And We’re Off

The time has come. We’ve said our farewells & final goodbyes with family & friends. Leaving most of what we know behind for now & beginning an unforgettable journey. A lifetime of memories together are to be made. Adventure awaits us!

On October 5th Landon & I officially began our trip. First stop was beautiful Monterey, California. Landon’s close friend from YWAM, Amanda, invited us to attend her wedding so we thought it’d be a perfect start to our trip. California did not disappoint.

Upon our arrival we chose to rent a vehicle instead of depending on Uber like we initially planned. Beyond thankful for that zippy little car because we had the freedom to do a lot of exploring on our own time. We rented an Airbnb for the week right outside of the city center. A beautiful historic Victorian home set on a hill with views of the city & coastline. We settled in nicely with a light afternoon lunch & leisurely walk along the beach.

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Thursday we attended the wedding. Such a fun day! Perfect weather, memorable ceremony & an enjoyable reception with AMAZING food.  A definite highlight was meeting/spending time with a handful of Landon’s friends from Perth. Friday we explored the Fishermans Wharf & shared lunch with them one last time before we went our separate ways. Though the time with friends was short it was a definite highlight to the trip. So great to finally put a face to a name & to see Landon reunited with them brought me much joy.

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After lunch Landon & I made our way to the Monterey Bay Aquarium & walked along Cannery Row. There were many unique sea creature exhibits throughout the aquarium. Many that I’d never seen or even heard of. The Deep Sea exhibit was filled with sharks, giant tuna, turtles & stingrays. I was most intrigued by the grass eels (look them up).

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Tuna in the Deep Sea Exhibit

We ended up taking a detour on our way back to the house when we came across 17 Mile Drive. This was a sightseeing route with many stopping points with extravagant views. Along the way we were able to stop to watch the sunset over the ocean.

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Sunset during our drive

The following morning, our last full day, we woke up bright & early to get a head start on our plans to visit Big Sur. I’m learning many things about photography from my husband. One is that the bright afternoon sun is very bad for quality photos. I was against the 5:00AM wake up call at first but was grateful we were out & about once I saw the hundreds of people crowding the roads. Think a Fall weekend in Berlin in Holmes County. The early morning allowed us to freely travel along Highway 1 with little to no traffic, take photos with no one around & watch the sunrise over the mountains. We stopped at Julie Pfeiffer Burns State Park to see the McWay Falls & hike along Buzzards Roost Trail. First mountain hike for me & I can’t wait for more. The view was nothing like I’d ever seen & the California Redwood trees were incredible. I was intrigued to see the effects of the 2013 Pfeiffer Fire still evident throughout the hillside.

Following our hike, we stopped for lunch at Big Sur Roadhouse. Great spot where we enjoyed delicious burgers & fries! We ended the evening ankle deep in the chilly Pacific Ocean on the beach at Andrew Molera State Park. Good enough to say we were in the Pacific right?! 😉 I hope to one day go back to explore even more of what the west has to offer.

After a few full days of fun & adventure in California it felt as though our little vacation had come to an end. I quickly came to realize it was just the beginning. October 9th we set out on our long anticipated trip to Australia. After 18 hours of flying we arrived Tuesday afternoon in Sydney. A friend from home who is originally from Sydney put us in contact with her parents. They picked us up from the airport and shared their home with us to unwind from the long trip & adjust to the time change.  Thankful for their hospitality! We originally planned on staying there for two nights but we ended up booking our backpackers hostel a day early. This way when Kendall & Karmen arrived the next morning they didn’t have to wait until 2PM to check in. Let’s just say when we arrived I was a bit overwhelmed. Correction….EXTREMELY overwhelmed. ‘What the heck were we doing?’ So many people. Loud music. Dorm rooms. All I could think about was how to avoid having to go to the bathroom & how early I had to get up to shower to avoid running into anyone. At that point I was beyond thankful for a private room & a wonderful husband that helped me find the bathroom. Needless to say I couldn’t wait for the morning to see two familiar faces in Kendall & Karmen.

With all that being said, we come to present day. We’ve been in Sydney, Australia for 5 days now and I’m slowing adjusting to being  outside my “comfort zone”. I am much more comfortable staying at the hostel & walking around the city without Landon & Kendall. We’ve done some grocery shopping, set up our bank accounts & cellphone & the boys have scouted for vehicles.

Yesterday was our first day exploring. We took a long walk starting at Darling Harbour visiting the National Maritime Museum & finished the afternoon at Circular Quay where we visited the famous Sydney Opera House & took a brief stroll through the  Botanic Gardens. We enjoyed fish & chips for lunch then made our way back to the hostel on the train. I am still in disbelief that I saw the opera house & sat on the front steps.

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I still feel like we’re on vacation, returning home in a few days. Not sure when it’ll hit me that we’ll be gone for an extended period of time. I’ll let you know when it happens😉. Looking forward to finding a vehicle & getting on the road. There have been many moments where I’ve questioned what we’re getting ourselves into. These first few weeks are going to be filled with trial & error & many questions but I will continue to remind myself that this is an opportunity of a lifetime. Going to work on breaking down the walls of my comfort zone & emerging myself into this new culture. Ready or not…we are here!

Jess


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