Log 4: Sydney, Australia

“Just keep swimming.” – Finding Nemo

Opera House
Opera House (Sydney, Australia)

Finding Nemo, a childhood favorite movie brings me nostalgia. If you did not know, the movie took place in the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. It is now one of my destinations that I want to travel to. However, my first stop in Australia definitely has to be Sydney.

I want to keep this trip as free as possible, so I will be exploring things that are offered for free in Sydney Australia. The first place I would love to visit are the Royal Botanic Gardens. Located on the picturesque waterfront with many beautiful sunny lawns, I could possibly enjoy my evening with a picnic and simply enjoy nature. To stay with the theme of nature, I would also visit The Royal National Park. Situated in there are naturally formed pools that takes the figure of 8, thus its name Figure 8 Pools. You can take a dip in these pools, however make sure to visit them during the low tide, as during the high tide, the entire area is underwater. Another nature visit I would love to explore are the Blue Mountains. I want to see what Sydney’s wilderness has to offer from Echo Point to the Three Sisters rock formations at Katoomba. If not for the nature, then at least for the kangaroos and koalas!

As an art fan, I would visit the White Rabbit Gallery. It is owned by a private art collector, featuring contemporary Chinese art. There is also a teahouse on the ground floor, so if I would like a break, I could always visit there to enjoy some Chinese teas and handmade dumplings. Another art museum I would visit is the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA). MCA features contemporary artwork from Australian artists since the 1950s. There’s a particular strong showing of recent indigenous artwork.

Another place that I would like to stop at is the Sydney Harbour Bridge. There you can see an amazing 360-degree view of the city, the Sydney Opera House and the majestic Blue Mountains. What is the point of visiting Sydney if you do not stop at the Sydney Opera House? That is also another place that I would love to see in person. I can get to see what is behind it and get to hear stories of the building’s construction.

I also simply want to enjoy shopping at markets. Sydney is famous for its weekend markets. An example of a market would be the Paddy’s Markets. It is Sydney’s most popular market where you can find unique souvenirs, great clothes, or delicious food. I would also would like to experience some festivals, or simply enjoy the nightlife of Sydney.

Experiencing the Sydney, Australia life would be a spectacular one because I am sort of fulfilling one of my childhood dreams. I may someday even visit the Great Barrier Reef, but for now Sydney is the first step!

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Log 3: Japan

“Ikigai (n) – a reason for being; the thing that gets you up in the morning.”

If I could travel to one place and only one place in the world, Japan would be that one place. Having grown up with anime, I have come to love the culture that Japan is. I would even say that Japan has one of the most beautiful and interesting cultures in the world. In Japan, there are so many cities and villages that I would love to visit, however I will shorten it down to my top three.

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Mt. Fuji

The first place I’d stop in Japan is Tokyo. I want to experience the busy city life for myself and see if I’d enjoy it. In Tokyo, I would like to visit Akihabara, well-known for its electronic and anime shops. Being a fan of anime, I think this would be a dream come true. I would also like to do some window shopping and so I would visit Omotesando, a street that houses various top designer boutiques. I have also always wanted to see a real shrine in person, so visiting the Meiji Shrine is a must. Meiji Shrine is dedicated to the spirits of Emperor Meiji (the first emperor of modern Japan) and his consort, Empress Shoken. After learning some more cultural background from Meiji Shrine, I would love to cross the Shibuya Crossing (a famous pedestrian intersection). Having seen sakura (cherry blossom trees) only through pictures, I would like to visit the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. It is a popular and peaceful place to do some cherry blossom viewing. Not only that, but it also consists of traditional Japanese, formal French, and English gardens. Three cultures in one place, sounds pretty interesting!

 

Miyajima Shrine
Miyajima Shrine

After spending time in Tokyo, I would like to go to Hiroshima. Although the city is known as the site of the US atomic bomb attack, there is so much beauty to be witnessed there. The city, Miyajima is probably the first place I would go to. It is believed that Miyajima is the island where God dwells. The Itsukushima Shrine is said to be built in the coast because the whole island is believed to be God’s body and is sanctified. I would love to hear more stories of this and learn some history. After tiring myself with learning, I would want to fill my stomach with some delicious food in Omote-Sando, the main street from the port to Itsukushima Shrine. There they have many restaurants that serves bakeries, conger eel, grilled oysters, and many more. Another place I would love to see is the A-Bomb Dome. The A-Bomb Dome is the symbol of the “peace city”, Hiroshima. It is also a place that represents people’s prayers for a lasting peace.

After learning more of Hiroshima’s stories, I would then travel to Kyoto. A big fan of ramen, I definitely have to try some in Japan. I would go to the Ichiran Ramen restaurant, maybe in the morning since it gets so busy in the afternoon. After having breakfast, I would then visit the Nijo Castle. After visiting a castle, I’d like to see a temple. Japan is famous for its numerous temples and shrines, so I probably will not have a hard time looking for one. After visiting some temples, I want to explore the bamboo groves. From stories that I have read online, it definitely is an experience that one should have. Since the Tenryuji Temple is nearby, I may take a detour there and learn more of Japan’s cultures.

If I had the time, I’d probably explore more of what Japan has to offer, such as Nikko, Nagoya, Kanazawa, Nara, and Osaka. One of my life goals is to travel all around Japan and learn more of its history and culture.

Log 2: Zakynthos, Greece

 

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Navagio Beach (Shipwreck Beach)

After seeing the Navagio Beach (aka shipwreck beach) in a television show, I wanted to see the place with my two own eyes. The sea was so beautifully blue that it seemed impossibly fake,  but from reading others’ blogs on it, it really is that blue! If you do not know, Zakynthos is one of the many islands of the Ionian Islands, along the western coast of Greece. It is the third largest Ionian island and is perfect to visit during the warmer months.

In the 1980s, a ship that was trying to smuggle tobacco got stuck in a storm and awash to the shore of Navagio Beach, therefore getting its name of shipwreck beach. However, no one really knows if that story really took place, therefore it continues to be a mystery. I believe that by going to the shipwreck beach personally, I will come to learn more stories such like this and get a better understanding of its history. Another reason for me wanting to go to the shipwreck beach is to capture the beauty that is the blue sea that many others have captured.

After visiting the shipwreck beach, there are two caves that I want to explore: the Blue Caves and the Keri Cave. From reading stories of the Blue Caves, you can see the sea reflecting the color of the sky which then mirrors off the walls of the caves to create azure and sapphire light. While in the Keri Cave, you can swim into the caves and snorkel or dive to see amazing lighting effects from the sun’s reflection through the water to the cave walls. These two amazing places sounds so amazingly magical that it makes you want to explore them more!

Keri Caves
Keri Caves

I also simply want to enjoy my time in Zakynthos by visiting small cafes, boutiques, and restaurants. I do love food, so I definitely have to try some Greek cuisine before I leave! If I become tired of beaches, a nice stop would be the Venetian Castle, as it will give me a better understanding of Zakynthos’ history. And a town that I would like to visit is Zante Town. The town was rebuilt after an earthquake in 1953. The town was then reconstructed in traditional Venetian style, and so I can learn more of the history behind Zakynthos and the town.

Although Zakynthos may be a beachy area, I think I would enjoy it because it would allow me to simply relax. Also since my hometown is right next to a lake, I think I could fit into this life style.

Log 1: Paris, France

“Tout est possible.”

The number one place on my travel log is Paris, France. Having taken French for four years in high school has really encouraged me to learn its culture and language in detail. Although study abroad was an option back then, I was not able to partake in it due to financial reasons. However, that has not stopped me from dreaming of wanting to go there one day.

France is a hotspot for tourists, therefore it will better help ease me into what I want to do later, which is to travel to more unknown parts of the world. I believe that by going to France, I can get a better visualization of the French culture and language.

The first stop would definitely have to be the Eiffel Tower. I want to be able to see it with my own two eyes instead of having to see it through photos, especially when it lights up at night. I have heard of many stories of how vast the Eiffel Tower is and to be able to explore it would be wonderful. If it is big as it seems, it could possibly take days to finish exploring every corner of it. Not only do I wish to visit the Eiffel Tower, but I wish to see Champs-Élysées. It is known for its shopping malls, and so I would like to stop there and do a little bit of shopping, in hopes of upgrading my long overdue wardrobe.

I also want to visit restaurants and food vendors, as food is one of my loves. I especially hope to find delicious bakeries, because France is well-known place for their baked goods (especially bread and macaroons). Otherwise, just walking in the streets of Paris is an experience in itself. I want to be able to enjoy a bike ride in the Château de Versailles and experience France royalty that I always see in the movies and television shows. Some other places I would love to visit are Arc de Triomphe, Musée du Louvre, and even the Catacombs if I dare to. I also want to be able to visit Britany, a historic region on the northeastern coast of France. I want to see its ancient traditions and its costumed religious festivals. Not only that, but I wish to learn its Celtic myths and legends. I believe that it would be a great experience for me.

Overall, I will be kept occupied with traveling all over France, learning its traditions, customs, and language on the way. Experiencing this first hand will make me come to enjoy French much more than before. Even though I may not be able to visit to all the places I listed above, I still believe that I will be able to come back one day and visit them. Like the quote stated above, “Everything is possible.”

Travel Log Introduction

“Don’t call it a dream, call it a plan.”

A dream of mine still to this day is to be able to travel around the world. Ever since I was a child, I enjoyed going on adventures, learning new things, and being able to experience others’ cultures. This dream became even bigger when I started taking French in high school. My French teacher was always bringing up the idea of studying abroad to us, however I knew that my parents could not afford for me to study abroad, but that did not stop me from dreaming about it. Since then, the places I want to travel to have grown exponentially.

By starting this blog, I hope to make this dream become reality. If I start with something as simple as writing down all the places I wish to travel to, planning will start taking place. Like the quote I have above, “Don’t call it a dream, call it a plan,” makes me motivated to start living in one of my dreams.