It is Day 10 and I am in Melbourne! I apologize for not posting before this, but the lack of internet access at the different hostels and the last 5 days of camping has been my main hindrance. With that said, here is what I have written for each day:
Day 1: Flight and Byron Bay
Getting to the airport I was nervous about meeting people, but my favorite part about this trip thus far is that everyone is from different places so almost none of us know anyone and therefore we are meeting everybody!
After 14 hours of flying we took a bus ride for about two hours to Byron Bay, which is a beach town just north of Brisbane. The town reminds me of a smaller version of Santa Cruz, with the beach right there, a lot of surfer people, and a bunch of good-looking places to eat and shop. We then went on a walk after dropping our stuff off at the hostel to the town’s lighthouse. On the way, we passed the eastern most point of Australia, got to walk on the beach, and see a bunch of really cool birds. It was a really awesome start to the trip and was a good way to bond with all the people we met.
That night we had the orientation presentation. Most of us thought it would be a bunch of bonding activities and ice-breakers, but it was just a presentation about the trip, some rules, and about Australian culture. This worked extremely well because everyone has been bonding and meeting each other naturally and before the orientation we were actually dreading the potential of ice-breakers. In the end, it was a really fun day, I met a ton of new people, and I can’t wait for the rest of the trip.
Day 2: Byron Bay and First Day of Class
Today started off with some free time where a bunch of us went to the beach and built sand castles, tanned, and swam in the ocean. We then went to our first day of class, which was very interesting, but also super long: four whole hours… We were introduced to the background of the current energy situation in the world, Australia, and the US, specifically looking at where energy is coming from, being used, and could look like in the future.
That night was another great opportunity to meet new people! A bunch of us went to the beach then a club and I met some really cool people that I am excited to meet some more. Thus far I really like the balance of planned activities, the class time, and the free time that we have had.
Day 3: Byron Bay and Meeting Aussies
Today has lived up to potentially be one of the best days of this trip! The day started with kayaking in the bay where we saw dolphins, turtles, and some whales in the distance. Once again this was a great bonding activity and was super fun! We then had class where we continued to solidify our understanding of the current and past energy situation in the world and discussed what we think the future will hold.
We immediately proceeded to go to the beach straight after class, and saw some people spinning fire torches. We went up to see what was going on and they let us attempt to spin the fire torches, introduced themselves, and invited us over for the night! One worry I had about this trip is that I would only get to meet the people on my trip and not any Australians, but this night destroyed that worry. The three guys and two girls were from the Gold Coast and had decided to do the day trip to Byron Bay where the happened to meet us. These guys were hilarious, interesting, and super entertaining! I learned so much about the Australian life style, what Aussies think of Americans, and so much more. I will never forget that night!