March 26, 2016
One of the first countries I traveled to by myself was Australia (2011). Although eager and excited, I found myself missing home. In addition, it was my first exposure of the work life in Australia, from learning to understand the public transit system to learning the Aussie culture.
The second time around to Australia was different, and it almost felt like home. I’m not sure what it was, but I’m glad things aligned themselves for me to return.
How did I end up for a return visit? I quit my job, and luckily, had another job lined up; I did not plan this. Also, I met a group of inspiring individuals while in Maui, who also loved traveling as much as me: International Tribe Design. I spent most of my time residing in Sydney, but I was able to explore some new spots, which included Byron Bay, Melbourne and Tasmania.
The first time I visited Sydney was through a study abroad internship experience. Other students from my school and I learned to navigate the public transportation system, Aussie culture, and much more. Sydney was not familiar for me, and I was surprised I felt homesick. This second time I visited, Sydney felt more like home, probably because I felt comfortable with my surroundings, and I knew where to explore.
My cousin introduced me to a high tea experience in Sydney, which reminded me a lot of when we were in Paris, drinking tea and eating small bites.
Sydney has many coastal walks, but I’ve never explored them when I traveled to Australia the first time. I decided to do the Bondi to Coogee Walk: a 6 km, cliff top, coastal walk with amazing view points. The walk began at Bondi Icebergs, an outdoor swimming pool overlooking Bondi Beach. The coastal walk had many stopping points, mainly beaches. My favorite beaches along the coast were Bronte Beach and Clovelly Beach. Bronte Beach was a small, scenic beach with two rock pools, one natural and another man-made.
Another coastal walk in Sydney is the Manly to Spit Bridge Scenic Walk, which is a 10 km walk consisting of bushland and scenic harbor-side trails.
Mark, one of my friends that I stayed in touch with during my study abroad internship experience, was offered a full-time position to work at the real estate company he interned at in 2011 after he graduated. He enjoys being involved with various events. His friends were members of the Australian Turf Club, and we were invited as guests to attend the Royal Randwick horse racing event. It was my first time attending, and I did not partake in gambling. However, other people from our group gambled and won some money.
I met the co-founders of International Tribe Design in Maui. In passing, I shared that I would be interested in attending one of their retreats in the near future. I did not expect to attend one so quickly, but things aligned for the perfect opportunity. My experience was emotional, but I did learn a lot about myself and other participants.
Some places I explored while staying in Byron Bay were the Cape Byron Bay Lighthouse, Mount Warning, the most easterly point of mainland Australia, Minyon Falls, and the Byron Bay Organic Farmers Market (Thursday’s from 8am-11am). The lighthouse is situated on the most easterly point of mainland Australia (Cape Byron). Mount Warning was a trail that led to a 360 view of Byron Bay! This was my first hike in Australia, solo: 9km; finished it in 3 hours as opposed to 5 hours. The last 200 meters require using the chain for assistance, but you don’t need it. The sunsets in Byron Bay were beautiful, and I was lucky to catch a few of them while here!
I have never experienced a hike that did not uplift me until this one. I recall crying the whole time our group was walking towards Minyon Falls , a 100 m waterfall with a swimming hole. In the end, I did not even take a dip at the waterfall. Looking back, I’m not sure if I would have done things differently because I realized when I feel cornered, I withdraw and cannot talk about the situation at the moment. People deal with things differently, and I believe in resolving things when I feel calm.
I started my trip in Melbourne driving along the Great Ocean Road, one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives; 243 kilometers. Probably one of the craziest things I’ve done in life is driving on the other side of the road by myself. I’m glad my first experience
The drive leads to Port Campbell, a seaside village with restaurants, cafes, views of beaches, shops, galleries, etc. There were also scenic stops besides the Twelve Apostles, such as the London Bridge, a bridge without a middle.
I told my friend, Jono, that I would be traveling to Australia again, exploring new areas; Melbourne was part of the itinerary. He offered to connect me with his mother while I was visiting. It was the first time I had friend who was introducing me to his family when technically we only met once. I was very touched by Jono’s gesture and accepted. Prior to meeting Bernadette, I was thinking to myself that essentially, I’m going in blind as far as meeting someone new, and this was my friend’s mother as well. Although nervous, I spent a great day with Bernadette. She showed me parts of Melbourne she loves, hoping that I will always remember Melbourne. This was the first city abroad, in which I felt like I was falling in love.
Our first stop was the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne. I learned that this area was very popular for marriage proposals. We took a ride on a gondola to reach the views of the Royal Botanic Gardens that could not be seen by foot.
Bernadette showed me different other gems of Melbourne such as the Shrine of Remembrance , not pictured above–commemorates the lives lost during the Great War of 1914-1918. This was probably one of my favorite architectural concept: “the design of the sanctuary accommodates a natural phenomenon that happens on the day of Remembrance each year. On the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour the sun shines through the oculi or ‘eye’ sited at the top of a ziggurat styled stepped roof over the main commemoration hall” (The Culture Concept Circle, 2016).
What is actually pictured above is Art Gallery of Greater Victoria – one of my favorite art museums in Melbourne, mainly because of the art installations.
Meeting Bernadette was a wonderful experience! I never knew I could have so much fun hanging out with someone else’s mother whom was not family. Bernadette shared with me her favorite restaurant, Ca de Vin – European ambiance in an open alleyway. We explored many museums, architectures, and we were not sure how to end our day in Melbourne. Wolf of the Willows was one of Justin’s, Jono’s twin brother, favorite breweries. Bernadette insisted that we come in! Wolf of the Willows is a brewery known for their hand-crafted, modern ales.
One of my friends shared with me an awesome restaurant to check out, The Stables of Como – elegant cafe with views of the Como House and Gardens in South Yarra.
On the way to the restaurant, my Uber driver offered to show me one of his favorite spots in Melbourne afterwards. Dax was my Uber driver, and he went out of his way to show me some of his favorite spots in Melbourne. He shared with me that he would train on the 1000 Steps Trail daily when he was active in competitive sports. 1000 Steps Trail was one of the most popular trails in the Dandenong Ranges, low mountain ranges at Mount Dandenong. It was rather strenuous due to the incline and the fact that you are walking straight up.
I was researching rooftop bars in Melbourne, mainly to kill time prior to a comedy show. During the time I visited Melbourne, it was also around the same time of their infamous Melbourne’s International Comedy Festival. Rooftop was one of the best rooftop bars in Melbourne. This bar was unique in the sense that it also hosts outdoor movie shows.
After the comedy show, I checked out a restaurant that Mark recommended to me! Apparently, Chin Chin is a rather popular fine-dining restaurant in Melbourne. I was not sure what to expect, but there was a wait upon entering. However, there were open seats in the bar area. When entering Chin Chin, there is also a bar located downstairs as well. Chin Chin focuses on southeast Asian cuisine (The Lucas Group, 2016). Benjamin Cooper is the executive chef (The Lucas Group, 2016). In addition, their wine list is curated by Philip Rich (The Lucas Group, 2016).
My friend, Mark, and I traveled to Tasmania, capital city of Tasmania and Australia’s second oldest capital in Australia, apart from Sydney (Discover Tasmania, 2017), together. We stayed at Hotel Grand Chancellor – one of Hobart’s largest hotels with a waterfront view. This photograph was taken along the way to Port Arthur. Port Arthur is a small town and was a former convict settlement area (Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority, 2017). Mark shared with me that the history of Port Arthur is still rather sensitive so he advised me to be aware of what I say. The massacre occurred April 28-29 1996, where 35 people were killed and 23 were wounded (Matthew Grimson, 2016). After exploring Port Arthur, we learned about Tasman National Park from one of the staff members at Port Arthur.
While in Tasmania, we checked out the Tasmanian Devil Unzoo is the world’s first intentional Unzoo—a revolutionary project to create a model wildlife and nature experience of the future” (Tasmanian Devil Unzoo, 2015). I learned from a staff member that how the Tasmanian Devil got its name was mainly due to their eyes. Their eyes glow at night, and people at the time would mistake their eyes of signs of the devil. Tasmanian Devils are currently an endangered species due to Devil Facial Tumor Disease.
Afterwards, we hiked in Tasman National Park – known for its sea cliffs and rock formations; perfect view of the coast.
ATTENTION HIKERS: Three Cape’s Track is a new trail at Tasman National Park as of 2016. For more information on this hiking trail, check out this website.
After learning that I was also traveling to Tasmania, Jono connected me with his twin brother, Justin. Justin introduced us to his girlfriend and his friends. In addition, he provided recommendations on where to explore in Hobart and Tasmania in general. Some of his recommendations included Salamanca Market – iconic, weekly outdoor market that opens on Saturdays. Other recommendations are pictured below.
This was my favorite art installation at the MONA.
Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens – one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world
I took this photograph because I was drawn to the unique structure of the water fountain. The stranger in the photograph was also captivated, hence him drawing the fountain.
Mark and I spent our last day in Tasmania with each other and then ending the day with Justin and Caitlin.
My father always taught me to constantly strive to learn more. He told me that in all aspects of my life, I should always be learning and growing from the experience. Once I stop learning or growing, I need to either find new inspiration again or change my perspective. I think that is why my father always loved entrepreneurship. He was able to start multiple projects if one project became stagnant. In many ways, I still take my father’s advice even when he is not here anymore, which is why I quit my job. I learned from my experience that sometimes you need to be uncomfortable in order to push yourself to strive for new and better opportunities.