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Breaking News: Water fell from the sky today (editor’s note: this was actually true when I started writing this post… two uh weeks… ago… ). Impossible, you say? Neigh, it is indeed quite possible, for that is the horror I am currently subjected to!

I’m sitting here inside trying to remember the last day I didn’t have to apply sunscreen *Nam flashbacks to the 22-hour flight*

*shudder*

Ya it’s been a while. I can see why fires are a constant concern here. I think we’ve had non-sunny skies maybe a handful of times in the past 7 weeks. It’s actually a nice change to be honest; when it’s sunny and hot everyday you almost feel obligated to spend the whole day on the beach. Being inside for any length of time, regardless of the work you could be doing, seems almost… disrespectful. Yes, it’s a dirty job–

*checks weather in Canada*

-45 in Alberta, freezing rain and power outages in Toronto

Well… Shit.

I think I’ll just move on…

Upon leaving Noosa, Cam and I started to realize we may have made a mistake in our selection of cell phone service providers. Hint: avoid Vodafone. I literally went 3 weeks without signal!

Our first stop post-Noosa was the teeny signal-less town of Rainbow Beach, the access point to our Fraser Island tour. While on the beach the one day there we were relaxing in the sun when a car attempted to drive along the off-road beach trail. Of course when I say “attempted” I mean, “bro got stuuuck”.

Watching the car fruitlessly spin its tires for a minute was painful enough to convince us to go over and help. With a bit of effort, the group of guys that had gathered to help managed to get the car back onto the road – at which point the old couple driving took off like a bat out of hell without a thank you or anything. I’m fairly certain we helped a couple of geriatric bank-robbers escape.

Fraser Island is one of two things the majority of people traveling Australia’s East coast do, and was our first major excursion. Three days and two nights driving 4x4s around the largest sand island in the world, surrounded by shark – infested waters, off-road trails, water-crossings, and, of course, dingos. Oh, and we were driving. And the vehicles had manual transmissions. And, and neither of us have ever driven manual. What could go wrong?!

Surprisingly, the answer to that is, not much, apparently. Cam and I both managed to do quite well our first time driving. Must be some inherent man thing. Either that or we’re just a couple of prime samples of the human race. Probably both.

Anyway, there were 8 of us in the truck, sharing the driving and a supply of food. Hilariously the team name demanded by one of the German girls was “Team Western”. I still don’t think she understands why Cam and I found that so funny. Actually, come to think of it, that language-barrier induced misunderstanding might help explain why she seemed to hate us so much. And by us, I mean me. 😥

Seriously, who could possibly hate me? I mean, Cam? Sure, why not; he’s just awful. But little ol’ me? I’m so full of delightful and inoffensive jokes and good cheer! Madness!

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Somewhere in this picture of Team Western is a DD-hater. Like the mythical Big Foot, there really is such a thing.

The trip itself was awesome, full of some really neat scenery and shenanigans. Here are some of the highlights:
– everyone’s continuous search for dingos
“What was that? I totally saw something move up in the trees!”
“Umm dingos don’t climb trees, dude.”
“Dammit Dave, why you gotta ruin my dreams?”

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We did eventually find some dingos. And thus the heroes lived happily ever after.

– the first night on the island everyone took an evening stroll down to the beach. It was dark enough that you more or less were reliant on the person walking directly in front of you to lead you. I’m sure someone had a flashlight. Definitely. Safety first yo.

The skies were clear that night and once we got to the beach we were treated to a beautiful starry sky. Almost as good as Northern Ontario. Almost.

Fun fact, being in the southern hemisphere means the constellations are upside down from what we’re used to. I’m trying to make a joke about that, but honestly, it’s just really trippy. Something something backwards Australia. Backwards toilets, wrong side of road… I dunno, it’s there somewhere.

Anyway.

– the second night we once again headed down to the beach. This time we noticed that the water was lighting up as people walked through it. This is apparently caused by phosphorescent algae. It was like something out of Life of Pi.

Being entirely serious for a moment, seeing the glow from the algae as we ran through the water was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. And seeing the drunken ocean hookups illuminated by the algae was pretty interesting too.

After our Fraser Island trip wrapped up we headed North to the little town of Agnes Water, known as the place Captain Cook first landed in Australia, and more importantly to us, one of the last places to surf on the east coast.

The further north you head in Australia the greater the risk is of stingers and box jellyfish being in the water. Everyone is scared of sharks, but these things will really mess you up. The beaches also generally become less surfable, so we figured Agnes would be our last opportunity to surf for a little while.

Surfing is a lot of fun, especially now that we’ve progressed past the awkward flopping around on the board like a fish out of water stage. Learning to surf has taught me that you can pretty much expect to get absolutely destroyed by a wave at least once every time you go out there. Getting hit in the face by a large wave is sort of like getting hit with a bucket of water –  No, I don’t mean water thrown from a bucket, I mean water and bucket together right smack in the ear hole – and then being jammed in the spin cycle of a washing machine filled with sand. Needless to say, one of those a day keeps your nose and ears squeaky clean. And bonus! The extra salt in your mouth means yo don’t need to bother adding any to your dinner. Sweet!… Err salty?

While in Agnes we stayed at a small, but really nice hostel called Cool Bananas. One of our days there we got dragged into doing an eco tour with the tag line “Get pampered in paradise!”. Sigh. For science!

We were treated to tales of the local area, shown wildlife and secluded bays, told about Aborigine cooking methods, got slathered in some sort of skin-cleansing mud voodoo magic stuff, and Cam’s personal favourite, told all about the government conspiracies with chem trails and some diabolical plan to control the weather and therefore the world… Or something. He spent much of the day biting his tongue like he thought it had transformed into a nut-free chocolate bar. I pretty much had to stop him from throwing himself from the nearest clifftop in an attempt to escape.
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Voodoo mud, conspiracy theories, and Cam mix to form something nightmares are made from. *shudder*

The owners of the hostel have two black pugs, and they really are cute little buggers – Ignore Cam when he says otherwise – but after a few days of them staring at you when you’re trying to eat your damn dinner I admittedly started getting a little tired of them. It’s unnerving; you’re sitting there minding your own business and enjoying another delightful pasta dinner and then you feel it – like some evil presence lurking in the dark. You look down and BAM the crafty little bastards are sitting at your feet staring up at you, heads turning to follow the fork on its path from plate to mouth. You know what? Unnerving doesn’t even cover it. Damn demon ninja pugs.

Some Other Random Things (S. O. R. T. S.)

– What happens when you mix Australia-strength sunscreen, an ocean swim, a fine silicone sand beach, and an on shore breeze? Something we like to call the Human Schnitzel. You practically need an angle grinder to get the sand off some days

– Agnes Waters for whatever reason has a ton of geckos
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I literally saw one snatch a moth out of mid-air. Bad. Ass.

– I chirped my friend for turning 23. “It’s all downhill from here, grandma!” I then promptly pulled my back surfing. Grumble. Karma.

– Christmas music and decorations in the summer is really really weird. My body is actually deeply confused and I don’t know how to handle it.

– and hey, we finally found kangaroos!
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Next post: Airlie Beach and the Whitsunday Islands, and Christmas in Cairns.

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Sitting here waiting for another Greyhound trip North I’ve decided it’s time for another hilarious edition of Adventures With Danger Dave (trademarked). You may be thinking, “Gee DD, you sure seem to spend a lot of time talking about the bus”, and you wouldn’t be incorrect. Sadly, the truth is that I’m just too busy turning into milk chocolate on the beach to bother writing any other time than when I’m on one, so that’s why I keep talking about it like some terrible ex girlfriend.

Anyway, on to story time:

Our first stop post-Byron was a crazy little place called Surfer’s Paradise. Think Niagara Falls on a beautiful tropical beach. Or, you know, Miami. All three of these places are strangely similar, right down to the gimmicky little tourist attractions like the wax museum, haunted house, and the Ripley’s Believe it or Not. It’s actually a little uncanny how similar it felt to The Falls.
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A number of people told us just to skip Surfer’s, but opinions are like onions, and all onions have layers and are … Deep? Interesting? Or something. I’m trying to say we respect your opinion, but it’s probably wrong not the same as ours.

Having said that, after two days we realized that those people weren’t necessarily incorrect. Neat place to check out for a day or two, but you definitely don’t need any longer.

Our next stop was the city of Brisbane, which we were also told to skip. Stupid opinion onions. Obviously we chose not to listen again, and this time we were so glad we didn’t. The hostel we stayed at wasn’t fantastic by any stretch of the imagination, but the bar did serve those three litre beers I mentioned in the last post, so that was a bonus.

We stayed in the 20 bed dorm room, aptly dubbed “the jungle”. The room itself was actually not terrible, but dear lord the beds were a different story. Every little movement caused a series of squeaks, creaks, and groans reminiscent of noises found only in the most depraved pornos. Twenty people tossing and turning throughout the night was like a thousand bunnies in the height of a particularly violent mating session. And I’m just choosing to assume that the noises were caused by tossing and turning only. Ignorance is bliss, yo. *shudder*

On one of our days in Brisbane we went on a snorkeling and sand-sledding trip to Moreton Island, the third largest sand island in the world.
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After snorkeling around the wrecks of old whaling vessels we went inland to a series of massive sand dunes and proceeded to toboggan down them. Who says you need snow to do wintery things?

This was a lot of fun, but man, sand errywhere. Seriously, that fine ass demon dust got into places I didn’t know existed. I swear I’m still farting out sand. Either that or I’m about to die.
Regardless, cool day!

Another day we were in Brisbane, we did our typical exploring shtick. The city has an interesting look; similar to Sydney, but smaller. It was very comfortable to walk around, even when we got completely turned around. I would blame the map for being a terrible representation of the city, but let’s be honest here, we were probably just staggering around in our usual dazed stupor and missed a turn. Maps aren’t really our thing.

When we left Brisbane we both wished we had booked longer, but the beachside town of Noosa was calling. In Noosa we stayed at a hostel that was recommended to us by a girl we met in Brisbane. At this point I don’t even know why we keep asking people for their thoughts. Opinions are awful!

To be fair, the hostel wasn’t actually all that bad, but some turd(s) were thieving people’s food. I can think of little more frustrating than that. People man, people! It’s probably a good thing Cam never found out who stole his pepper grinder. Murder cover-up isn’t exactly high on my Aussie to-do list. If I’ve learned one thing thus far, it is if one values their life, they’d better not even think about messing with Cam’s food. Bro is crazy, I’m telling you.

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They also had air-hockey. Bonus.

The town of Noosa is like a smaller scale Byron Bay. It’s a beautiful beach town, but has less of the party atmosphere. What it does have is some of the most acrobatic wildlife I have ever seen. I’m talking of course about the Australian bush turkey.

I don’t know if it’s something in the Noosa water or if all Australian turkeys are this nimble, but these things were nuts. I mean, they can’t even fly and yet they are able to scale buildings and trees just by hopping from one slightly lower perch to the next. It’s like something out of Super Mario or Assassin’s Creed. Seriously. Ninja turkeys. Crazy.

One of the cool things about the hostel we stayed at is how almost every day there was some free activity or tour of places in and around Noosa. The one day we went to a rope swing set up by one of the rivers. After carefully studying the art of performing graceful acrobatics off of the rope, as demonstrated by 8 year old Aussies, I decided I was ready.

I climbed the tree, grasped the rope tightly in my hands, and pushed off, rocketed forward at an impossibly blistering speed, expertly released the rope at the pinnacle of its arc, and performed a dizzying one and a half rotations before plummeting into the water with all the grace of a majestic water fowl… Literally landing full force of the side of my face and ear. Another perfect stunt executed by Danger Dave.

Another day we grabbed a couple of tandem kayaks with some friends and went for a leisurely paddle around another river system. Notable moments of this excursion include:
– Cam spraying me with roughly 12 litres of water every third stroke
– getting our kayak stuck in the nastiest, muddiest part of the river because we “have to see how far it goes!”
– having a large sting ray almost jump into my lap. I swear my shriek was as manly as possible, and Cam only peed himself a little.

We left our hostel after a week and treked to Gagaju Bush Camp to do an everglades canoe tour. Something about paddling down a quiet river for hours on end turns Cam into a philosopher. I figure if we’d been there a few more days he would have solved the meaning of life.
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At night there was a combination of fire and drunk people that caused Cam to transform into his superhero alter ego, Fire Marshal Cam.
“But fires are fun, Fire Marshal Cam!”
“You’re right, kids, fires are fun, but so is not lighting yourself on fire, so let’s be safe!” *thumbs up fist pump*

After the bush tour it was back to Noosa for a couple of mosquito-free days before our trip to Rainbow Beach and our Fraser Island tour. More on those shenanigans next time.

Some other random things (S. O. R. T’s) :

– My ebook reader randomly decided to reset itself to factory default. Damn you technology, damn you! Now I have to use a flashlight to read in the dark like some pleb.

– Ugg stores everywhere. And I mean everywhere. We counted 3 within 50 metres of one another in Surfer’s Paradise.

– I’ve been asked 3 times If I was Australian. Incidentally this is the same number of times Cam has been hit on by men. He’s growing a little concerned about this.

– Don’t play Candy Crush. That soul sucking game is more addictive than real candy and far less enjoyable. I think it’s turned me into a masochistic.

– “How you going?” Grammar, Australians, grammar! I am DOING well, thank you. Gahd.

Next post: Fraser Island, Team Western, dingos, stars and phosphorescent algae.

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One month in, we’re still alive.

I know it’s been a while since my last post, but I’m on vacation dammit! In a few more weeks I’m going to be broke and crying in a ditch, forced to sell Cam’s organs for quick cash.

I’m sitting here on the Greyhound from Brisbane to the beach town of Noosa and figured maybe I should try and write something, so here it goes:

As far as I know I’m still alive, despite that 3-litre beer I drank.
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Mmm beer.

I might think I were in heaven because this country is that awesome, but seriously, I’m sitting on the damn Greyhound, there’s nothing heavenly about that.
Having said that, the buses here do seem to have a bit more leg room so maybe this is the heaven I’ve earned.
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Meh, I’ll take it. Moving on.

Since we’re about a month into this crazy trip of ours I thought I’d do a bit of a review of things we’ve done and places we’ve seen so far.

While in Sydney we stayed at a little hostel called the Blue Parrot. For our first hostel experience I don’t think we could have done much better. Despite hilariously being located on a stretch of road with almost a dozen strip clubs and liquor stores, and takeaway joints with seedy names like “Opium Den”, the Parrot was a really cool little place with some awesome people, and was an easy walk from Circular Quay where the Opera House and Harbour bridge are located.
We spent our time here in full on tourist mode, aimlessly wandering, map in hand, letting ourselves be distracted by anything and everything. Ooooo shiney object!
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This is also where we began to notice an awesome trend: Canadians everywhere! We really are the biggest beauties in the world.

With November right around the corner, Cam tried to convince me to grow another of my delightful mustaches. If you were around me last November you know this was a terrible idea. I told him I’d try, but he was on daily Hitler detection duty. Again, if you saw me last year you know exactly what I mean by this.

Just as we were starting to get too comfortable in Sydney we packed up and took a nice long bus trip North to Port Macquarie. And by long, I mean 8 hours long. Yeaaah. Australia is kind of a big place.

Port Macquarie is basically an old person beach town. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many optometrist offices in so small an area before. It is also home to the “third worst club in Australia”. Yes, we went (“For science! “). And yes, it was spectacularly awful.

We stayed at a place called Beachside Backpackers, which was just a short walk from the beach. This was another really small, chill place. The owner was a very cool, very stereotypical surfer dude. Apparently he once tried to sell his entire life on eBay. Made newspapers all over the world too. Australians!

While in Port we started seeing some cool Aussie wildlife. I’m talking about actual animals by the way, you perverts. The other Aussie wildlife was pretty nice too I guess #bikinis
*hem*
Speaking of pervs, the stach experiment ended pretty much how I expected. Cam was slacking in his duties- I think he was trying to sabotage me with the ladies. Crafty bugger.

Anyway, flying foxes are these cat sized fruit bats that hang around in the trees all day and fill the skies once the sun goes down. They are really neat.
We also saw koalas. They aren’t that interesting. Seriously, all they do is sleep. And poop. In their sleep. Neat trick guys.
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There are also these crazy ninja-turkeys. It’s like something out of Assassin’s Creed. They can’t really fly, but they jump from one object to the next, bench to fence to roof to tree to taller tree… It’s insane! Damn things are fast too.
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If the world ends at the hands of the animals these guys will be right at the forefront, I’m telling you.

People-wise, we met some more cool (obviously) Canadians, some “sneaky” Germans, and some other beauties. Also an Irish guy named Patrick. I laughed. He didn’t. I think he gets that a lot. Tough crowd.

We were probably in The Port longer than we should have been, but we finally left, hoping on a Greyhound at 2am and headed 6 hours north to Byron Bay. Big country! We were thinking this would save us a night of paying for a hostel. My advice? Just pay for a damn hostel. Trying to cram my lanky body into a comfortable sleeping position on a moving bus proved to require a level of yoga mastery that I’ve yet to achieve.
Byron Bay is… Pretty much the definition of awesome-sauce. It is the prime example of a young person beach town: beaches as far as the eye can see, great surf, beautiful people, and within easy day-tripping range of a delightful town called Nimbin.

We stayed at a large hostel called the Byron Beach Resort. The big hostels have a different feel from the small ones. You don’t really have a chance to meet and get to know everyone. We still met some cool people, including a trio of German dudes I have dubbed “Craaaaazy Germans!”, and two English girls that kept giving us food. In return we named a sandwich after them. It’s called the Essex and it is fantastic. And no I’m not telling you what’s in it, a magician never reveals his tricks. That’s right, this sandwich is magical.

The first day in Byron we spent most of our time at the beach pretty much passing out from lack of sleep. Pro tip about Australia: the sun is really hot so don’t forget sunscreen. Or suncream as the English say. Weirdos. Anyway, sunburn. It’s kind of awful. The beach may seem like a great place to nap, but it’s a trap.

We spent a few of our other days during our week in Byron attempting to surf. The less said about my efforts the better. Cam was slightly more successful, but one of his nipples may never recover. Another pro tip: surfboard wax is dangerous. Don’t grow too attached to your chest hair if you’re planning on surfing.

On another of our days we went to the weed capital of Australia, Nimbin. Jamming out to Born to Be Wild while riding in a rainbow-coloured bus on our way to Hippyville Down Under was highly entertaining.
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I’ll be honest, I’ve now been off the bus that I started this post on for about two days now. Don’t blame me, this blogging and adventure-having is tough work!

Next post: post Byron Bay tings

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First Days’ Impressions

After arriving in Sydney last Saturday Cam and I spent the next seven days there.

Here are some of my observations:

Firstly, Sydney is a beautiful city.

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Seriously, Toronto, figure it out bud.

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But despite it’s beauty, Sydney has a dark, awful side. Two words for you: pee troughs. Wut.

*no picture because… come on, what’s wrong with you?

I shit you not (sorry). Despite being a world class city, if you use a toilet at the harbourfront, in a bar, or wherever, you will get the live Free Willy experience every time you enter the restroom.

Point number 2 (lol)
I don’t know if it is just me, but I had always assumed that the toilets in Australia would flush in the opposite direction to the one back home. Wasn’t there a Simpsons episode about that? Anyway, I have been disappointed to notice that this is not the case at all. Life is a lie.

Okay, enough with the toilet humour. Here are some other things I’ve noticed in my first days:

After about an hour of Cam and I awkward crab – dancing around people on the sidewalk to avoid being walked into, we clued into the fact that people walk on the opposite side of the sidewalk. We then realized that none of the other tourists picked up on this so walking down the sidewalk very quickly degraded into something resembling Red Rover. My hockey skills have come in handy. Bah, tourists.

Speaking of walking on the wrong side, you know what’s more dangerous than jay-walking in Toronto? Doing it in Australia. A) they drive on the left side of the road B) roundabouts *shudder*

Beer is expensive here. Like, $16 for a six pack of Corona expensive. Shenanigans. What kind of sad world have we entered? There is, however, a delightful beer substitute called Goon, which is basically cheap boxed wine. Doesn’t taste too bad going down, but Cam will have to let you know how it is coming back up.

The first time I broke a $20 I had to laugh. Australian coins are so insanely large, you’d think they were designed as an object of last resort self defense against the numerous deadly creatures around here. I’m pretty sure you could deflect tank rounds with some of these suckers.

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Anti-shark 50 cent coin?

Our first day in town we went on a free tour of Sydney ‘s downtown and the harbourfront. Free tours have got to be the best idea I’ve heard of, aside from free drinks of course. There were a couple young German women on the tour with us that Cam proceeded to chat up in his own Cam – ly way. Next thing you know we’re grabbing dinner with them in one of the many parks in downtown Sydney. We discovered that apparently German slang for cell phones is “handy”. That was an awkward moment.

The next day we went to Bondi Beach with one of the Germans and her three friends. I’m not even kidding. Cam. What a beauty. Anyway, pretty decent first couple of days in the land down under.

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Next post: hostel living, leaving Sydney, and some interesting people we’ve met.

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Okay my title is a dirty lie; the flight had it’s moments. Here’s a breakdown of events based on notes I made at the time. Disclaimer: things might get a little squirrely

Stage One: Toronto to Vancouver.

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We said goodbye to our parents and then proceeded to walk away without looking back, because we’re badass like that.

8:30pm EST
Once we were on the plane, I settled in and watched “White House Down”, aka the other Whitehouse takeover movie of summer 2013. Lesson: Whatever you do, don’t ever mess with Jamie fox’s Air Jordans.

9:30pm EST
I looked across the aisle at Cam.

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No words.

Sufficiently traumatized I turned to a bag of chocolate treats for solace. Of course I epically fail at tearing along perforated lines. No knife, no scissors, I did what any  desperate man would. Grabbed a pen.

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Prison rules, baby!

11:30pm EST
Put on “Pain and Gain”. Jacked Markey Mark acting like a knob.

11:50pm EST
I realize I’m wired. Eating a whole bag of chocolate was probably a bad call.

1am EST
Landed in Vancouver

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Like I said. Squirrely.

Stage Two: Vancouver to Sydney

430 am EST

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13 hrs left in flight. At this point I’m losing track of time. The plan is to stay awake until about 10pm Sydney time to help with the jet lag.

5am (9pm Sydney time)
This is a stupid idea, I’m going to sleep.

Time unknown:
Air Canada doesn’t agree with me. An announcement blasts over the loudspeakers every time I doze off. It’s like some sort of newfangled Chinese torture.

Seriously, what time is it? :
Dilerium is setting in. That “Cage the Elephant” song starts running through my head. ‘There ain’t no rest for the wicked’… Please, Babe, just tell me what I did wrong so I can profusely apologize and get some rest *sob*

And who designed these airplane blankets anyway? You have the option of warming your toes or shielding your upper body from the incessant gail-force winds blasting from the fan above you, but “you must choose one!” (insert maniacal laughter)

2pm EST
I have reached a zen-like Yoda state. Time means nothing. 4 hours left in the flight. Pffft 4 hours.

9am Sydney time:
Praise be to all things holy, we have arrived. Bring on invasive security checks, just get me off this flying soul-sucker.

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*next post: sidewalk shenanigans, pee troughs, and other first day observations. Plus, German girls.

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Ready to go, bro

After 5 months of kind-of-sort-of planning, applying for and receiving our visas, booking flights, arranging banking, choosing insurance, and researching hostels, the big day has finally arrived – – I have successfully figured out how to pack my travel pack! I think…
Going into this whole thing I figured the most difficult part was going to be getting Cam to answer my texts in under three days. Just kidding, I was worried about flights mostly.

But seriously, Cam…

Anyway, after my packing experience, of being forced into such decisions as: extra t-shirt or two extra boxers, and, “do I really need a sweat shirt? I mean, it might get chilly. What if there’s a sudden climate shift and I have to walk the icey Australian tundra in nothing but my bathing suit and a light rain jacket? Well that won’t do. Now which one should I bring…”

Stressful choices, right?

And having to put the rejected items back in their drawers? That must be what it feels like to coach hockey. “Sorry kid, better luck next year”. Or something.

Despite these delightful internal debates, I somehow got everything I needed packed. I’ve got my passport and boarding pass ready, Lord of the Rings extended editions loaded up on my phone, and a brand new travel Australia guide (did I mention we’ve done minimal planning?). I’d say I’m ready to take on this 20 hour flight. Hopefully. Whether I’m ready to survive 6 months in the country that inspired “Wolf Creek”, and is home to pretty much all the man mangling wildlife in the world, is an entirely different discussion. One I’m ignoring.

I’ll catch you all on the flip side.

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