Sydney was a testament to two things: the travel community is wonderful, as are Kiwis.
I know what you’re thinking, “Kiwis again? Aren’t you in Australia?” Yes I am, and my first 6 days in Australia I spent a lot of time with a bunch of Kiwis, and it was great. Here’s how it happened.
I met Jesse in my hostel in Manaus, Brazil in July. We overlapped for just a day, but in that day we chatted a bit and swapped travel plans before going on separate Amazon adventures, hoping we would meet up again in Colombia. As I waited for my flight in Leticia I ran into Jesse in the airport. We talked excitedly about our Amazon experiences but were again going different ways, and unfortunately never did see each other again. But as you do with all new travel friends, we kept up on each other’s travels through Facebook. Jesse is from Sydney and had told me to let him know when I was going there, so as I got closer to my arrival I messaged him for suggestions.
The first thing Jesse said was, “do you have a place to stay?” No, I didn’t. The next thing I knew Jesse had messaged me and his friend and former roommate Amit, and I had a place to stay in Sydney. Amit was incredibly friendly, happy to have me stay at his place for however long I was in town. I learned that when Jesse left Amit had told him to send any travelers his way, ones that he thought would be cool to have around (thanks for thinking I was!), and I was the first one that had made it to Sydney. Amit opened up his home to me and I cannot thank him enough!
Adding to this great friendly situation was the fact that Amit had three of his best friends in town; they all grew up together in Auckland. I shared the living room, as well as a really fun Halloween night, with Phil, Pierre and Peter. Our last-minute costumes were purchased at the local grocery store, where thankfully they had out Christmas decorations insanely early so we went with this theme: Phil was Santa, Peter was a reindeer, Pierre was a present, and I was the tree. It surprisingly worked! Pierre and Peter were also my brunch, Botanical Gardens, and bar hopping companions on my last day in Sydney.
Going into this situation I had no idea what to expect; I was going off of a pretty quick impression of Jesse that he was cool so anyone he would send me to stay with would be too. It was the right impression. This group of fun-loving, friendly, hilarious Kiwis made my time in Sydney that much more enjoyable. And as always, they will all have a home in SF any time they are in town.
In addition to these guys, Karim from Wanaka and I followed through on our parting words to meet up for Sydney beers. He also needed to get his Vietnam visa, so we met up my first morning in town at the consulate and hung out all day at Bondi Beach. Karim was also my drinking buddy the next evening in Newtown. We had a fun two days hanging out in Sydney and have kept in touch, hoping to hang out again one day in Europe.
And lastly, my entire plan in Sydney came from recommendations. I reached out to Tom from BA for suggestions and his awesomely long and detailed response became the backbone of my time there, from which bus to take out to Bondi, Bronte and Coogee to the ferry to Manly to what bar to go to in Newtown or for a rooftop view in The Rocks. In the same vein, my trip to the Blue Mountains came from Josi’s adamant suggestion in NZ (as did the basis of my plan for the rest of my month in Oz).
I knew none of these people before I left for this trip. I can’t say it enough: I love the travel community and feel lucky to be a part of it. You’re all fantastic.