Update #3: Alex Adventures Abroad

Welcome to my third update about my adventures abroad in Sydney, Australia! Since my last update, a lot has happened to me in the land down under. I finished my summer class, explored more of the fantastic food scene in Sydney, toured around Indonesia, sand surfed in Port Stephens, and much more.

However, to get things started, I've put together a video of my latest adventure in Bali, Indonesia. You can check it out below!

Week #5: Food, Food, and More Food

While I only included details that happened during the weekends in my last update, my past four weeks have been action-packed. Like really action-packed. So I've grouped this update by week!

Nevertheless, let's get right into the swing of things. With the final week of my summer class, I took advantage of my free time and checked out some restaurants that I wanted to try out. The highlights included Bowl'd in Balmain, The Copper Mill in Alexandria, Aqua S in the CBD, and The Grounds in Alexandria. All were incredible and come highly recommended by your favorite foodie.

And when I wasn't eating, I started studying for the final exam for PSYCH 1001 and, most importantly, packing for my trip to Indonesia!

Week #6: Bali, Indonesia

The first few days of this week were some of the busiest I can remember for a while. My final exam and the due date for my final book manuscript were both on Wednesday, so I rarely left the library on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. But after a few days of misery, I hopped onto a plane to Bali, Indonesia – and it was paradise from there on out!

I traveled to Indonesia through a travel company that brings groups of young people to places around the world. While some members of my tour group already knew each other, most of us on the tour came in not knowing a soul. There were ten of us on the trip, and we all got along great!

To get things started, I've marked Bali with a pin on the map below so you can get a better sense of where Bali is. It was about a six-hour flight away from Sydney – longer than I initially expected, but really not that bad I was in the air.

As many of my friends and family members recently discovered, I can talk about my trip to Indonesia for years – well, maybe not years, but you get the picture. It was definitely one of my best trips to date! So as to not bore you, I've decided to only include the highlights of my time in Indonesia. If you want to hear more about it, you know how to reach me!

In my first few days in Bali, I...

  • Explored the city of Kuta and quickly realized that nearly every store in Bali has a small offering in front called Canang Sari - a small quadratic basket woven from palm or banana leaves and includes flowers, oils, salt, money, and cookies
  • Toured the Uluwatu Temple on the side of a cliff while monkeys tried to steal all of our belongings
  • Experienced the crazy nightlife that many people know Bali for at Sky Garden
  • Walked around the iconic Padang Padang Beach and had happy hour at Single Fin with stunning views
  • Learned to surf and watched the most beautiful sunset at Canggu Beach
Map of Bali, Indonesia

Map of Bali, Indonesia

Week #7: Bali, Indonesia and Gili Islands, Indonesia

My time in Bali continued with many more adventures, to say the least. Such as, I...

  • Ate lunch at the Jatiluwih Red Rice Terraces – the only place in the world you can eat red rice
  • Had not one, but two, full-body massages at our hotel spa
  • Sipped on Kopi Luwak coffee beside an enormous waterfall – if you haven't heard of Kopi Luwak coffee, it's the world's most expensive coffee which sells between $100 - $500 per pound in the United States and is produced from coffee beans which have been digested by a certain Indonesian cat-like animal called a civet cat
  • Took at boat around the Bali Sea and saw nearly 100 dolphins – and no, I'm not exaggerating
  • Ate at a local Indonesian family's home and toured their fruit farm

For the final three days, we headed over to the Gili Islands, which are about two hours away by ferry from Bali. Again, I've marked their location with a pin on the map below. While I expected Bali's beauty to come from the ocean and the sand, the Gili Islands definitely stole the show in this regard. I've never seen clearer water or whiter sand in my life – pictures can really not capture the beauty of this place.

In the Gili Islands, I...

  • Learned to scuba dive and explored a reef outside of Gili Trawangan
  • Watched another incredible sunset on an ocean-swing after a bike ride around Gili Trawangan
  • Snorkeled, snorkeled, and then snorkeled some more around Gili Air
  • And once again experienced the amazing nightlife of Indonesia

While my trip to Indonesia was full of big experiences like the ones above, the trip was amazing because of the smaller moments and the people that I shared them with. Thank you to everyone who made my trip amazing, and I'll definitely be back!

Map of Gili Islands, Indonesia

Map of Gili Islands, Indonesia

Week #8: Hunter Valley, Australia and Anna Bay, Australia

After my trip to Indonesia, I arrived back in Sydney jetlagged and exhausted, but I did not let that stop my adventures! The next day, I headed on another trip to see Hunter Valley and Anna Bay. Both of these places are only a few hours away by car, and I've marked them both on a map below.

Again, I'm going to put my trip highlights in bulleted form to stay as concise as possible. So while on the trip, I...

  • Got up close and personal with baby kangaroos and koalas at the Australian Reptile Park
  • Went to two wineries and a craft brewery in Hunter Valley  – Australia's equivalent of Napa Valley
  • Sand surfed on enormous sand dunes in Port Stephens
  • Unsuccessfully went whale-watching and ate some of the freshest Mahi Mahi ever in Anna Bay

And lastly, after I got back, I took some well-deserved rest. It was an amazing two weeks of travel, but I was definitely excited to get back to Sydney and to get back into a routine.

As I like to say it, it was an unforgettable vacation away from a vacation!

Map of Hunter Valley, Australia and Anna Bay, Australia

Map of Hunter Valley, Australia and Anna Bay, Australia

It's crazy to think that I've already been studying abroad for two months, but I'm making sure to appreciate every opportunity and experience that I have here. Time truly does fly when you're having fun!

Be on the lookout for my next update in a few weeks, and you can always check me out on Facebook and Instagram.

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