Jan 9, 2015

The One Where Whit Almost Accidentally Moved to Australia

HGK. Haziest place on Earth.

HGK. Haziest place on Earth.

In this lifetime, I’ve touched down on 5 out of 7 continents and let 3 out of 5 oceans lap against my toes. Traveling is my happy place, despite my intense hatred of security checkpoints and liquid limitations. Landing in Hong Kong en route to Sydney was surreal. I really didn’t know what to expect. I will say, the girls are hella fashionable, the guys are super slim and trendy, and my technology envy was at an all time high. They have a gadget for everything. Incredible.

Sunset in Hong Kong

Sunset in Hong Kong

My time in Australia was pretty transcendent. I have never met such a lovely group of sun-kissed, outdoorsy, champagne and beer sipping, fun-loving people. And to top it all off, they’re my family. I haven’t been very close to my grandfather’s side of the family. Just a few familiar people amongst a wide collection of names and faces with a shared last name. I was always particularly intrigued by the branch of our tree that found itself in Australia, oceans away from home.

Soooo...I'm not sure, but I think one of my cousins slept in that contraption.  In the rain. Gangster.

Soooo…I’m not sure, but I think one of my cousins slept in that contraption. In the rain. Gangster.

I was never a Christmas fanatic; in NYC I didn’t visit the ginormous tree or chase the world renowned plummeting New Years Eve ball. But, spending the 2014 holiday season in the middle of the desert did not appeal to me at all. I didn’t want to be alone while everyone I love was together elsewhere. I had been pushing to keep my head above waves of homesickness and loneliness and I needed to be around family, even if it was family I only knew from afar. This trip helped. The time I spent with my hands cupped around a homemade latte, laughing on kitchen stools, and basking in sunlight on a quiet trampoline helped. Cackling at inane Aussie tv shows with my cousin while swaddled in her bed helped. Exploring a new city on my terms helped.

Sunrise at the Stafford home. Studies have shown that lattes taste better when they're made with love and are accompanied by this view.

Sunrise at the Stafford home. Lattes taste better when they’re made with love and are accompanied by this view.

Norah Head Lighthouse.  I had never seen a lighthouse in person. Surreal.

Norah Head Lighthouse. I had never seen one in person. I suddenly wanted to be in a rom-com.

Big hair. Big boobs. Dimple. Gap. No wonder that Asian lady tried to sneak a shot.

“Big hair. Big boobs. Dimple. Gap. No wonder that Asian lady tried to sneak a pic.” -huny

Sydney Opera House. Ominous filter.

Sydney Opera House. Ominous filter.

Didgeridoos. Totally gonna start a band.

Dope ass Didgeridoos. Totally gonna start a band.

Bondi Beach. Surfers. Tattoo studios. And butt cheeks aplenty.

Bondi Beach. Surfers. Tattoo studios. And butt cheeks aplenty.

Yes, those are balls. Don't feel bad. Kangaroos are rude.

Yes, those are balls. Don’t feel bad. Kangaroos are rude.

Sydney Opera House from the Royal Botanic Gardens. Dodged about a million sweaty joggers for this shot.

Sydney Opera House from the Royal Botanic Gardens. Dodged about a million sweaty joggers for this shot.

Needless to say, Min loves Oz. I mean, I was plotting a second trip before I even finished the first one. Which reminds me, I promised to tell the quick tale of how I almost moved to Australia by accident. It started out innocently enough: a group of friends and small army of champagne bottles.

Enablers and their victim.

The enablers and their unsuspecting victim.

The bubbly culprits.

The bubbly culprits. {photo cred: @lexlutherjnr}

I’m still not 100% sure what happened after the countdown, but there is photo and video evidence that confirms that I enjoyed myself. And, Beyoncé was my soundtrack. I lifted my head from the pillow an hour after I was scheduled to be at the airport. My cousin, dazed and amused, was on her phone graciously allowing my aunt to give her the best I Told You So speech of all time. No better way to start 2015.

Cousins. Shower singers. Professional loungers. Lifestyle twinsies.

Cousins. Shower singers. Professional loungers. Lifestyle twinsies.

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