The time has finally come!

By Dinah Whitear (University of Melbourne, Australia).

A few days to go…

So, with a few days to go, it’s no surprise that I’m feeling pretty anxious about my upcoming trip to Australia. I have left packing VERY last minute. It’s strange because when I first went to uni, I was packing weeks before I actually had to go, with list upon list of things to remember. Now I’m leaving not just my home town to travel a few hours up North, but in fact the whole of the Northern hemisphere will be behind me as I set off to travel the furthest I’ve ever been without the chance to pop back home if I forget something…and I haven’t even packed a thing! My main issue has been deciding whether to take a big rucksack, like a proper backpacker, or just a big suitcase – I have now decided to combine the two so that I have the rucksack for when I want to travel, but then I also have the extra space of a suitcase to keep me happy. I think in general I am quite in denial about the whole thing – it all seems very surreal and I’m just too scared to say all the horrible goodbyes because then it starts getting real. I’m just relying on the blessing of modern technology to get by – at least I know I’m just a skype call away from friends and family when I get out there! It’s also quite depressing because the weather has been so nice here recently – around 30°C most days and I’ve been monitoring the weather over in Melbourne and it’s really not looking that great – pretty overcast and very chilly at nights, of course it is winter though! I haven’t bought many new things for going away, I don’t really have the space in my luggage to be able to do so! I’ve been advised not to take things like toiletries and towels as, not only do they take up valuable space, but they are easily bought abroad as well. One investment I have made, however, is in a nice new bridge camera. I have never really had a good camera before and so I’m definitely looking forward to learning how to use it!

 Few days in…

All I can say is: I really am happy to be off that plane – I’ve never really been too keen on flying, and I thought that, being a long haul flight, the conditions on board would be slightly improved, even for economy…boy was I wrong!! I flew with Etihad airways and was told by a friend that this was one of the best airways she had flown with, so I was relatively excited to just sit down and let the movies roll on. As soon as I got on the plane, I saw these plush, roomy seats, almost like little cubicles –  I was so relieved – maybe this flight wasn’t going to be so bad after all!! But, as I excitedly looked for my seat, I found that I was gradually moving quite far down the aisle –  I then looked up and realised –  I was of course admiring the first class seats, and my not so nice seat was located a bit further down, cramped together with many other not so nice seats. Gutted. All in all, the journey was a pretty confusing one – not helped with the fact that the blinds were pulled down most of the time so I felt like I was in a time travelling machine or something. The strangest part was when I had dinner, decided to get some sleep, woke up to air hostesses coming round with food, expecting breakfast, but was so confused when a tray of dinner was placed in front of me again – I was craving cereal! I have been fortunate enough to have been put in touch with my friend’s Auntie and Uncle who live in Melbourne – they have been very kind and welcoming and offered to put me up for a few nights in their house in the suburbs of Melbourne. It has been so nice as I would say the first few days are the toughest – it doesn’t really hit you straight away, but gradually you realise just how far away from the comfort of home you really are. I think this is pretty usual though, and I’m looking forward to getting in the swing of things at university, and life in Australia in general.

I will keep you posted about the settling in in Australia as soon as I can 🙂

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