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Australia: Part 2 (Not sure why it didn't post)

Everyone I had spoken with told me that Melbourne was so much better than Sydney. While I did enjoy my time there, I was not a huge fan of Melbourne as a city. I spent a few days touring the city, but was more than happy to get out! I did however see war memorials, had a few great hikes, toured the treasury and saw some gold, and met some fantastic people.

I spent "Thanksgiving" surfing all day. I was horrible. However, it was a beautiful day on the Great Ocean Road surfing (I got out of Melbourne), met some wonderful people, and had a great instructor who also gave us a bunch of surf history. The next day I was DEAD. My body was beaten by the waves and I underestimated the toll it would take on my abs/arms. I did get a chance to visit some of the famous markets in Melbourne as well with a local guide. I had met an individual while I was in Auckland hiking that offered to show me around. She was a great guide and after several weeks by myself, it was nice to see a familiar face.

My last Australian adventure was Tasmania. I LOVED IT. My main station was Hobart, although I traveled around it a little bit. Honestly if the only part of Australia that could even compare was the Great Barrier Reef. The people, the environment, it was all just perfect. I started by getting there and meeting someone who was staying at my hostel on the bus ride into town. The ride was beautiful, and after we dropped off our luggage headed to an amazing street market. I then did a short town tour and then a boat tour around the bay. This was a HUGE whaling site. Sadly, the whaling industry was what saved the Aboriginal Tasmanian only survived colonization because some had been kidnapped to work on the whaling boats. I learned a lot about the culture and the history through tours and walking into random shops. The next day I had signed up a Hobart Wild Tour. It turns out it is a brand new tour, and I was the only one who signed up.

So my private tour guide and I headed up Mt. Wellington, he provided tons of great history along the way. Then we got to the top of the mountain that had a gorgeous view over the city and then into the countryside. My guide also showed me these plants that the juice from the flowers tastes EXACTLY like butterscotch. It was delicious, and I wish I remembered the name of the plant. We then headed off to the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. I walked into the place and it was just this open area of kangaroos. They were all super gentle and it was such a neat experience. As a sanctuary these are all rescue animals, some kangaroos were picked up as joeys when their mothers had been hit or injured kangaroos. They also were working to breeding back the Tasmanian Devils. About 80% of the population has died due to two mouth cancers. As they are scavengers, they feed together often and the disease spreads rapidly. Places like the Bonorong facility are breeding populations to be released that are not infected (they are still looking for a cure from what I was told). They also had two kolas that came with the place that I was able to pet, and they had wombats. There were also had all sorts of birds, sugar gliders, frogs, and all sorts of other small animals!

Following Bonorong we went to some wineries and did a whiskey tasting. Now I am not usually a fan of wine or whiskey, but I enjoyed talking to the makers about their craft and the owners about the production of the grapes. One of the wineries had a hilarious producer who had just started growing recently and had screwed up last years batch of chardonnay. Turns out it is the only wine I've tasted that I actually enjoyed. However, I cannot say the same for the whiskey even though the tasting included several really pricey bottles. All of the tastings, lunch, and everything else was payed for, and the trip was super cheap. Highly recommend, booked through viator.

Then I sadly left Hobart back for one more night in Melbourne. I walked around a bit and hung out with different people from my hostel. The next day began my LONG journey back to the states. I had a flight out of Melbourne, into Guangzhou China where I was detained because they had failed to stamp my passport in Australia and I had got off of a plane coming from Austrailia and they did not stamp my exit ticket out of New Zealand (I properly handed visas and passports over at ALL locations). They were friendly and helped me get everything sorted out. Because my flight had such a long layover the airline gave me a free hotel and ride into the city. It was late so I did not get to see much, but because there were just a few of us the shuttle driver drove us around the city before taking us to our hotel. It was extremely nice, free large breakfast, and they had a shuttle waiting to take me back in the morning. I then flew to Wuhan, got off the plane, and went through security again, and got back on the exact same plane. From there it was an extremely long flight to San Francisco. Here I left the airport and caught up with a dear friend from Purdue. I had about five hours, so we saw the Golden Gate Bridge, ate lunch, and went down pier 39 and Ghirardelli Square. It was great to catch up and see a face that I had known for more than a few months! Then it was a flight to Denver and waiting for my parents to pick me up the next morning for the 6hr drive back to Nebraska.

I learned a ton by traveling around foreign countries, with people I had just met and often by myself. While I truly enjoyed it, I quickly found out I am not destined to be a nomad. While traveling to new places all the time looks amazing from my computer screen on my couch at home, after about a week and a half- 2 weeks I am tired and just want a normal routine again. While this experience has revamped my desire to see more and more of the world, it has also shown me that I need a home base. That life constantly traveling has its downsides and I just got a brief glimpse of it. However, talking to many of my friends that I met in hostels that had been doing this anywhere from it was their first week to one guy that was into his 8th year of traveling here and there (moving to a new country at least once a year, sometimes up to 5 times a year), it is definitely the lifestyle for some and not others. I am so grateful to my school, family, and FFA (trip to Ireland and cash prize paying for other traveling) for allowing me to partake in a whirlwind of traveling in 2017. Now my next adventure will be moving to Montana to kick off 2018!


MELBOURNE




















TASMANIA
Arrival in Tasmania 











The plant that tastes like Butterscotch! 










Wombats!


Tasmanian Devils



Man and his dog winery






  GUANGZHOU
China airport 


Guangzhou land of LED lights



The worst bathroom I have encountered.
 SAN FRANSISCO
Back in the US!

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