I really need to start thinking in the metric system now.

So today was my last full day in Sydney, Australia and one of the major things I noticed is that everything is measured in the metric system, not the English system. So I have started thinking in terms of liters, kilograms, and kilometers. At least I am doing mental math conversions in my head again…

For those of your wondering, I was able to change my flight to Wellington, New Zealand and not Christchurch. I wish all the residents good luck in rebuilding. You will be in my thoughts.

Also, the first set of photos from Sydney have been uploaded to Facebook. So feel free to check them out.

Here’s a brief run-down of my time in Sydney:

I did a lot of walking around to the touristy sites like the Opera House, Darling Harbour, the Royal Botanical Gardens, and Bondi Beach.  One of the coolest things I saw was on Tuesday. Two of the Cunard luxury cruises flagships, the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Elizabeth were in port on Tuesday. That was a very cool site.

Now I know what traveling through purgatory feels like

Purgatory: A 14 hour plane ride in coach class on a 747. Talk about your jet lag.

Anyways, I arrived in Sydney yesterday and am staying at the Jackaroo Hostel in King’s Cross. It’s my first hostel experience and so far it hasn’t been bad. Free internet and the single room might have something to do with it. I also took a stroll through the Botanical Gardens to the Sydney Opera House. That thing is very impressive close up.

Sydney definently has a booming economy as things are much more expensive than I remember (circa 2004). However, there seem to be lots of available backpacker jobs, which is a very good thing considering I was supposed to fly to Christchurch on Friday. Due to today’s earthquake, I may be changing my travel plans. I just need to be in Queenstown by March 10 so I need to get over there somehow…

First post or why I created this blog

Packing Panic Mode

That’s my current situation.

I am leaving for the other side of the world on Saturday, and I don’t have anything packed yet.  Sure, stuff that I want to take is lying about, but it’s not actually in my backpack yet.

To bring everyone up to current speed, I am moving to New Zealand next week to start my working holiday. I created this blog to keep my family and friends happy and informed, and to let them know I’m still alive. I plan to chronicle my adventures as both a scientist in environmental toxicology and as a wanderer seeking new experiences.

 Here’s a brief history leading up to this decision:

 Back in May 2004, my mom and I traveled through Australia and New Zealand after I graduated from college. I fell in love with both places and wanted to go back right away, mainly to New Zealand. However, I got busy doing other things (i.e. working in Yellowstone, completing my master’s in biology, and getting a real job in Maryland). Fast forward to summer 2010 when I figured out how to go back with the working holiday program. This program is available to twenty-somethings who are either A) just out of high school and looking to take a gap year before going to college, or B) experienced the real world and decided they didn’t like it. I fall into the latter category.    

 My goals are two-fold: I plan to travel at my leisure through New Zealand, hiking in some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes (Middle Earth, anyone?). Then in May I will be starting an internship at the University of Otago in environmental chemistry working on atmospheric pesticide transport. My visa is good for up to a year so we’ll see how long my adventures last. Feel free to sound off in the comments below. I’ve already been told I’m crazy for doing this, but I am looking forward to it!