Skydiving Airlie Beach

Hello Dear Readers!

If you guys know me at all, you know that my goal in life is to do pretty much all the things. Why is this pertinent? Because when Katie and Shuaib casually mentioned that they wanted to go skydiving in Airlie Beach, I was all:

“Yes.”

And so we booked the skydive. I’d actually been 4 times previously (because I’m insane), but hadn’t gone since about 2013. So it had been a while.

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I was surprisingly not nervous, but I had a blast terrifying both Katie and Shuaib, both of whom were first-timers.

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“Are we gonna die up there?” -Katie and Shuaib

This was the first time I ever did photos and a video, though, so I have actual proof of going. Now enjoy.

Shuaib playing it cool as a cucumber

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I will literally never get over Katie’s “death is nigh” face.

Who doesn’t look like this while skydiving?

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*internally* “Time of death, 12:36 p.m.”

MY PARACHUTE DIDN’T OPEN. You can see the exact moment in the video when I realize this.

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Oh just skydived, NBD.

-Carissa “Sure” Rawson

Sailing the Whitsundays

Hello Dear Readers!

I think out of all the thing I did during my trip to Australia, the two days I spent in the Whitsundays were my favorite. Not only did I have an awesome group of people to hang out with (hi guys!) The Whitsundays are home to some of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.

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Like Whitehaven Beach, whose sand NASA uses in order to clean its lenses.

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Here’s Katie perfectly replicating someone who can do a handstand

It was off the coast of Whitehaven Beach that I attempted to do my basic skills for SCUBA diving again, barely succeeding before failing miserably in the actual attempt.

Fortunately for me, the hot guy who worked on the boat picked me up, assuring me that I was gorgeous despite my utter failure.

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“Gorgeous”

This is foreshadowing to the fact that he later tried to pick me up with the same term, at which point I asked him if he knew my name.

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Gorgeous!

“…Gorgeous?”

*facepalm*

It’s ok though, because then I found out that our crew had earned its own special name- the fivesome. Cliques for life, you guys.

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Fivesome!

We also woke up disgustingly early in order to climb to the top of Whitehaven Beach to watch the sunrise. It was exactly as spectacular as you’d imagine.

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One of the guys in our group brought a drone. Isn’t it amazing?

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Perhaps my favorite part was when they unveiled the two story inflatable slide, which we took turns sliding down straight into the ocean.

That, and our many, many, disastrous attempts to take a good photo of the five of us on a stand-up paddle board.

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Anyways, it was an awesome two days, made all the better because I found friends (real friends!) to spend it with.

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Next up- skydiving!

-Carissa “12 Chins” Rawson

Airlie Beach and The Whitsundays

Hello Dear Readers!

Having become fast friends with Katie and Shuaib, I decided to hop into their car in lieu of taking the train on the way up to Airlie Beach.

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Stranger danger!

However, first, we headed down to Tin Can Bay to see some dolphins, on the advice of Katie and Cassi.

So, we woke up at 5am and headed the hour and a half out of the way in order to go hang out with some river dolphins at 7am.

Long story short, the dolphins, which were due to arrive at 7, in fact did not turn up until 9:30. So we sat, and waited, and waited, and waited some more.

We waited for so long that we took photos of the laminated action shots of the dolphins and pretended they were ours.

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Finally! Two dolphins arrived and we got to spend a brief few minutes hanging out with them in the water before making the 13 hour trek to our hostels.

We were super authentic along the way, eating at Macca’s and (in my case) ordering only ice cream and french fries.

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“Authentic”

We didn’t get in until about 10pm, at which point we headed to our separate hostels. (We had already prebooked everything).

Mine was a little less than…great.

I was awoken bright and early by the sounds of my bunkmake noisily leaving, which I extra appreciated because she had kept me up with her snoring the night before.

So! Along the way to Airlie Beach, we five had decided to book a two night Whitsundays cruise together. Kati and Cassi met us separately, having driven their camper van up to Airlie Beach, so the next day we all met up and headed out to the boat.

Our first day started late, so we only had time for a bit of a swim before settling down to dinner and continuing on our way. We found out later that our swimming spot was a favorite hangout for sharks, but luckily none of us managed to get eaten.

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Oh! I almost forgot to mention the best part.

Look, I know space is tight on a boat.

But why did I have to sleep in a coffin?

Above the engine room?

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Pictured: My coffin

At least we were all smushed in together, so we all got to suffer equally. That’s true friendship, you guys.

Anyway, coffin bunk aside, there’s something so unspeakably cool about having a (nearly) private boat sailing you amongst some of the nicest islands in the world.

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Feels a bit yacht-y, ya know?

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-Carissa “Bish I’m Famous” Rawson

Fraser Island: Part 2

Hello Dear Readers!

I’m going to let the pictures do themselves justice today. Enjoy!

The champagne pools were incredible(y freezing)

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Fraser Island is chock full of weird wonders

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Katie took some incredible photos with her fancy camera

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Including some very…er…friendly…turtles.

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And here she is perfectly replicating a person who can almost do a handstand

-Carissa

Fraser Island- Squad Goals

Hello Dear Readers!

Oh, where to start with this? I view my trip to Australia as being in two parts. One, by myself, and two, with my amazing new friends.

Now I don’t want them to get big heads or anything, since I know they’ll be reading this, but basically I made the best friends ever and hanging out with them truly made my trip.

Or whatever.

So! How did I come to meet this fantastic group of people?

Well that…is a little less exciting.

After my days in Brisbane, I caught a train up to Airlie Beach, where I crashed in (yet another) hostel before getting up early to catch an overnight trip to Fraser Island.

Now, the brochure for Fraser Island mentions four wheeling from one insane natural wonder to the next on an island made entirely of sand. And you know what, that brochure was freaking right. Fraser Island is super cool, with tons of things to see, and its only population being tourists and a single beach resort.

That being said, one of the coolest things about traveling alone is getting to meet new people.

Right?

So it was with no little amount of hostility that I moved to the front passenger seat, alone, because the tour guide wanted to make sure that everyone else had a seat first. This meant that I got to sit up front in silence while the entire rest of the bus chattered and made new friends.

Yes, I’m still bitter.

Anyway, our first stop on Fraser Island was a place called Lake Makenzie, which is simply breathtaking. It’s the only lake of its type, and I made sure to get in and swim, despite the water being approximately freezing.

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Practicing my RBF

After our stop, I climbed back in the front seat and we headed down to the resort for lunch.

Luckily, at lunch, two people happened to sit down next to me. Two Scottish people.

You all know that I love Scots.

So I immediately introduced myself and quickly decided that we were going to be best friends despite any evidence to back this up. (Hi Katie! Hi Shuaib!)

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At the Champagne Pools

These two were traveling up the East Coast, the same as I was, and we bonded over our shared interests while continuing to journey around Fraser Island. Late in the second day, we met Katie and Cassi, when we attempted to break into the bus and accidentally ended up breaking the bus instead.

Oops?

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Cassi, Katie, Me, Katie and Shuaib

Anyway, Katie (the second Katie) is from Brighton and Cassi from New York, and we all ended up sitting together at dinner, spending several hours chatting before heading off to bed.

I’d like to note here that the rooms were advertised as quad rooms, but with the exception of me, every other group had two to a room. I’m sure my roommates were pleased when I third-wheeled on.

Yay!

Tomorrow I’ll bless you all with more extraordinary photos of Fraser Island’s extraordinary features.

-Carissa “I Have Friends!” Rawson

Brisbane- OHMYGOD I HELD A KOALA

Hello Dear Readers!

This is what you guys have been waiting for. I know it is.

Me too.

My third day in Brisbane I made my way over to the Lone Pine sanctuary, home to lots of Australia’s native wildlife.

This would happen to include the beloved koala, which I promptly chose to visit.

Observe the many stages of ecstasy that holding a koala brings:

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Warning: Removal of koala may cause intense dismay

They also had kangaroos, dingoes, and tons of different birds, but the main story here is that I held a koala and it was the best thing in my life.

 

Highly Recommended.

-Carissa “Can I Keep You?” Rawson

Brisbane- It’s a Small World After All

Hello Dear Readers,

After my auspicious start to Brisbane, you’ll be pleased to know that I spent an entire day moping around in my hotel room and ordering delivery food so I didn’t have to put clothes on.

People should write books about my travel skills, you guys.

Anyway, I mentioned Adam and Robbo to you guys in the last post. Now, I went to go ahead and add them on Facebook, when I found, to my astonishment, that Robbo and I already had a mutual friend!

Matt, one of my close friends from Jordan, is a fairly well traveled guy, and I guess this extends to random Australians that I meet in hostels, because there he was in dozens of Robbo’s photos. I guess they had taken a tour together in Europe, which was especially strange, because I’d seen all those photos a thousand times from Matt, and never once thought anything of the guy standing directly to his left.

Small world!

Anyway, day two in Brisbane was a wash, which was ok because just you guys wait for day three!

 

Carissa “I Know Basically Everyone” Rawson

Brisbane- Yer A Quizard, Harry

Hello Dear Readers,

Well. Here we are. A few short posts into my Australia trip and already we’ve come to an excellent example of how cool I am.

I hopped my flight from Sydney to Brisbane pretty late in the afternoon, which meant that I arrived to my hostel in Brisbane fairly late, (9pm? 10pm?)

Upon check in, I found out that:

1. I was going to be alone in my dorm for the length of my trip. (Yesssss)

2. The guy working the front desk was from Wisconsin, and he high-fived me upon learning that I was an American.

And 3. It was Harry Potter trivia night.

Now if you guys have been following my blog, you will have noticed that in approximately 40% of my photos I am wearing something Gryffindor related.

Do I even own other clothing?

Ok, yes, I like Harry Potter, but also I really just love those shirts…and that sweater.

The point is that I’m exactly who you want on your team during Harry Potter trivia night.

Thus, I dumped my stuff in my room. (Solitary bliss!), and headed straight to the in-hostel bar to kick some trivia ass.

Sadly, I arrived near the end, so I wasn’t able to put in for a win, but a few moments after getting there I managed to impress a few people enough (with my knowledge!) that they invited me to hang out with them.

I agreed readily, and we went over to a table, forming our very own team, which Adam (1 of the 2) cleverly named “You’re a Quizard, Harry.” Get it? Get it?

It was then down to business, and as they rattled off questions, I gave the answers, feeling smugger and smugger at all of my really excellent and cool knowledge.

It was about twenty questions in that I noticed that Adam and Robbo (the other guy) were staring at me in slack-jawed fascination and I realized that perhaps answering literally every question in the trivia contest correctly was maybe not the way to establish my cool credentials.

Too late!

After the trivia ended, I bade farewell to my new friends and made my way back to my room.

Just kidding. In truth, I told them goodbye, then stood around clutching my drink and chatting until I eventually gave in and headed out to a bar with a huge group of backpackers. Peer pressure, amirite?

Since it was like, a Tuesday, the place wasn’t exactly jamming, but we brought the party and I had an absolute blast dancing around and making a fool of myself.

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Jamming

I especially loved when the Cha Cha Slide came on and I danced the whole dance alone at my table since apparently that’s not a thing in Australia.

We closed the bar down and I headed happily back to my hostel, ready to enjoy a roommate-free experience.

Which was interrupted rudely at 8am the next morning when a girl came in and dropped all her stuff off before heading back out. And then again at 9am when the next girl came in, dropped her things off, and slammed the door when leaving. And again at 10am when the girl who cleans the dorms came in and vacuumed around my huddled form as I tried to pray the hangover away.

It was after this that I packed my bag, dragged on last night’s clothes, and slunk out with my sunglasses on to the Holiday Inn down the street.

Better luck next time?

-Carissa “Harry Potter’s Queen” Rawson

Amazing Australia- A Backpacker’s Life for Me

Hello Dear Readers!

Now, you guys know I’m not a snob, right?

Right?

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Ok, listen, I know that perhaps I spend a little too much time in really nice hotels, and maybe I brag about having elite status all the time (you should get it too), but this trip I was utterly determined to live that hostel life.

Which is how I found myself in a ten bed dorm at the Blue Parrot Sydney, which I had splurged an extra $2 on in order to have a private toilet (shared with only 10 others!). Actually, in all reality, this place was pretty nice. Yes, it was a 10 bed dorm, but there was only one other girl staying there, and we made friends pretty quickly, even spending my last day together.

See, it’s currently winter in Australia right now (what? Shocker!), so the travel season down south is pretty slow. This suited me just fine, and I spent all my days in Sydney happily bundled up and gloating about the extreme heat in California.

They even have a Chinese friendship garden!

No but seriously, my last two days in Sydney were really great. I explored Bondi beach, rode the ferry over to Manly Beach, and generally decided that Australia is one of my new favorite countries.

Next up- Brisbane. Oh god, Brisbane.

Carissa “The Backpacker” Rawson