Up, Up and Away! – June 3rd (Day 1)

It’s 11pm on June 2nd, and I have just returned home from a weekend in Montreal camping. I have been driving for 7 hours straight from Montreal to Toronto. I’m tired, sore from sleeping on the ground and haven’t showered in 3 days. One would expect I would hed straight to the shower and then to bed to sleep it all off. My evening however, played out a little differently…

With the first of my three flights before touching down in Australia leaving at 330pm, I had only a limited amount of time that night available to make sure I finished my laundry, packed my bags, and confirmed I have all my documents organized. With such a short changeover time between trips, many people would start to panic. However, it didn’t come as a shock to me that I was as calm and cool as a cucumber. Constantly being on the go and in transit is where I truly believe I thrive. Keeping the  momentum going is ideal. I wouldn’t have my life any other way.

After a couple hours of organizing and managing to fit all my belongings in a suitcase, I headed to bed in anticipation for my journey ahead. I couldn’t wait to wake up as my next 3 weeks I’d be living an absolute dream.

With the sound of my obnoxious alarm, I was awake and ready for the day I had been counting down to for the last 3 months. After a lovely sushi lunch with a lifelong friend, I was headed to Toronto Pearson International Airport.

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The “Matheson” Bento Box.

When a Dream Becomes Reality. 

Arrive at airport departures. Print boarding passes. Drop off checked baggage. Go through USA Customs. Security.

I’m ready to go. There is nothing left that is between me and Australia… Oh wait, well I guess there is an hour flight to Detroit… and a 5 hour flight to Los Angeles… and a 15 hour flight to Sydney… but that’s kid’s stuff 😉 All I have with me is my backpack filled with a laptop, camera, travel books and a pillow – that’s all I need for a long day of travelling. An obvious stop at Starbucks was necessary before boarding. The barista at the Starbucks was wonderful. He was incredibly friendly and was genuinely interested in my travels. Thank you Mr Starbucks Barista Boy for making my Venti Americano and making my day THAT much better 🙂

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While I sit in the Starbucks in Toronto Pearson International Airport. (as I write)

My flight is scheduled to board at 3pm, which leaves me with about half and hour to get out all my feelings before I head up, up and away.  I remember about a year and a half ago sitting in the airport writing a similar blog post. Read it here –> Last Few Days in Canada (2012). I look back at how I felt then, and I don’t feel as though I am reading about the same person. I was so scared to branch out, get away from what I called home, separate myself from what I thought was “me” and how I defined myself. I was naive and blind to the world, and was living in a self-constructed bubble. I reflect back to that day at the airport when my friends dropped me off and I was a complete mess. I felt so lost. I didn’t feel ready to leave “home” and be on my own for 6 months. I even remember how I felt on all of my flights to Australia – you’d expect to see a young girl beaming with excitement and a smile you couldn’t wash off… but I was very uneasy and unsure of what I was about to get myself into.

I sit now in a similar location in the Toronto Airport a year and a half later a completely changed person. I’m a confident traveller, not afraid to strike up a conversation with a fellow Starbucks addict sitting beside me, and also willing to present my personalized business cards for those interested in following my Best Jobs Australian experience. I can whole-heartedly say that my experience in Australia on exchange has changed my life. It has also began shaping my future as a globe-trotting-nomad-wandering-travelbug bitten- travel social media enthusiast.

My flight has just been called and my name was on the intercom! Thats a first! 🙂 It’s finally beginning to feel real! I don’t think it is possible to explain in writing how excited I am right now. I’m anxious to experience Australia again but as the new “me.” I’m ready to embrace everything that comes to me, and push myself to my limits to immerse myself into the Australian culture. I’m ready to learn from the many people I met, and the experiences I participate in, in order to further inspire others to make travel a key component in their life.

Though I have travelled to many other locations across the globe, Australia has and always will hold a special place in my heart as a youth traveller, and as a Canadian. It is the ideal location for young Canadians to explore as everything is at their fingertips. It’s a place to discover who you are, and how you want to live the rest of your life. Whether you are interested in exploring the indigenous culture in the Northern Territory, to cuddling with koalas, kangaroos and wallabies in South Australia, to lounging on the many pristine beaches on both of the coasts – you will not be disappointed.

I feel extremely privileged and thankful for the opportunity to visit Australia again at such a young age – as many people never get to even visit it once in their life. With saying that, I understand the mentality that goes through a lot of youth’s mind when it comes to travelling abroad and potentially alone. “It’s not possible.” “I can’t do that alone!” “I’ll get lost.” “It’s too expensive.” All of those thoughts and more went through my mind multiple times before I boarded my first flight to Australia in January 2012. It’s a very hard concept to grasp that a world 24 hours away will “click” and “mesh” with your lifestyle in Canada. I can assure you that it is A LOT easier than you would think. If you are interested in a unique comparison post about the similarities between Canadians and Australians in detail, make sure you check out a post by the only Canadian left in the Best Jobs contest, Greg Snell. Back in the Day – Aussieland vs. Canadia.

In other EXCITING news…

It is truly an HONOUR and privilege to announce that Tourism Australia has featured my blog on the youthful section of their website. Make sure you check out the australia.com website for all your auzzie needs, and follow this link to see what I am up to throughout my time covering the “Best Jobs in the World” contest in Australia. Click here –> There’s Nothing Like Australia for Work and Play! 

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Isn’t that neat? ^ – FEATURED on the australia.com website!

Next, I wanted to take some time to send out a few thank you’s to various people who have got me to where I am today:

Starting off with my good high school friend Felicia. Thank you for informing me on the amazing opportunity that Campus Perks was offering to inspiring travel bloggers. I can’t thank you enough for thinking of me and sending me over this information. You get the biggest and best souvenir 😉

The Campus Perks team (Joanna) and specifically Nadia! It has been an absolute pleasure to work with you over the last 3 months. I can whole-heartedly say that you have helped bring out a side of me I never thought existed, and you have helped me steer my future to being a little bit brighter. Nadia, you have been there for me from the start and have truly inspired me to keep reaching towards my absolute best. It has been an honour to work with such a well organized and managed team at Campus Perks, and I hope I make you all proud when I am in Australia!

The amazing team at Samsung Canada. I have been a huge Samsung supporter for many years, with one of my first cell phones being a Samsung flip phone. I recently changed over to the Samsung Galaxy S3 and never been happier with a phone before. I am ever so grateful for Samsung providing me with the NEW Samsung Galaxy Camera to assist with documenting my adventure. I am positively overwhelmed with the thousands of apps, and features that I continue to find on a daily basis that make connecting to one’s social media channels a lot easier. With the camera having Wifi and Data capabilities, it makes instantly uploading pictures (Instagram) and experiences (Twitter, Facebook, WordPress) a lot easier. It allows me to share my present state with others, therefore helping them visualize they are always with me. The Samsung Galaxy Camera continues to blow me away and I am very excited to use it to it’s full potential to capture the beauty of the world down under. Thank you Samsung!

Virgin Australia. I want to thank you in advance for the many flights I will be taking before, during and after my adventure in Australia. I look forward to meeting your team and showing the world how wonderful Virgin Australia.

Last, but definitely not least, the ladies at the Los Angeles and Sydney offices for Tourism Australia. You are all rock stars. I don’t think it is possible to put into words the appreciation I have for everything you have done for me. It has been an amazing experience already and I haven’t even touched down in Australia yet. Thank you for sharing your passion about Australia and helping to inspire me to share this with the rest of the world.

There are many others who have been there for me from the start and I truly can say I couldn’t of done it without you. I have an amazing support group back at school and at home and it means so much that you have been with me the whole way through. I look forward to sharing my experiences as a youthful-Canadian-recent grad-wanderlustful traveller with you and hope to inspire you to think about boarding a flight to the land down under.

It’s go time! I hope you have the chance to follow some of my adventure and I look forward to hearing your feedback on my trip.

Until next time,

Sam Clarke

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4 thoughts on “Up, Up and Away! – June 3rd (Day 1)

  1. Felicia Piemontese says:

    I’ve been keeping up with your blog posts but for some reason just saw this first one now! SOOO excited and happy for you and that I was able to send this opportunity your way. I knew you were absolutely perfect for this when I got the phone call from Campus Perks. Looks like you’re having an AMAZING time so far!!

    Felicia 😀

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