AUSTRALIA – Coral writing, to tell you about the first international trip Mio and I set out on together, in May 2016. I still dream about this trip, it was that good.
As much as some people dread the details of travel, I actually love the process of planning, from mapping out hotels and the distance from the airport, to what parks we should walk through and best breakfast spots in town, so the chance to plan a SIX CITY two week tour of Australia was a dream come true. It would be Mio’s first time out of the United States, but my third time to Australia, so I knew we had to go big and get all the way to the Great Barrier Reef on this trip. It was quickly added to the itinerary, along with Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney, Nimbin, and Coffs Harbour.
To get to the Great Barrier Reef, once already in Australia we took a domestic flight into Cairns, and rented a car to drive to Port Douglas. Mio handled the driving, he usually does on our adventures, and took on driving on the opposite side of the road plus the opposite side of the car like a total pro. Then came the snorkeling!
I had signed us up for scuba diving lessons in anticipation of this trip, but panicked in the pool at the sheer number of steps in the process so it was decided we would stick to snorkeling. Huge shout out to the scuba school for the refund too!
Even when we weren’t surrounded by the Great Barrier Reef we were surrounded by Australian beauty while traveling. Seriously, this country is gorgeous!
The lovely city that I’ve had the pleasure of flying into for all three trips to Australia is Brisbane, pronounced by locals more like “Brizbin.” Trying to pronounce anything like an Australian is worth a go, and keep your ears open while in the country for all sorts of abbreviations and phrases that are totally unique to Aussies!
The Wheel Of Brisbane is a nice place to get up high… but it’s the South Bank Grand Arbour that really takes my breath away! Steel tendrils support the weight of a huge magenta mass of bougainvilleas for a shaded walk through the South Bank Parklands.
I’m a curious person, but Mio is adventurous! I wanted to see the kangaroos, and this man, no joke, TOUCHED one. A wild kangaroo. Strong legs ready to kick him. He said it felt like a cloud. I’ll have to take his word for it because I was not getting any closer! We even saw some kangaroo brawls going down, these guys are tough!
Australia wasn’t all beaches and kangaroos for us. My reason for the annual trip was to attend Mardi Grass, a cannabis legalization focused, weekend long rally in the city of Nimbin. Thousands of Australians, and tourists like Mio and I, march for cannabis during Mardi Grass weekend. We hope for news coverage of our plight, and that weekend becomes a safe haven for cannabis patients and enthusiasts that have no other “pot friendly” place to just exist.
We had the chance to meet a founder of one of the political parties in Australia, the incredibly bold Fiona Patten. She founded the Reason Party, previously called the Sex Party, and continues to lead the party today. They work for increased liberties and freedoms for Australians, including the freedom to consume cannabis, so Ms. Patten was speaking to the crowd over the weekend about political tactics to get the job done. I even got to snag a photo with her!
OZbongs is a glass and smoke-ware distribution company in Australia, one of the largest at that! They invited us to join them at their headquarters in Coffs Harbour after the weekend in Nimbin, and we hit the road to make it happen. I filmed a video for my YouTube channel and I got a chance to collaborate with one of their artists! It was a smoker’s dream to be in their warehouse, I mean WOW!
Along with the torch time in Coffs Harbour I also had a chance to work with Vira in Adelaide, which was a total blast. There aren’t as many women as men in the borosilicate glass world, so there’s a certain type of comradery between those of us that tough it out. Vira is a legend.
Mio and I had an unforgettable trip to Australia together, but to make it really a life lasting experiencing we also got tattoos while down under! We went to Kaleidoscope Tattoos and saw Stef, to get matching acorns like the Live Oak tree where we met as kindergarteners. Matching tattoos after only 4 months together?! Yep.
Freshly tattooed, we ended our Australian tour with a look at the street art along Bondi Beach. It changes periodically, I’d love to see what’s on these walls now, three and a half years later.
So that was our first international trip together. Or part of it at least. Missing is the time we showed up to the airport for one leg of our trip a full 24 hours early, but that’s a story for another time.
Til next time, here are a whole bunch of smiling shots of us as younger lovebirds on a whole new adventure together.