It’s almost impossible to believe I’ve spent the past four and a half months in Sydney. Even better, that I’ve spent that time living in the undeniable paradise that is the Northern Beaches.
I wouldn’t be writing with truth, with authenticity, if I said it had been easy the whole time. It should have been… it really should have been.
Yet, despite the turbulent start (both mentally and physically), I am now able to look back on this totally transformative time with only the best of memories.
Because that’s how it happens, isn’t it? Right before we leave somewhere, before we take on a brand new challenge, the paving stones leading up to that point suddenly become framed with the softest of flowers. The dark patches become tinged with light until they burst out of our chest in a portrait of passion and joy.
And as I write this, a mere few hours from stepping on that Greyhound coach to commence (at least) 9 months of non stop travel, the strings of my heart suddenly find themselves wound around this magnificent place.
For it is magnificent. And I’ve taken it for granted. For the most part, I haven’t even documented it through this blog; my outlet, my mirror held up to the journey. It’s just been a part of my day to day life, the moments lived yet scarcely recorded through anywhere but my journal.
So this Saturday just passed, after walking the Bondi to Bronte coastal walk, I sat in a cafe (with my soy flat white, naturally) and began to note down every sublime experience I had immersed myself in since September 14 2015.
The words flowed. And flowed. And flowed.
I have felt the crystal blue waves of every single one of the Northern Beaches… from Palm Beach to Manly and everything in between. Avalon, perhaps the most glorious of all, but a stone’s throw from my bedroom window. Each offered something unique that had me claiming it was “the best yet!” Each made me fall deeper and deeper in love with Australia and its natural splendour.
Walking through the headlands, climbing higher and higher until the ocean view engulfed me. The horizon, the perfect stillness of the sea as it fell off the edge of the earth. Exploring the dark depths of Warriewood Blowhole, swimming through the cave as the furious waves crashed from wall to wall, the water a luminous green. That feeling… that feeling of being part of another world.
Wandering the lighthouse path of Palm Beach. A view that took your breath away… and not forgetting the terrified struggle as the storm clouds loomed overhead, lightning thrashing through the sky as I desperately tried to climb to safer grounds as the clouds opened (and failing, miserably). Paddle boarding in between the boats I could only ever dream of owning. Diving into the clearest waters just to “cool off.”
Vino at Sydney Opera House, the sky around the Sydney Harbour Bridge slipping into a daydream of pink and orange hues as the sun dipped out of sight. Cocktails on the roof terrace of the Museum of Contemporary Art. My culture fix. My incomparable high.
My first attempts at surfing (note: floundering like a beach whale and screaming in horror every time I felt something brush my foot). My first ride on a motorbike (note: before burning my leg on the exhaust and ending up with a vomit-inducing scab on my leg that deepens day by day).
New Year’s Eve overlooking the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Tears flowing freely as I realised how happy I was, how proud, to be able to see such unforgettable sights. Because, truly, there is nothing like it. Nothing in the world. The sky, on fire, is one I will always hold close to my heart.
Spending Australia Day in Royal National Park, surrounded by the most expansive beauty… the luscious greenery of the valleys next to the glittering curves of the ocean. The hike through the bush; my first sighting of a kangaroo! Stumbling across a hidden lookout and coming face to face with the bluest of blues. Just sitting. Sitting and taking it all in, drop by drop. Letting the power of it all run through my veins and into my heart.
Not even a week later, the trek through the Blue Mountains: my final full day in Sydney. The “stop and stare” moment. Jaw-dropping. Intoxicating. From the Three Sisters to Katoomba Cascades and over to Juliet’s Balcony… with a view unlike any I have ever encountered. Even writing this I feel my chest tighten, the tears teetering. Because it is something I will never forget. Something that showed me the wonders of the world if you just have the courage to go out and discover them.
The sunsets from my bedroom, vino in hand and legs swinging from my window ledge. Finding my strength in yoga. Starting “The Book”. Becoming comfortable with being alone. Confronting my inner truths and values. Meeting people I will never forget. Building bonds with my Aussie family that will never be broken.
In Sydney my heart will always have a home. As with Florence, I have met new parts of myself just through being here. I will love it and I will leave a part of myself from this point onwards.
But now I find myself at the start of a whole new type of adventure. The backpacker life, crossing through the glory of the East Coast before returning to Melbourne and then taking on the West and Northern Territory. The next 9 months hold so much thrill, so much discovery, that it barely feels real.
I am nervous. I am excited.
But god, I am ready.