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.


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.


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!)

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.


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.


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

-Carissa “I Have Friends!” 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.


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?



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

Amazing Australia- Sydney Bridgeclimb

Hello Dear Readers!

My second day dawned bright and early, with me squinting angrily through blurry contacts at the shining sun outside. I’d only booked the Intercontinental for one night, (I’ll write a post about why later), so packed up my things and dropped them off at luggage storage before heading out for the day.

Has anyone ever planned anything that they then regretted and dreaded?

Yeah, that was me with the Sydney Bridgeclimb. I’d planned it literally the day earlier and was not looking forward to it in the slightest. In theory, it’s this super climb hike up to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, where you can overlook the city and then have bragging rights over all your friends. In actuality, however, I was feeling super jet-lagged and not in the slightest ready to climb some 1600 steps.

So it was with a feeling of trepidation that I dragged myself to the Bridgeclimb office, inwardly moping and all set to have a miserable time.

Joke was on me! It was super awesome. I mean, they make you take off everything from bobby pins to Fitbits (did my climb even count?), and you had to wear super doofy Bridgeclimb jumpsuits, but this is seriously one of the coolest things I did.


I immediately met the only Australian on the tour and befriended her, which is a good thing because everyone is strapped into a single line and you’re stuck next to your partner for a good four hours.

The climb itself wasn’t too strenuous, and I had chosen the sunset climb, which meant I got to watch the sun go down over the city, which was incredible.

It also happened to be couple’s night, so a guitarist strummed love songs at the top while couples gazed lovingly into everyone’s eyes and a few different people proposed. It was very romantic, and if you look carefully, you can see me squeezed uncomfortably in the back of all their celebration photos. Win!

Since they don’t let you bring your cameras to the top, (something about terminal velocity), they have a photographer come up, which means they can charge exorbitant prices for your precious memories. Seriously, it was $20 for one photo, $40 for two, or $60 for ten. Obviously I chose all ten, but I’m a genius and had them put it on a USB (I don’t bring my laptop with me), so I waited three long weeks to view them in all their glory.

To that end, you guys are welcome:

I am literally the most awkward person ever.

-Carissa “Da Monkey” Rawson