Packing up my bags, loading them on a plane and hopping off to a distant land is something I’ve been doing for some time now. Every journey widens my views of cultures, peoples and places – never failing to amaze me, filling me with a sense of gratefulness and humility regarding our basic experience of being alive.
Even though I was planning to visit Australia (Sydney specifically) for quite some time I finally managed to save up some and buy a ticket for my long-desired visit to the Land Down Under. However, the distance and apparently isolated nature of the continent have proven enough for even a seasoned traveler like myself to fall short in their preparation for this trip. In order for others to have a more comfortable journey to this great land – I will list five things that could have definitely made my trip to Sydney even more enjoyable.
Don’t over pack
I’m referring to clothing here. Depending on the time of year you are visiting Sydney can vary from asphalt-melting hot to mildly cold falls. The latter only lasts during the winter though. My mistake was that I’ve clearly over packed for this one. Jackets, long jeans, hoodies, warm footwear and other clothing items intended to keep you warm are completely redundant.
Sweating under the hot Sydney sun is not an activity I would recommend to most people. If you are in fact visiting during the hotter time of the year, which is opposite to yours if you are living on the Northern Hemisphere, bring your favorite beach outfit and enjoy the beautiful beaches Australia has to offer. With that in mind don’t make the same mistake I did, your back and your in-flight luggage capacity will be grateful.
Visit the landscapes/landmarks
There is a reason Sydney is visited by over 10 million tourists each year. One of the reasons this happens is due to the astonishing feats of both architecture and landscaping. The city is filled with lush parks, offering forgetfulness towards the urban hustle and bustle. I’ve never felt such a blend of both worlds like I did in Sydney. With that said, I wish I have planned my routes ahead of time because there is just so much to see.
The Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House and The Queen Victoria Building were just one of the places I’ve gone to. Art galleries, street shows, markets for goods of various sorts are spread all across the city and they are mostly free to enjoy while being moderately priced. My pocket was left unscathed mostly from this experience, but I could have definitely bought a lot more cool stuff if I was prepared to unload my bank.
Polish your verbal skills
Aussies are a very outgoing and talkative bunch. You won’t find many other cultures in the world that have such a standard of openness and acceptance towards others. Of course, I knew this ahead of time so it wasn’t such a problem for me in terms of fitting into their way of conversing – but other factors had me blind sighted.
The fact is that Aussies tend to talk quite fast and if you are not familiar with their accents this can prove to be quite troublesome, especially if you are not a native English speaker. Take an English class focusing on speech, preferably with an Australian teacher if you can find one. I would have avoided some quite cringe situations if I had done this ahead of time. I remember one guy was asking me for a certain street number and I was looking at him like he was speaking in some unintelligible language – quite embarrassing for me (consider I didn’t speak good English for most of my adult life).
Protect your skin
This one got me the most. I’m quite pale and I get sunburnt REALLY easily. I was expecting a standard summer sun, but this one could light up an Inferno. Truly a scary sight when the rays get rollin’. I’ve prepared my thickest sunscreen and pitch black sunglasses, but it wasn’t enough. Hats, very very light makeup and flip-flops are a must.
I truly admire Australian women that manage to be fashionable in such an unforgiving climate when it comes to making yourself look pretty. Makeup melts, hair products wither away and any fashionable clothing that conceals more than your torso will just burn. You are coming to Australia – dress like one.
My journey to Sydney was a trip to remember for sure. I haven’t had such a memorable experience in a while. The people, food, sights and interactions I’ve had were unique and truly unavailable anywhere else in the world. It is strange how a country so young can be filled with so much history and character. Many feel like the journey isn’t worth it because of the distance but I can say from my experience that I would travel twice as more to see this beautiful country and city once again.Published in