Well, this one was a long time coming. I find myself flashing back to Sydney on a weekly basis, so it’s all too appropriate that I share one such flashback on ye olde blog.
I spent most of 2006 studying abroad at the University of Sydney, taking fun classes like Australian Sports Culture and Italian. I’d spent 3 summers working at a photo lab to save up for all the traveling I did: from a month in New Zealand, to mid-semester trips to Queensland and the Outback, to winter break on the West Coast. My weekends were spent exploring Sydney and its beautiful beaches, but I always came back to Sydney Harbour. The Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the modest skyline – I still think Sydney is the most beautiful city I’ve ever seen.
But when I think beyond the obvious reasons for my loving Australia and Sydney so much, I realize that it goes far deeper than that.
Sydney was where I discovered and pursued some major passions of mine. I went from being a coffee hater to a coffee snob, spending much of my free time holed up in local coffee shops with a cappuccino and some reading. I developed a fascination with bridges, with an insatiable need to cross, pass under, and photograph damn near every bridge I see. And perhaps most pivotal of all, I began teaching myself photography: frolicking different neighborhoods, camera in hand, and purchasing my first SLR shortly after returning to the US. Coffee, bridges, frolicking, and photography are still some of my favorite things, 7 years later. I don’t even know who I’d be today without these passions.
Also – Sydney was where I realized I had the freedom to live the kind of life I wanted. There was a world beyond rigorous schooling and small town living. With just a semester left of college after I returned from Australia, soon I would be free to recraft my life however I liked. I saw the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, even though I didn’t quite know where it led. Most of all: I felt free.
Sydney will always be my happy place. Though I’m currently settling back into life in New York City, I can’t WAIT to get back to Australia sometime in the not-too-distant future. I’ve got 80,000 air miles reserved for it!