My family loves to travel. As long as I can remember, my parents have had a serious case of wanderlust. For almost two decades, my family has constantly been planning and going on our own little adventures, whether it was a weekend at a local campground, a two week road trip to Arizona and California, or a month long tour of Europe, my family seized every opportunity to take to the open road. The most memorable, and recent trip of a life time, was when my entire family, all seven of us, went to Australia for a whole month.
It started off as a two week trip centered around the celebration of World Youth Day, and quickly bloomed into a four week exploration of everything Australia had to offer. From boomerangs to barbeques, camping to kangaroos, sailing to snorkeling, we did it all, saw it all, and loved it all. Our journey started off in the beautiful city of Sydney Australia, July 15th of 2008. The weather was brisk at best, it being winter there, but that did nothing to hider the hustle and bustle of the city.The streets were brimming with people from hundreds of countries, and countless backgrounds, all anxious to get to their destinations. Every where you looked, there were new sights, smells and sounds. The honking of cars rang through the air, as the crosswalk lights chimed. The mouth-watering smell of various foods cooking continuously wafted through the air. It was the city at its finest, noisy, smelly, busy, and I loved every bit of it.
After a few days in the city, we set off into much tamer territories; campgrounds. For fourteen days straight, the six of us packed into a tiny, top heavy camper van that never seemed to want to go forward, and loved to move in sudden, knee-wrenching jerks. We drove for hours upon hours, each destination only a few hundred miles away from the next, but to me, it seemed a lifetime. However, the excitement of our next adventure always kept me in check, the promise of new experiences goading me to stay sane until we reached our next destination. The treasures that lay in store never ceased to amaze me. At one of our earliest campgrounds, we hand fed wild rainbow lorikeets, a bird not unlike a parakeet. At another campground, we walked ten minutes down to the ocean to feed the dolphins. We sought out the ocean every place we went, and spent hours swimming in the salt water and riding the waves. We even went snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef. What ever the ocean had to offer, we accepted it with earnest. One of the best things about the ocean was the shells. Thousands upon thousands littered the beaches, in tightly packed clumps, or scattered sparsely through the sand, the shells were everywhere. They were like precious jewels, each unique in some way, and no matter how damaged, every one of them a treasure.
Returning home to the hum-drum life in the suburbs of Chicago was much harder the previously anticipated. Even after two months of being home, I still miss Australia. I yearn to go back, to gaze upon the Southern Cross, experience the scent of the ocean, to feel the sand beneath my toes. Hardly a day goes by when I’m not reminded of an inside joke, exciting adventure, or peaceful moment that I experienced in Australia. I can think of a million things that I have yet to see, and that gives me a million reasons to go back.
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