Keeping me in the Continental United States for an extended period of time is like keeping the sun from setting—it ain’t gonna happen. So when my friend Dena posed the idea to travel, I jumped at the opportunity. It’s not easy to find a partner-in-crime that is willing to travel to another country. People have kids to look after, credit card bills to pay, and careers to answer to. You name it, I’ve heard it all. I’ve told myself some of these things, too, but I’ve realized that if you plan right, the job, the house and the social life are all there when you get back. Yes, believe it or not, when I got back, the magazine I work for was still publishing magazines, the apartment building I own and manage didn’t burst into flames and I didn’t miss one major event. If you plan ahead, you don’t miss a beat. And if you take the right steps, you don’t even need to plan that far in advance.
From the time Dena and I decided on Australia as our destination, we had two weeks until we left for our trip. We work fast. They key was booking the trip through a travel agent. To be honest, I thought travel agencies were a thing of the past or for old people who don’t like the internet. I soon realized that they are for people who want a well-rounded experience, but don’t have the time to plan or research a trip bouncing from website to website. We found our travel agent through Zicasso, a website that pairs travelers with boutique tour companies. (I’m not being paid to promote this website, I’m just a fan.) I also used the site to plan my trip to China a few years ago. We were able to customize our trip and we weren’t stuck with a tour group. Actually, the trip was exactly as if we planned it ourselves except we enlisted the help of someone else to do the heavy lifting.
Along our trip, we found out that there was another good reason to use a travel agent. Sometimes they can get you out of hairy situations you may find yourself in while traveling, such as hotel accommodations that may not be what you expected. Within 24 hours the travel agency got us out of that crappy hotel with poor customer service, who weren’t offering a refund. And just for that, our travel agency, Springboard Vacations, deserves a “thank you”!
And my point is, don’t get yourself hung up by 1,001 excuses—make use of great resources such as travel agencies and make your trip a reality. I included photos from 12 days spent in Sydney, The Outback and the Great Barrier Reef that may inspire you to book a trip. I’m sure it’s been sitting on your bucketlist for awhile. And if you plan like Dena and me, you can find yourself there in as little as two weeks.
Sydney Harbour Bridge
It’s all about the cheeseburger and chips
Bondi to Coogee Walk
Manly Beach Walk
Dena and a wallaby at Featherdale Wildlife Park
Checking out Alice Springs Desert Park
Alice Springs Desert Park
Beauty is everywhere
Kangaroo is on the menu
My new mate in The Outback
My new mate Chester and I in front of the famous Ayres Rock
Dena and I on our way to dinner
Chester and me
Chester has quite the personality
Dinner under the stars in Ayres Rock
We loved our table mates. They have been friends for decades and came from all around the world to see each other.
Dena and I enjoying a beer at dinner
Appreciating the world around me. Sunrise in Ayres Rock
Dena and I in Ayres Rock
Hat of the Aussies
Sunrise in Cairns near the Great Barrier Reef
Dena on our boat ride to Green Island
We stayed on Green Island in the Great Barrier Reef for a night
After 4:30 p.m., Green Island hotel guests have the island to themselves
Dena on the beach on Green Island
Koalas at Cairns Zoo
By the look on my face, I’m less than thrilled to hold the python
On the train coming back from Kuranda
Waterfall on the train ride from Kuranda
Daintree Rainforest was like being in Jurassic Park
These kangaroos were so sweet