Yes, Sydney here I come! It has always been my dream to be in Sydney, Australia and see the Opera House and claim that I have traveled the globe (the six continents that is minus Antartica!). But my week’s adventure in Sydney, Australia last July 7-14, 2009 meant so much more to me. It was a truly an amazing trip and one that I can write home about when it comes to my journey to gutsiness. It was during this trip that I stopped the negative thoughts and started taking more risks that led me to one great adventure I would always treasure in my life!
Making the First Move. I arrived at the Sydney Airport at 11in the morning. As I went out of the airport, I easily got lost in the huge and busy airport. I followed the other passengers from Hobart, Tasmania with Sydney as their final destination. One of them was a guy, who helped me with my carry -on luggage while on flight. But initiating conversation with a guy is a kind of emotional risk I haven’t done in my life yet. It is just a little uncomfortable for me, being a conservative Filipina (naks!). But my desire to be gutsy won over me. I smiled at him and started the conversation with him (of course not to ask him out or something but just to get some information about my whereabouts.) He is a nice guy (well, yea he helped me with my luggage to start with!) from Dubai and his second visit to Sydney, so he is familiar with the place somewhat. He led me to the car waiting place (which is not recognizable if you are a first time traveler), and there enjoyed his company until his friends arrived and a few minutes before I took the taxi out to the City.
Volunteer to do something I’ve never done before. A guy I only exchanged a couple of emails on Facebook about his daughter being kidnapped by his former Filipina wife and was in the Philippines promised to pick me up and bring me to my couch surfing host Ying Zhang’s place. I don’t have any idea of how he looked like, what kind of guy he is, what car I should watch for and how we could meet at a big airport like Sydney. He didn’t reply to my email the night before so I have no idea how to find my way around there. After hours from arrival, I didn’t see him at the airport. With courage, I went out of my way to dial his mobile number which he gave me prior to the trip. It was sad to know that he will not be able to pick me up because he figured in a car accident on his way to the airport. He was not hurt but his car needed repair and would take a good three hours before he could come and pick me up. I volunteered to just take the taxi! All my life, I had been afraid of taking taxi. I feel that my life would be in peril for hours while being at the mercy and whims of the taxi driver. Since I don’t have any idea of where I’m going in the first place and with all luggage being in the way, it was scary to think that I would not be able to escape or fight back if ever the taxi driver do something bad. But why would I think of the taxi driver taking advantage of me!! I have to be gutsy I thought! So I took my first ever taxi in a foreign land!!! After less than 30 minute drive, the taxi driver stopped me at a tall skyscraper in the heart of the City and said “Miss, this is the place!”. After unloading my luggage, the taxi driver even gave me suggestions on how to enjoy my visit to Sydney. Indeed, stepping outside the box can open endless doors.
With Ying Zhang (Taking a Social Risk). Ying is a Chinese girl from Beijing and lives in Sydney for 12 years already. She is pretty new on CS site and I am the first stranger she would host in her plush condo in the heart of Sydney. That is a lucky strike, because she too was as scared as me to try on something new and sometimes missing out the joy and excitement awaiting right outside our comfort zones, but decided to embark on journey to gutsiness by taking a social risk of getting to know a stranger and being with the stranger for two nights. It was great to know the nice person in her!