My winter in the Snowy Mountains

“When I think back on the girl in the cubicle, the one who was told that she couldn’t ever be happy anywhere if she couldn’t be happy with that life she held back then, I’m so glad that she took a leap of faith and didn’t listen to naysayers. Rather than acting out of fear and holding onto a life that didn’t feel right, I acted out of love for myself and curiosity for the world and took a chance.’ – A Thousand New Beginnings, Kristin Addis

Has it been so long already since my last blog post? Sorry! It takes time and patience for me to actually sit down and write. I really enjoyed my time at home, it always seems too short to get rid of the jet lag, spend time with my family and catch up with friends.

After my flight with Cathay Pacific with a short stop over in Hong Kong, I arrived in Sydney. It was already dark and even though I had been to Sydney before, I felt a bit lost. Taking the train to Sydney Central Station from the airport is luckily quite easy. A quick thank you to the backpacker who gave me his Opal card (a bus, train and ferry card for Sydney) on his departure. I can’t shake off doing at least a bit of organising beforehand and was glad I had printed out my directions to the hostel (yep, I’m old school and do not use my smartphone a lot). Arriving at the hostel, I was jetlagged and looking at the dirty hostel bed, I had to start crying. Everything looks better after a hot shower though and receiving texts from my sister and my parents. I had been to Sydney before and even though I think it is beautiful with the view onto the Harbour Bridge, the iconic Opera House and the green Botanical Gardens, I wanted to get away from the bustle of the city.

The next day, I took the train to the Blue Mountains. I felt immediately comfortable in Katoomba and was very lucky with my hostel. A 20 minute walk led me to the famous Three Sisters and Echo Point. I was overwhelmed – the Blue Mountains just have a special energy and the view is magical. I spent a few days walking in the National Park (for example, Katoomba Falls were pretty quiet when I was there and it was wonderful to just listen to nature and look out onto this mesmerizing scenery) and relaxing in the cafes. My body does not cope well with long flights, so I always try to take special care of it when I arrive. Other people spend their money on tours, I buy healthy food and try to stay in quiet hostels.

“A New day: Be open enough to see opportunities. Be wise enough to be grateful. Be courageous enough to be happy.” – Steve Maraboli

My new job was to start soon, so I took the train back to Sydney, then the Greyhound bus to Canberra. Having one afternoon to explore the capital city, I walked to the war memorial where I joined a free tour. I would like to have another opportunity to discover Canberra – I feel like there is more to it than on first sight where it does not look very exciting. I spent one night in the YHA, then took another bus to Jindabyne. Arriving at the hostel, I was lucky – I was the only person in an eight bed dorm. Lake Jindabyne with the mountains in the background is just beautiful.

No matter where you travel to, there are always kind people in this world. I thought getting to my new work place (and accommodation) would not be much of a problem – think again. The only taxi service in town would not pick up and walking was not an option (the distance was more than an hour and there was no walk for pedestrians, you have to walk along the highway). I asked the visitor center and one of the ladies called her husband to bring me to my new, temporary home. He even helped me bring my luggage in and showed me how to turn the gas heater on. Thank you again for helping me out! I am so grateful for the kindness a lot of people have shown to me on my travels.

By the way, not having a driver’s licence in Australia – doable, but difficult. I never had the money to do my driver’s licence in Germany (I did spent the money I saved up on a flight ticket to New Zealand 😉 ) and I am still on a learner’s licence here in Oz. I like to be independent and tend to feel isolated if I am living somewhere without a proper train or bus connection.

But back to my first day in Jindabyne. I was the first one to move in and I was glad to have a few days by myself to relax and to get used to the place. I remember kangaroos just sitting outside our flat. A few days later, I started my new job as a receptionist at a motel. I was really lucky as my colleagues and my boss are such funny and friendly people, I miss talking to them. My boyfriend joined me in Jindabyne three weeks later and another lucky draw was our roommate.

What do you think about when you hear Australia? Probably not immediately snow. But here I was, at the ski fields. I haven’t skied a lot, so I can’t really compare the snow to Japan or Austria or France. But good enough for me 😀 With a free ski pass, it was fun to see little improvements in my skiing and learning something new (at the end of the season, I managed to do double blues – yeeeehaaa :D). But I do realize I am not the one for the big challenges, I mostly enjoy the views and being outdoors.

“When the fears come, I choose to see them as passing clouds in the sky and I let them go on their way.” – Louise Hay

My boyfriend didn’t have many days off, so we could not spend a lot of time together. As in every job, there were good and bad days. But thankfully I had such fun colleagues! I’m just reading through my diary – I was so excited when it started snowing down where we were living – glittering snow, sunshine and these deep blue skies.

 

On one of our days off, we went to Yarrangobilly Caves – I can only recommend swimming in the outside Thermal Pool. We did the Sugar Pine Walk near Tumut and Batlow and decided to cross over to the Victorian Border for a little bit. On another day, we visited the Parliament in Canberra. I feel like I got to know a tiny part of the diversity in Australia, how different landscapes can look like in this huge country.

This is from my diary in August: “I have days where I run out of motivation or where I’m tired or I miss my family, but I really enjoy it here in general. (…) How could you be sad when the sun is out, you hear all these different birds chirping (or for the Kookaburra laughing out loud) and you look at this blue blue blue sky?

In mid-September, we had our last days of work and we were looking forward to new adventures. Spring time, road trip time!

arkwrightpoint2
Arkwright Point, part of our road trip on the way up to Queensland.
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