I’ve never had a twin, but I’m learning.
Since this trip began, my friend Warren and I have lived near-identical lives: we wear the same clothes, eat the same meals, and do the same things. If a song pops into my head one minute, he’s humming it the next. We joke about how many times we’re going to hear each other explain what we do for a living to everyone we meet.
(Having long ago been hammered with the broadcast rule of saying more with less, I’ve told him he can shorten his story to three words: “I design apps.” Warren being Warren, he hasn’t taken me up on the suggestion yet. I like to think this says a lot about both of our conversation habits.)
It’s been said that traveling together can make or break a friendship. Two weeks in, we’re doing just fine. What’s more remarkable is that we’re on this trip together in the first place, given, for a time, we were sworn enemies in elementary school: he, an English muffin; I, a French fry. It would have been unthinkable to our Grade 6 selves.
Talk of the trip started two summers ago, with the two of us sharing our hopes of making it to Australia one day soon. The conversation came and went, but the dream never faded.
Lo and behold, that day came soon enough indeed.
Tales from the road:
1. Kangaroos are the best. We saw at least half a dozen of them hopping around the edge of Canberra.
2. One thing about Australia: alcohol is expensive. It’s not uncommon to see pints selling for $13 at the bar. Goon, however, seems to operate under a different set of rules: you can buy five litres of box wine for $10. A deal being a deal, we thought it’d be a good idea. The truth? Nobody needs five litres of wine. We’re still lugging the unfinished box around.
3. One thing about pasta: there’s a right way and a wrong way of doing it. We made the worst pasta I’ve ever had: mushed tomatoes, half-sauteed peppers and fennel, and a heap of olives to add flavour. It’s sort of like England’s soccer team: the individual components are perfectly fine, but put them together and it falls apart.
4. Two weeks into our time in Australia, it’s nice to finally go to the beach. We spent the better part of our last day in Sydney at Manly Beach, surrounded by other sun-seekers. It was magnificent.
5. If I ever run for office, I’m campaigning on one issue and one issue alone: a hefty fine for anyone who reclines their seat on public transportation when someone’s sitting behind them.
Things I’ve seen:
1. Sydney Harbour.
It’s world-renowned for a reason — the harbour is absolutely beautiful. Rounding the bend near Mrs. Macquarie’s Point and seeing the Opera House for the first time was a treat.
2. Coogee Bay to Bondi Beach.
One of the best things we’ve done since being in Australia. We linked up with two Swedes from our hostel and headed for the trail: a six-kilometre walk along the coast, ending at one of the country’s most famous beaches.
3. The Blue Mountains and Three Sisters.
In my opinion, the best thing we’ve done since being in Australia. We went with a German and another Canadian to Katoomba by train, then hiked all day along the clifftop and right down to the forest floor.
(Header photo by Warren Jones)