Country Number #1.

At the tender age of 16, I embarked on an adventure that would forever alter the course of my life – a journey to the captivating land of Australia. Visiting my cousin Sanju in Sydney opened my eyes to a world of wonders, allowing me to experience of new sights, sounds, and tastes that left an indelible mark on my soul.

I still remember it was childhood craze to travel abroad and no one in my family had passport, but because of this trip, my family was almost forced to make a new passport for me so maybe I can see Australia and understand that abroad is not as good as I always dreamt.

Anyway, with lot of hustle in Visa sponsorship, documentation and everything else, I finally made it to airport with my cousin’s parents. Made lot of mistakes, forgot the guitar at security, got stamped in wrong boarding pass, etc, but with all those mess ups, I made it to Thailand from where we had to change terminal and take flight to Sydney.

Without internet and not knowing any language, it was very difficult to understand where to go next, but when you have the will, you find the way and finally we made it to Sydney.

Unlike now, there were no mobile phones that time and we had to use Pay Per Min phone to my cousin for pickup.

Stepping off the plane and onto Australian soil for the first time was a moment filled with anticipation and excitement. As an Indian teenager accustomed to the vibrant chaos of my homeland, Sydney’s dynamic energy and cosmopolitan charm immediately captivated my senses. From the iconic landmarks to the bustling streets, every corner of the city seemed to pulse with life, beckoning me to explore its hidden treasures.

As the days turned into weeks, my time in Australia became a transformative journey of self-discovery and personal growth. From exploring the pristine beaches of Bondi to immersing myself in the rich tapestry of Aboriginal culture, every experience served to deepen my connection to this vibrant land and its people.’

For the first time in my life, I saw double decker trains, pigeon eating non veg, beef being sold so commonly and girls going topless on beaches, it all blew my mind.

In fact, I met 16 year old girl in the park who was pregnant and was in middle of deciding to keep the baby or not, which is an extremely unusual thing back in India. I realised that the world is really different in different parts of the planet.

Then, It was on New Year’s Eve that Sydney truly came alive in all its splendor. Amidst the throngs of revelers gathered along the glittering shores of Sydney Harbour, I witnessed a spectacle unlike any other – the world-renowned fireworks display illuminating the night sky in a symphony of light and color.

By the time I bid farewell to Australia after a month of unforgettable adventures, I knew that I had been forever changed by my time in Australia. It had ignited a passion for travel within me, a thirst for exploration that could never be quenched. From that moment on, I was determined to see the world with eyes wide open, embracing every opportunity to immerse myself in new cultures and experiences.

In retrospect, my journey to Australia was not just a vacation, but a profound awakening of the senses and the spirit. It taught me the value of embracing diversity, of stepping outside my comfort zone, and of finding beauty in the unfamiliar. And for that, I will always be grateful to Australia for igniting the flame of wanderlust within me and inspiring me to embark on a lifelong journey of discovery.