The first time I travelled overseas was to New Zealand for 2 weeks in January 2004 to compete in a two day “Trans Tasman” Little Athletics competition. Every second year a team of kids in the under 11 & 12 age groups from all over NSW would visit Auckland and then a similar aged team from NZ would visit Sydney the following year. I hated athletics and since I was too lazy to try too hard I was terrible at pretty much every event. Hurdles was the only event that I didn’t actually suck at because I loved it and tried with all my scrawny little might in that event. Unfortunately, hurdles was not an event in this competition but since my older sisters had gone previously, I was convinced that I simply must follow these imaginary family traditions that I had made up amongst my usual day dreaming.
The second time was quite frankly unlike anything I ever expected to experience and I dare say I should experience it again. In December 2008 I went to New Zealand again, this time for an annual horse-riding competition, traditionally hosted once every two years by the Pony Clubs of Zone 26 in NSW and every off-year by Gisborne Pony Club, New Zealand. We went for long horse treks on massive properties with little concern for safety (kiwis are super laid back). We went possum shooting and swimming with dolphins and stayed with families on farms in the middle of no where and I basically just had the best time of my life being in this crazy fun country with a group of friends at only 16. I didn’t even call my parents once while I was there – sorry mum!
My third time overseas was in November 2009 when I spent a week at Plantation Island in Fiji. I was 17 and was celebrating schoolies, so again probably not your typical experience but an unforgettable one at that. It was basically just an island full of schoolies kids who were constantly drunk and partying on a beach dance floor every night. My friends and I did make the most of it by getting involved in some of the activities during the day and one day we actually managed to drag our shameful hungover butts onto a boat for a day of sightseeing and island hopping (which we basically just turned into a bar crawl by visiting a bar on every island we went to). This time I did call my mum but only once and it was at a ridiculous hour in a drunk and kava induced emotional state to tell her I felt sick. Daughter of the year here.
Finally, my fourth and final time overseas was two weeks travelling Vietnam in January 2016. This time the travel bug didn’t just nibble, it burrowed right in and I haven’t been the same since. My partner and I were accompanied by my best friend and her partner. I won’t go into the details because we packed so much into the two weeks that I couldn’t summarise it in just a few lines. Also, this will be the first focus of my travel related posts. For now I will just say that it was the most eye-opening, amazing experience of my life and I am on a mission to make it just one of many – the first stepping stone to numerous more awe-inspiring experiences.
– Kels xo.