This has been a pretty good year for traveling. I saw 2007 rolling in while standing atop a pedestrian bridge, looking towards the Melbourne CBD for the New Year’s fireworks. I welcomed it with family amidst a sea of strangers. It felt odd but it also felt right.
January in Australia, apart from celebrating the new year, also meant celebrating Australia’s birthday. We headed out of Melbourne and into neighboring Geelong to commemorate this important event in Australia’s history. Being in Melbourne allowed me to visit other Australian cities. Last March, I flew out of Victoria into New South Wales to take part in the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras. The weekend after, I flew into Queensland to see the breath taking white sand beaches of the Gold Coast.
I left Australia on the third week of March, flying into Singapore to shop before flying home to Manila. As much a I loved my three months in Australia, I couldn’t stop myself from feeling that excitement you get before another trip, another adventure. But this time, it’s not just another trip: I’m coming home to Manila.
Back in Manila, I spent my time catching up with friends and family, and soon enough, it was spent catching up on work. Work became a top priority, and to take a breather, I welcomed the chance to interact in person with people I’ve only known through the entries they post online. French cooking classes, donuts, cookies, acrobats, clique booths, flickr love, shrouds, meriendas, exhibits, sugar free cakes; they were all much-needed distractions that kept me away from my computer, even for just a couple of hours.
After six months in Manila, I flew back to Melbourne. I have been granted a one-year multiple entry visa by the Australian embassy. In all the times we (my mom, my dad, my borhter, my sisters, my niece…pretty much every one in the family), applied for a tourist visa for Autralia, the only time they grant multiple-entry visas is when we requested for it. I didn’t request for it, but they still granted me one. Not one to complain, I made the most of it, arriving in Melbourne a couple of days before the visa expired.
I must admit that I didn’t get to see much more of Melbourne than before. Though I promised myself several times that I would go out more, circumstances kept me inside the house. I never got to to go back to Geelong, nor even hop on a tour bus to see the penguins or the 12 apostles. This second trip to Australia isn’t all that bad really. It’s actually much better. First, I was able to meet two Australians I admire: Darren Rowse and Peter Moore. Second, celebrating my birthday in Aussie resulted to getting the best birthday gift ever: a hot air balloon ride. Third, though I didn’t get to travel out of Melbourne during the first two months of my trip, December more than made up for it. We drove out of Melbourne and went north west into the Victorian countryside. We went to Ballarat, the Grampians and Horsham. A week after we got back, we flew out of Victoria and into Tasmania, where we spent Christmas in the most beautiful place I’ve been to in Australia.
Life has been good to me this 2007 indeed. Years ago, new year’s eve always find me wishing for a better year, a better life. This year, I find myself invigorated, and looking forward to starting another year. If before I was wishing for a good year, this time I’m determined to make sure it IS an even better year.