Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Planning for Australia

In early 1993, I had a partner of six years die of AIDS at home. It was a long tough battle for both of us. By summer of that year, I decided I was going to use my frequent flyer miles to go to Australia. I had my tickets for two weeks in December and one week in January, went to a travel agent in San Francisco who planned a wonderful multi-city itinerary for me that included some special train trips, some short haul flights, and all lodging was in an exotic place. It was the perfect healing trip.
Then...or rather during this time, I had met someone and we started seeing each other. I told him about my trip and said he could come along or wait for me. He fussed about the cost, but I refused to back down on my trip fearful this would be a short term romance; therefore, I would live with regrets about not having my dream trip. He finally relented and I called my travel agent. I still had enough miles for a second ticket. The agent could not find a frequent flyer ticket for both of us even if I changed my dates. Then he found it impossible to fond a revenue ticket where we could travel together even though we were willing to pay for the ticket. With all of this hassle, I gave in, cashed in my seats and re-booked the miles for two tickets to Europe, since my new boyfriend had never been there. I had been three times at that point. An Australian trip was a crushed dream that I never forgot.
This September will be our 15 year anniversary, so I think the timing is perfect to finally get to Australia and I am bound and determined to make it happen. Being 15 years older, I am not hoping, planning, or expecting the HOT time I had planned, but I do want to see a lot of the country.
Trying to figure out dates is a puzzle. I teach at one of the universities here and in years past, we were done for winter by December 14th and we took off right after that. This year, the holidays have been a bit bizarre. Our Easter break was shorter than normal due to National holidays. My best guess is that we will be able to leave by December 12th or worst case scenario, one week later, the 19th. Hungarians do not plan that far ahead, but I will need to try to push for an answer. We usually take four weeks, since I don't start teaching again until February.
My first task is to get a FROMMER'S travel guide for Australia. I know we want to be in Sydney for New Years for the fireworks display, but other than that we are free to roam the country. I know precious little about your countries regions so I need to really do some research. I have collected some articles from the web when something strikes me, but have not gone back to review them. I read about Kangaroo Island and that sounded fascinating. I know for sure we will need a chunk of wildlife time, seeing animals in the environment. We are both animal lovers. Ayers Rock (Uluhru) is another must too. I am not certain if we should consider just traveling the eastern part of the country or if Perth is worth the travel time. I do know what a massive country it is. I have my homework cut out for me.

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