Ross' thoughts: traveling, hostels & Australia

We've been on the road for over 3 weeks, which is the longest "vacation" I've taken since I was a child.  To be honest it feels great.  Things are simple.  We wake up, eat, go for a run, visit interesting places, relax and do it all over again the next day.  There isn't any rush, no feeling of having to hurry though something because the weekend or the vacation is almost over.  It is just nice.

Traveling in general is going very well.  We both have a backpack (55 liters, not too big) and that's about it.  It's made it really easy to get from place to place and not having to be concerned with a lot of stuff.  We've been cooking a lot on our own, we typically only eat out about 3 meals a week, actually not much different than before we left.  Abby's meals in the hostels are just as delicious as they are at home.  Australia should be the most expensive country so 'eating in' has saved quite a bit of money.  As far as packing goes I think we managed to do very well.  As stated on the packing page I only have a few shirts and a pair of pants and shorts, but since we've been able to do laundry every few days we're "clean".

Hostel living took a few days to get used to, actually faster than I was expecting.  It's basically living in a college dorm again.  We, thankfully, have had (and will have) a private room, but share a kitchen area and bathroom.  All things considered it's been fine, you learn to live with it (the mess, the clutter and the people) again.  We've also managed to meet more people that I am sure we would have if we were in a hotel, which has been fun.  I think once we leave Australia we won't be in hostels anymore, but instead inexpensive hotels and guesthouses, hopefully that will still provide some interaction with people.  Overall I'd say I adjusted better than I thought and am glad we had the opportunity.

Australia has been very easy.  As expected, everyone speaking english makes it a pretty simple adjustment.  There's still the time of getting used to a new country and even though it's english, it's more the "Queen's English" and the accent adds some difficulty.  Sometimes someone will say something and I think we just give them a blank stare for a second, but the point usually gets across and it was a good way to 'ease in'.  What has really blow me away has been the wildlife, once you leave the major cities it's everywhere.  On parts of the Great Ocean Road koalas were as common as deer in Colorado, and kangaroos were almost as common as squirrels or rabbits.  Everywhere you look in Western Australia, even in Sydney, there was a Cockatoo, or some other "exotic" bird.  I really wasn't expecting that.  I just hoped I would get to see a koala or a kangaroo.  I will say I am a little disappointed since I waited for hours at the Sydney Aquarium with no platypus, but the koala walking across the road, in the wild for that matter, made up for it.  Other than the wildlife, it's been a great experience, the Great Ocean Road was amazing, the most picturesque coastal scenery I've ever seen.  The people have also been very friendly.  Walking down the street you seem to get a greeting, "hello" or "g'day mate", a little more than I think you do in the US.  Maybe it's just cause I'm that tourist stumbling down the street looking at everything but everyone seems a little more willing to ask how your days going, who knows.

All in all, it's been a great first country and a fun few weeks.  I'm excited to move on a see what Singapore, Malaysia and then Bali have to offer.

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