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I Come From A Land Down Under

Ten years ago, I got married on a humid June day. Ten years and a day, I boarded a plane. First class. A fantasy honeymoon with my fantasy man. Ten years and three days later, I landed.

After flying for two days, the opposite side of the earth is a hard place at 9 in the morning.

So.

I went for a walk. Took in the famous bridge and the sail-whipped Opera House. I had my first encounter with a butt tree in a botanical garden where I almost got shat on by the biggest bats I’d ever seen.

The people spoke English in that otherworldly land. But everything else was exotic. Unfamiliar.

I’m going to that Other Land again.

The Rotary International Convention is in Sydney, Australia this year. In Rotary’s honor (or to their horror), I’m going to pen every post during my two-and-a-half-week jaunt Down Under to lyrics from the song of the same name.

I hope you’ll join me for a little talk about Rotary. Conventions are kool-aid fests, and I’ll be drunk on the stuff.

Maybe you’ll see how I pack for almost a month in a single carry-on bag. (Hint: MTM insists. No, he doesn’t care that it’s Winter. Or that I have to take hiking gear. And a formal gown. With shoes to match.)

If we can wade through the requirements, maybe, just maybe, we’ll renew our vows on our actual anniversary. Though we’ll be a day ahead of most readers……..does that mean we have to do it twice???

Maybe I’ll be able to hog-tie Mr. Rotary himself, Lou Mello, and get him to answer Reader Questions. (I hope you’ll ask Reader Questions, because I miss doing them.)

From today until June 16, I will be posting every day. Sometimes twice a day. Because Rotary is about doing good in the world through cultural understanding. And when I’m not doing Rotary things, I’ll be trying on a lot of new understanding.

With some wine on the side.

I hope you’ll join MTM and me for this Tenth Anniversary Adventure.

Have you ever been to Australia or New Zealand, Dear Reader? What do you recommend we do?

**********

I don’t *think* Meriwether Lewis ever went to Australia, though his Corps of Discovery journey may’ve been that exotic to him.

Especially with all the SEX going on.

Get your best Father’s Day read. Click below to purchase To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis in your favorite format.

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65 Comments Post a comment
  1. I did go to Sydney and Cairns

    May 26, 2014
    • Did you see the Great Barrier Reef? We’re not going that way this time, but we did last time.

      May 26, 2014
      • Yes, I did actually. It’s fantastic. In Cairns you can also get into a Hummer, and they take you on a real crazy ride! Plus, you get to eat kangaroo tail.

        May 26, 2014
  2. Wow! I’m so jealous! Sounds like you are in for another adventure.
    Lots of photos, please.

    May 26, 2014
    • This has been on the books for a decade. We agreed we’d go back for our 10th. The Rotary convention being there is an added bonus.

      May 26, 2014
  3. i see another adventure on the horizon. happy anniversary to both of you crazy kids ). yes, i’ve been, but to the west coast, my eldest daughter and her family live just south of perth, near the indian ocean. it is a beautiful and wondrous place, pretty much wherever you go. )

    May 26, 2014
    • Are you going back this summer, Beth? I really enjoyed your photos last time.

      May 26, 2014
      • thanks andra, and i’m staying put this summer, as they’re coming here to the northern hemisphere )

        May 26, 2014
  4. Safe travels Andra (and MTM) – New Zealand is one of our favorite places – you will have a ball xx

    May 26, 2014
    • We’re only going to the South Island. Lots of hiking planned on this trip. If you have a favorite South Island haunt, please let me know.

      May 26, 2014
      • The hiking is spectacular but two non-hiking things we loved were riding the Shotover Jets near Queenstown and taking a boat cruise on Milford Sound.

        May 26, 2014
      • Ooh. Thanks for these, Linda. We’ll be in Queenstown for three days. I’ll look these up.

        May 26, 2014
  5. I’m impressed that you can fit all into a single carry-on bag! I need a check-in bag just to go to Seattle 😉 I’ve never been to Australia although it’s on my list: we have friends in Perth, WA. Have a wonderful trip and Happy Anniversary!

    May 26, 2014
    • MTM is an expert packer, Marie. I get my stuff out, and he figures out how to get it all in the bag.

      May 26, 2014
      • Oh, my. Here’s an idea: record his packing on video so the rest of us can learn 🙂

        May 26, 2014
      • I may have to dig out my convertible dress. It’s my secret weapon. One dress = 10 looks.

        May 26, 2014
      • Dang, that’s smart!

        May 26, 2014
  6. Of course we will go with you. You may want to wear the formal gown under your travelling clothes. Will save packing it. (I of course am a fool)

    May 26, 2014
    • I could just wear the formal gown AS my traveling clothes, John. That would turn heads……..and be very uncomfortable for sleeping on the plane.

      May 26, 2014
  7. Oooo!!! Yay! Can’t wait to see your photos! So excited for you, Andra!

    May 26, 2014
    • This trip has been a decade in coming, Linda. I’m really excited to be going back.

      May 26, 2014
  8. Both Australia and New Zealand are on my bucket list. I’m very envious of your journey.

    May 26, 2014
    • You shouldn’t be envious of the journey, Jim. It’s a VERY LONG flight. I am not looking forward to that part.

      May 26, 2014
  9. What a wonderful experience, Andra. Australia is on my bucket list and I may never make it, so please enjoy it for me as well. See everything you can possibly see, have shrimp on the barbie, and say G’day mate as often as you are able without the locals looking at you like “what the heck is the matter with that stupid tourist.” And have loads and loads of fun.

    May 26, 2014
    • I’m most looking forward to my first real flat white in a decade. I got addicted to them when I was there, and nobody can really make them in Charleston. I get them sometimes when I go to a bigger city, but they don’t come with the accent, which is part of their allure. 🙂

      I hope you get there someday, Mary. It’s a bucket list item that worth moving all the way to the top. It could be a reward for moving.

      May 26, 2014
      • The flat white sounds yummy. I shall hope that I have that reward, it would be worth every penny.

        May 26, 2014
  10. I am envious of your trip. Australia seems like an amazing place. My father and uncle went there about 20 years ago. They took a train from one side of the continent to the other and had a fantastic journey.

    Enjoy, and happy anniversary!!

    May 26, 2014
    • I took a train from the top of the continent to the bottom ten years ago, and it was one of the worst travel experiences of my life. Ha.

      I didn’t know your dad had been there. You should’ve gone with them!!

      May 26, 2014
  11. Lance #

    Happy Anniversary

    I’ve always been fascinated with that part of the world. My cousin served 4 years in the air force and traveled their on cargo runs – aus & NZ and loved both.

    It’s on mine and Bobina’s “list”.

    May 26, 2014
    • I hope it’s right at the top, Lance, because it’s worth it.

      May 26, 2014
  12. Yeah, yeah we’ve all heard of Vegemite. But a true Aussie breakfast is baked beans or spaghetti on toast 😉

    May 26, 2014
  13. Happy Anniversary! Early. And Happy Rotary. I’ll send a reader question/s to Lou and YOU. Have fun and enjoy lots of the lovely wines from Australia. Their Sauvignon Blancs are lovely.

    May 26, 2014
    • Lou will love to answer questions. 🙂 I’m looking forward to seeing him and the Lovely Miss TK.

      May 26, 2014
  14. Happy, happy 10th to you both! Ed and I just celebrated our 27th on Friday with much Vegas debauchery. My actual gift to Ed will be a rim to river (to rim) hike of the Grand Canyon on Thursday and then exploring Lake Powell and Antelope Canyon on Friday. I suspect he’ll curse me for Thursday, but thank me for Friday. 🙂

    Have an awesome adventure! Can’t wait to hear all about it!

    May 26, 2014
    • I cannot WAIT to hear about the Grand Canyon hike. I want to do that with MTM. Actually, I want to spend a lot more time there with MTM. They have this geological tour that’s a week in the canyon with guides, and I really want to do that…….even though I’ll have to camp……..

      Happy Anniversary!!!

      May 26, 2014
  15. I’m looking forward to seeing The Land Down Under and Rotary through your eyes… I did enjoy Thailand last year.

    I have an an answer to your packing problem… go light and let MTM buy you new clothes when you get there.

    Happy Anniversary, Andra… you know the 10th Anniversary Gift is traditionally Tin, Aluminum or Diamond Jewelry… please do let us know what he gives you.

    May 26, 2014
    • MTM gave me the ability to walk 444 miles, and he makes money so I can spend it faster than he can make it trying to be an author. I say that’s worth more than diamonds.

      May 26, 2014
  16. Australia has always been my dream trip and I’ve not gotten there….. yet. Happy anniversary to you and MTM. Looking forward to your blogs about rotary. Will you just be in Sidney or are you going to get out and about?

    May 26, 2014
    • We’re going to New Zealand – South Island only, and Melbourne. We’re driving from Melbourne back to Sydney. We’re trying to see parts of Australia we didn’t see on our honeymoon. I hope you get there, Lisa. It is worthy of dreams.

      May 26, 2014
  17. Happy Anniversary, Andra! Our 20th is this summer and I don’t have anything planned… maybe we will re-read your exciting Australia adventures and pretend we to traveled with you. 😉 Enjoy Australia!

    May 26, 2014
    • I think it would be fun to have a bunch of people here go on a trip with us. For real. Not vicariously. I hope you enjoy your 20th, Lisa.

      May 26, 2014
      • A “field trip” with a group of your followers would be so much fun, Andra. 🙂

        May 26, 2014
  18. Can’t wait to “see” these places with you! Have a Happy Anniversary and a wonderful time celebrating it!

    May 26, 2014
    • We plan to, Karen. Michael and I both have long, stressful sprints to Thursday.

      May 26, 2014
  19. Wow! Happy Anniversary! Have fun. I’m so jealous!

    May 26, 2014
  20. No, we’ve never been to the Land Down Under. What a fabulous way to commemorate your 10th anniversary, Andra. I love that you both are so ready to celebrate milestones and that you share it with us is a gift. I’m very eager to experience through you. oxo

    May 26, 2014
    • Milestones or no, life passes just the same. We might as well spangle it with a few big memories. MTM said we might as well plan to go back for our 50th……

      May 26, 2014
  21. Katy and I celebrated 24 years on the 12th of May! We have never been out of the U.S. though. I am happy that you two are able to do it and I know you will have a blast. Happy Anniversary Andra and MTM.

    May 26, 2014
    • Thanks, James. But you’ve been to Germany, right? You just don’t remember it. Or am I confused?

      May 26, 2014
      • I was born in Germany to my German mother. My German mother placed my sister and I at an orphanage in aschafenburg. My Dad was stationed in Frankfurt, met my mother in Austria at a Bingo game. After being married and 2 miscarriages they decided to adopt my sister and then wound up adopting me. I was 1 when I was adopted but remember nothing of it. I have a German passport from that age. Sorry for the long reply. I am leaving out a lot of detail but hopefully clears it up.

        May 30, 2014
      • Oh, I see the confusion now. GAH… Katy and I, as a married couple, have never been out of the U.S. I went to Canada once with a group. Katy went to Mexico before she met me. I went to Hawaii with my mom and sister when we were about 8 I guess. Dont remember anything from that trip either.

        May 30, 2014
  22. Jim Kane #

    Happy Anniversary to you both and have a great time! I enjoyed To Live Forever, well done Andra!
    Blessings and Regards!
    Jim

    May 26, 2014
    • Thank you for reading, Jim, and for taking the time to write such a great review.

      May 26, 2014
      • Jim Kane #

        You are welcome!

        May 26, 2014
  23. Just catching up and getting ready for lunch with the Lovely Miss TK at the Sydney Tower.
    Fire away with questions when ready, and no, we are not going to eat kangaroo rump.

    May 26, 2014
    • I’ve already got two for you. I will corral you when I see you. 🙂 I’m glad you’re having fun.

      PS Kangaroo is good. Tastes like deer.

      May 26, 2014
      • BambiRoo?!?! The Horror!!

        May 27, 2014
  24. tarakianwarrior #

    Ah, another adventure! Yay! I’m looking forward to the honeymoon. 😉

    May 27, 2014
    • I’m looking forward to getting there, Lori. It takes a looooooooong time, but it’s worth it.

      May 27, 2014
  25. Happy Anniversary Andra – Ma Fightback and I wil be there in November!

    May 27, 2014
  26. A single carry on bag?!!! What are you nuts? Take everything that you need and check it through. Life is too short and precious to be on the other side of the world without that which you makes you whole. Live a little, ‘ya know?

    May 27, 2014
    • Every time I check a bag, it gets lost. I’m cursed that way. So part of my carry on-itis is me.

      May 28, 2014
      • Oh dear. Lost bags aren’t any fun. So sorry to hear of your ongoing travel difficulties.

        [Still, only one bag? I just don’t know about this…]

        May 28, 2014

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