It’s 10pm in Sydney right now, and it’s been about 20 hours since I came back from Melbourne. I thought I might find the inspiration in this cold and write about what’s been going on in the past 4 days because frankly, it’s been amazing. I’m still alive, sorta, even though I’ve been subdued by cold, rain, fear, and being alone in a foreign land.
I’ve travelled alone to Australia so many times, but it is probably accurate to say that the past 4 days have been by far the most amazing. I decided to fly to Australia to experience the Autumn for the first time, and also to get away from the hectic and daily routines of military life in Singapore. And to be honest, this trip wasn’t planned – just as it was for the past 2308231 trips.
[It wasn’t dark enough so I continued at 1.15am]
Right, so I thought I might write a collective post on all that’s been going on in the past 4 days. Actually, 3 days ago.
Anyway, here it is: 3 days ago (Saturday) I left Sydney for Adelaide. Took the first plane out on that day because I realize just how comfortable things have been. To be out of home, and into a foreign land with people you already know and places you’ve already been to, I mean, is that even something new?
So I bought the ticket out with no return ticket in mind. As soon as I arrived, I made my way to the city to have lunch with 2 of my friends from Singapore. We spent a bit of time catching up, and soon after we parted ways. It is probably good to mention here that my phone ran out of credit, so I had no communications with anyone, and I was unwilling to top it up. I mean, it really is quite refreshing to be out there without reception or anyone to bother you.
It was 4pm, I had no accommodation, no idea on where the buses and trains will take me, and it was getting dark. And it was starting to rain. So I took a peek at my friend’s GPS before we parted and I left to search for shelter that night. And.. I got lost. I needed to settle in for the night and there was no use being concerned with anything aside from that.
To be accurate, I was 2 streets off (the roads weren’t properly reflected in the map). It was 5~6pm and it was raining and the cold was getting to my fragile body. Eventually I ran into an English guy. At first I thought he was going to mug me – you know how they are. Coated, hands in their sweaters, beanie to cover his head, with facial hair properly designed to make it look deliberately unkempt. At that moment I thought it would be wise to pretend to be brave and talk to him to show that I wasn’t frightened of him, so I did.
Turns out he got lost too (really weird) and he was looking for the same place I was. Eventually, we walked a few blocks back and we found the place. We settled into the backpacker’s inn, and I took a bit of time to walk around and explore the place. It was amazing. A room for internet, wifi throughout the whole unit, balconies on the second floor facing the city, an asian woman that was willing to cook dinner for us, a nice couch/tv area, and really really fun backpackers. There were people who have been travelling for weeks, people who were on their own and looking to settle in, people who were living there, and people who were like me – lost, stranded and skinny.
There was a couple (I was sharing the room with the boyfriend) who invited me to barbeque with them. So I went down with them in casual shoes and sweat pants (I didn’t have slippers). They laughed at me a bit, laughed a bit more at jokes that were being made and eventually everyone got along and we had a great time. Plus the shops were all already closed so the free food was amazingly timely. There were about 4 buildings for accommodation at that area, so there were a lot of people. It was actually lovely, and then it occurred to me for the first time how there were many people there who were also alone and were having a great time with strangers they’d never meet again.
That was when I decided that I ought to make plans for the next day. I fired up my laptop and I think, for a good 3 hours, I sat there contemplating on whether I should bus down to Melbourne and then to Sydney, or take a plan back the day after tomorrow. It took a bit of consideration, and after a while I decided on taking the bus. So I booked my tickets, got it printed, and packed my things for the next day. It was 1am and I had to be at the station by 7am the following day. I turned in as soon as I was packed, and I believe the last time I experienced a night like that was my first day of enlistment.