Saturday, January 22, 2011

Blog 1: Down Under Baby!

Good'ay mate! My name is Shelby and I have a passion for traveling. Last year I went to China. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. It certainly had its ups and downs, but in the end I couldn’t believe what an amazing trip it was. This year I have the opportunity to visit Australia and New Zealand. A trip that amazing, incredible, and exciting I simply could not let slip through my fingers. In June of 2011 I will be making a trip literally half way across the world to see new cultures and the marvels the world has to offer in both Australia and New Zealand.

Growing up I have always wanted to visit Australia. I basically grew up watching “The Crocodile Hunter”. Since before I can even remember I was fanaticizing about visiting the places Steve Erwin went; seeing the outback and visiting Australia Zoo. Later on in my life I ‘discovered’ the beautiful landscape of New Zealand (from the comfort and safety of my computer desk) and automatically knew I wanted to see it in person. An opportunity such as this one where I can visit two of the places I have dreamed about in one trip makes me ecstatic! I’m going on this trip for the adventures we are sure to have and excitement of a new and foreign land.

Traveling is an experience that has opened my eyes to new lands and people. I would defiantly recommend it ;) By traveling, our “normal” literally gets flipped upside down. We are able to look past what we normally see and are capable of stepping out of our shells to experience a new culture. By only understanding the country we live in, we are constantly looking at other nations through a thick wall of bias. When we travel, we break down this bias, and are able to look at the world with new eyes. What I hope I can achieve by going on this trip is to see not only the world in a new light, but myself as well. Last year after the China trip, I had learned so many new things about myself. I learned about new tastes and interests I now have, how I react in certain situations, and how to stress my limits to experience more. I’m going on this trip to discover myself. …Well, that and the Outback!

I’m looking forward to many things on this trip. I can’t wait to see the Great Barrier Reef and all of the organisms that live there. I’m taking zoology this year and I’ve learned many interesting things about marine life. I’m excited to see it in person! I want to be able to recognize the organisms and say “Oh! I know what that is! It’s a free-living gastropod!” or “Hey look! It’s a sponge with a leucon body form!” I’m also excited to see the Sydney Opera House and learn more about it. I would love see and will always be on the lookout for a kangaroo, a wombat, and those crazy rabbits. And, of course, I cannot wait to hear the accent! …Hopefully I will pick up some of the Australian phrases, because how awesome would that be!? I also would like to see and meet the Maori along with the indigenous people if I get the chance. I can’t wait for the New Zealand landscape!

Learning about the place you plan on visiting is always a good idea, whether it’s a trip downtown, to a new state, or to a new country. You have to know why you’re going somewhere. The answer to this question cannot be as easily answered as, “Because it’s popular.” Why is it popular? How was it important to the region? What is the historical background? Why and how did it come to be here? How did the landmark affect the culture and the nation as a whole? Did it result in changing the social, economic, or political aspects of the country? As travelers we need to be able to answer these questions. You can go somewhere and see something truly amazing… but without the background knowledge on the topic, all you have are empty pictures. The “so what” factor is one of the keys to filling those pictures – so is having a good time and creating good memories! I feel like I could have known more about China before I went there last year, even though we studied the culture extensively. Hopefully this year I can learn more before we leave to make the trip even more memorable.

Join me as I document the next upcoming months as I prepare for my trip and for the 2 weeks we will be in Australia and New Zealand!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Shelby! It's going to be another great adventure, and I'm so glad you're joining us. I'm eager to see how you compare these two experiences and expand your love for traveling. I think this adventure will provide some unique experiences and I would encourage you to share your passions with our new group.

    Mr. Schagrin