Snapshots of Sydney

In The Art of Travel Spring 2018, Sydney, 15. Farewells by Brennan2 Comments

I know that as soon as I touch down in the United States, the ensuing few weeks will consist of me trying to articulate my experience in Sydney over the past four months, with little success. How can I put into words the emotions and adventures and hardships and incredible lust for life that came out of my time here? I can’t even think about describing a place that I haven’t said goodbye to yet, nor am I quite ready to. When I started to reflect on my favorite moments from the past few months, I realized that this list was quite extensive despite not even encapsulating the full picture. Though a list isn’t as poetic as perhaps my farewell to Sydney should be, I know that on the plane ride home I will end up pouring out my heart on scribbled pages. In the meantime, here are some snapshots of Sydney Spring 2018:

  • Speed-boating and island-hopping around Sydney Harbor…until the boat broke down…
  • Cliff-jumping & making friends while down in the water (paddle boarders, families on boats)
  • Road trip to Kiama, the world’s biggest blowhole (this trip may have involved getting in fights with angry, old cafe managers, surfing at The Farm, getting herbal goods from said Farm, incredible sunsets, and pink skies full of bats)
  • Skinny dipping at Bondi beach
  • Laneways Festival (a day of mimosas, dancing, and pure joy)
  • Weekdays doing homework at the beach
  • Byron Bay (became one with the hippies, spent a night singing in a parking lot in the rain with musicians from around the world, braved treacherous roads to find a hidden beach, mediated at huge waterfall at Nightcap National Park)
  • Sunbathing at parks around Sydney, reading or listening to music
  • Melbourne—amazing art, graffiti alleyways, comedy show, local AFL game
  • Hunter Valley Wine Tour (one of the more touristy activities of the trip…)
  • Cheap student tickets for indie films at the Dendy
  • Climbing rock formations along the coast
  • Royal Botanical Garden
  • Old-school speakeasy nights at Palmer & Co.
  • Camping at insane beach festival 5 hours away from Sydney
  • Ferris wheel with locals at Darling Harbour
  • “Brenda”

Of course, Spring Break gets its own category altogether…

  • Hours and hours of travel throughout various countries (budget airlines that didn’t even give you free water on a 9 hour flight, sleeping in the very religious Malaysian airport)
  • Wandering up and down the streets of Thailand at 12:30am trying to find our single-bed Airbnb for 3-4 people after the longest, sketchiest van ride with complete strangers…ended up in a tuk-tuk that was blasting Pitbull and flashing neon lights
  • Pretending to be resort guests to use their pool and drink clean water
  • Culture shock…and realizing what was safe and what was not
  • Walking to a jetty and laying on a floating buoy watching jet skiers 
  • Intense long journey up a mountain to our second Airbnb, which was totally worth it
  • Met by Mu (sweetest woman in the world) who immediately cut us fresh papaya and dragonfruit while we swam in the pool
  • Riding ATVs through the jungle, then on the road up a mountain to the Big Buddha statue
  • Speeding back down the mountain, while looking out over the valleys to the turquoise ocean
  • Jet skiing that same evening, found elephants on a tiny beach far out
  • Thai food mishaps––another part of the culture shock
  • Colorful Thai temples & alter that made gunshot noises
  • Phi Phi Islands…scariest boat ride of my life!!! Even the practically 13-year old captains thought we were going to capsize. We got thrown out of our seats and had to literally hold on for dear life––BUT once we got there, there were the most beautiful emerald green waters, huge cliffs, and monkeys vying for tourists’ food
  • Incredible sunsets and sunrise swims
  • Indonesia’s Nyepi Day…grocery store chaos to get sustenance for the next day, authentic parade the night before, 24 hours of silence, no wifi, can’t even turn on the lights (police came over to tell us to shut them off at night)…but most beautiful night sky since the whole island had no electricity, lit candles and hung out as a big group
  • Salsa dancing at La Favela
  • Bouncer w/ machine gun, stray dogs, dark alleyways, bootleg alcohol
  • Last day nightmare––the insane attempt to find a working ATM while Eli needed to go to the hospital and everyone else had gone on a tour of Ubud

Thank you, Sydney. I’ll be back for you one day!

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(Image: A View of Tamarama Beach; Source: Brennan Hart)


  1. This is such a great summary of how this semester has gone down. What you said about struggling to explain what its been like abroad has been such and issue of mine since coming home. Its almost overwhelming to think about everything we’ve gone through, and its hard to articulate these situation as significant things that helped to better us or test our wills. Your lists here really reminded me of everything Sydney has given us, and I’m about to copy/paste them into my notes app to reference whenever anyone asks me how Sydney was 🙂

  2. Holy moly… Sounds like you truly had the experience of lifetime. I think it’s okay to take a breather before trying to put an experience like this into coherent prose. You’ll be reflecting on it for years, and luckily you’ve got a week-by-week rundown to pull up on this blog if you forget any of the events on this list. All of these items are intriguing and will make for great stories when you get home- safe travels!

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