriend Bronte to ensure we have a full fledged posse.
After Mango Bay it’s across to notorious party site, Manta Ray Bay, for three nights of drinking, dancing, and harassing manta rays.
To unwind before the inevitable return home, we’re also having three cruisy nights at Waya Lailai Eco Resort. With little else to do but sleep, sunbathe, and swim – we’ll be well rested when we return to the mainland for one last night at Smuggler’s Cove before our flight back to civilization.
March 2011 – South Korea
As if all of the above excitement wasn’t enough, my third tenure as an ESL teacher in South Korea beckons. I actually just got off of the phone with a potential school who cold called me after seeing my resume on Dave’s ESL Cafe. They wanted me for a December start, but I’m hoping they can push it back to mid January or later so that I can jump on it.
While a lot of my friends ask me ‘Why do you want to go back to a place you’ve already lived if you want to travel?’, there is some method to my madness.
Primary amongst these is that Korea is a terrific place to save money. While the average monthly salary of around $2000 to $2500 Australian might not seem like much – the perks of not having to pay for accommodation and enjoying a very cheap lifestyle thanks to low Korean food and booze pricing are a big attraction.
On top of that there’s two weeks paid vacation and the close proximity to north and south-east Asia. As it stands I’m looking at taking a week to sun myself in the Philippines at some point, and then daring to be different by heading to Mongolia or eastern Russia. I hear Vladivostok is lovely.
Then there’s also the possibility of a weekend ski trip in Japan, a quick trip over to China for some sight seeing over Chuseok, and the many places in Korea I left unexplored due to my general laziness and a worrying addiction to World of WarCraft.
I’ve got no plans to call a halt to this travel thing any time soon. Once I finish up my next contract in South Korea, I’m giving some very serious thought to getting my CELTA accreditation so I can open up the Middle East and Europe for me as a teaching destination. The CELTA program is offered in a variety of locations, but on Fallon’s recommendation I am taking a long hard look at Chiang Mai in Thailand. For the same price I’d pay for just the course in Sydney, I get my accommodation and food for the entire month.
My free time might be at a premium while I study for the intense course, but there’s nothing to stop me back-packing around Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam after I’m done. Nothing, of course, except for my inability to save money or budget. I must work on that.
Exciting times lie ahead.