Where have you been?

I’ve been lucky enough to do some travelling in my life.

When I was a kid, my parents used to take us on vacation every summer.  The trip I remember the most is probably the one where we drove to Colorado, spent a few days at a ranch, rafted the river (and nearly froze to death in the process), and went on a jeep ride that was downright scary at times!  Our trip to the Grand Canyon is another one I remember pretty well.

We didn’t have to go a long way to have a fun vacation.  Sometimes, we would combine a vacation with visiting family, like the time when we went to New Braunfels, Texas, with all the aunts, uncles and cousins and floated the river (I can’t remember if it was the Comal River or the Guadalupe River), but either way, we had a good time.

In 2011, the husband and I went to Asheville, North Carolina for our anniversary.  I think the highlight of that trip was getting to visit the Biltmore estate.  The House and the grounds are really amazing.

Biltmore House

Biltmore House (image by me)

I’ve also been lucky enough to do some international traveling as well.

In 1995, I participated in Louisiana Tech University’s Tech Rome program.  The program was open to college students all over the US.  We had students from a university in California, we had students (and professors!) from LSU, as well as Louisiana Tech students and professors.  We were required to take two classes, an Art History class (college credit for visiting museums!) and a Physical Education class (because of all the walking we did).  Other classes, such as Italian 101 and Roman History, were offered as well.

The Roman Forum

The Roman Forum (image by me)

We spent six weeks based in Rome, taking official program side trips to places like Capri, Greece, Switzerland, Venice and Paris.  We got to tour the Roman Forum and the Colosseum.  We had an audience with the Pope where the Holy Father blessed everyone in the audience.  Touring the Vatican was an amazing experience too.  We went to the Greek Acropolis and took a gondola ride through Venice.

The Colosseum

The Colosseum (image by me)

Florence

Florence (image by me)

I only wish that this part of the world was a little more stable politically, because I would love to go back.  Unfortunately, traveling to places like Greece is a bit dangerous right now.

The Temple of Athena, in Greece.

The Temple of Athena, in Greece. (image by me)

But I honestly think of all the places I’ve been, Australia is my favorite.

In 2009, my friends Sarah and Lauren called me at work on my birthday.  In the course of our conversation, they mentioned that they were planning to go to Australia’s Gold Coast the following year.  Sarah suggested that I should meet them there and without hesitating, I said I would.  Sarah was shocked but excited.  This would be the first time we had actually met face-to-face during the course of our friendship.

I told my husband what I was planning.  Surprisingly, he didn’t object much to my wanting to fly to the other side of the world for two weeks.  Sarah, Lauren and I made our plans.  I applied for a new passport and started watching airfares to Brisbane, which is where I would be meeting up with Sarah and Lauren.  Sarah handled the accommodations and activity planning.  We had a couple of Skype calls prior to me leaving to iron out a few details.

After nearly a year of planning and saving, I flew off to the Gold Coast in October 2010.  Sarah and Lauren (and Sarah’s mum) met me at the Brisbane airport and we set off on our adventure.

Headed to the Gold Coast!

Headed to the Gold Coast! (image by me)

We were based in Surfers Paradise, Queensland for a week.  From there, we traveled up (to Beerwah) and down the coast (to Coolangatta).  We went to Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo, Sea World Queensland and Movie World.  The Melbourne Cup (known as the race that stops a nation) was run while we were there, so we went to a betting lounge, placed bets and watched the race.  Our last day, we flew into Sydney and spent the day seeing the sights, including a tour of the world famous Opera House.

The view from our rental in Surfers Paradise.

The view from our rental in Surfers Paradise. (image by me)

Feeding the kangaroos at Australia Zoo.

Feeding the kangaroos at Australia Zoo.

The Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera House (image by me)

Then we got on a plane and flew to Western Australia (where Sarah and Lauren live), so I could see the sights of Perth and Fremantle.  We went whale watching, which was a lot of fun.  I got to tour Fremantle Prison and the Perth Mint.  The entire trip was amazing and I had so much fun.  I would love to go back at some point in the future.

Fremantle Prison

Fremantle Prison (image by me)

Perth Mint

Perth Mint (image by me)

(video by me)

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