One of my favorite experiences I have had in Australia has been my weekend in the Blue Mountains. I went on this incredible field trip with my Learning in Outdoor Education class. We left very early on a Friday morning and took a two hour train ride to Katoomba, the town of Blue Mountains. Earlier in the week, we were able to pick people to be in our cabin for the weekend. Mandy, Zoe, Kelly, and Veronica were all in my cabin and it was great group of people to spend the whole weekend with.
Our first day we did a tourist-y hike where we climbed up 900 steps (boy, I am a lot more out of shape than I thought I was), and saw an unbelievable view of the famous three sisters. I hiked with my cabin members, our instructor Joel, and another cabin group. It was great to get to know the people in my cabin better and to meet new people.
After our first hike, we were sent to the grocery store to buy food for the weekend. Expecting hostel-like accommodation, I was pleasantly surprised with our cabin for the weekend. Also, we were in charge of heating up our own cabin for the night, so you could say we’re pyro experts now (; Each night we had our “lecture time” reflecting on our experiences around a campfire. And, fun fact Australians have never heard of s’mores so we improvised by using biscuits, cadbury chocolate, and flavored marshmallows (raspberry was disgusting).
Our instructors told us we had a difficult hike to prepare for the next day – and boy we’re they right. We hiked about 7km through a difficult terrain of the Blue Mountains. It took about 8 hours to climb all the way down and up the mountain and it was one of the hardest physical activities I have ever completed in my life. But besides, the hike being incredibly difficult it was super fun to get to hike with my cabin members and another cabin group, all day. Also the views from the hike were absolutely breathtaking. We ended our second day pretty much the same way as our first night. Our last day we hiked without instructors and with just our cabin group and it was a great way to end the trip.
On this trip everything had started to hit me all at once. I don’t know if it was the fresh air, or being disconnected from our phones the whole weekend, or the deep reflective talks we had around the camp fire – but I realized how incredibly lucky I am to be in Australia for the semester. I have had seen some of those most beautiful scenery in the world, I have been able to participate in experiences most people dream about, and I have met so many different types of people from all around the world. I could not be any more grateful and appreciative for the experiences I have had in Australia and that I even had the opportunity to make it down under (s/o to Mom and dad especially).
On the Blue Mountains trip was the first time I have noticed a change in myself since when I first got to Australia – and now I notice it more and more each day. Also, so happy that weekend in the Blue Mountains allowed me to get to know Zoe, Veronica, and Kelly better. And it’s been so nice finally feeling comfortable and able to be my weird self in front of all of these new people.
Australia, you never cease to amaze me. I am looking forward to the next month and a half that I have left here.